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The Kun Whiskey Bar and Cigar Lounge

Beijing China


The Kun Whiskey Bar and Cigar Lounge was commissioned by Chinese celebrity Yang Kun as a members only club catering to his close friends and to Beijing’s more discerning whiskey and cigar devotees. Much detail was paid to defining and differentiating between semi-public, semi-private and private areas of the bar to ensure the reclusive VIP patrons complete privacy while not alienating the more public patrons. The main Member’s lounge is the most social space in the establishment, with a communal Japanese-style sunken bar and a small stage for occasional impromptu performances by Yang Kun and his musician friends. 


The main architectural feature of the interior is a coffered, peaked-roof ceiling that runs the length of the main lounge and continues into a bank of four semi-private alcoves overlooking Lido Park. The coffered ceiling extends through the reception area towards an outdoor terrace space overlooking the Garden and Café 27 to the north. Finally it continues down a long gallery-style corridor leading patrons past a series of vault-like rooms containing a humidor chamber and a small wine cellar.

The coffered ceiling is repeated throughout the two private VIP rooms as coffered walls and ceilings where it conceals hidden doors to private powder rooms, AV equipment and private stock liquor cabinets. The coffers of the deep plum colored walls are inlaid with crocodile leather panels, together acting as a sound dampening device that ensures acoustic privacy to the VIPs and their guests. The private VIP rooms are accessed by a secret entrance in order to provide Yang Kun and his personal guests a genuine level of privacy away from the public eye.


A series of floor to ceiling glass vitrines housing the members’ personal whiskey stock flank the main bar, defining the main member’s lounge and screening off the semi-private alcoves along the Lido Park façade. Lit from within, these whiskey cabinets provide a warm amber glow to the interior that contrasts with and complements the deep indigo interior.


The materiality, texture and lighting of the interior was based on members only clubs of 1920’s Manhattan where entrepreneurs, celebrities and their guests would socialize. Visual cues like coffered ceilings and walls, hidden doors, luxurious leather furnishings and brass detailing make reference to the opulent interiors of that era. However, in Kun they were re-imagined in a palette of deep indigo blues not unlike the architectural blueprints prevalent in Manhattan’s building boom. The deep blue interior is complemented with smoky grey marble counter tops and leathers, glossy black cabinetry and ebony stained wood floors, creating a dark, opulent interior which speaks to the nocturnal nature of a whiskey bar and the smoking of fine cigars.

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