Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Raising the bar: an artist's bar

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I recently read on Gridskipper that Switzerland has an official H.R. Giger bar. There used to be one in Tokyo, too, but it became a yakuza hangout before closing down, which puts even our dodgiest bars to shame. While the very idea of a Giger bar is disturbing (should you ask for the menu, or will you be on it?), it made me think: which New Zealand artists would lend themselves to having a bar based upon their work?

Colin McCahon would be an obvious choice, especially since he painted a bar once before. ALAC wouldn't be happy if all the patrons followed McCahon's drinking habits, so perhaps the bar should have some jugs of pure water on hand so that they can pace themselves. Scrawling on the walls would be encouraged, but expect Te Papa's critics to get up in arms if they dared to put any of his paintings near the bar fridge.

Drinks table at the (fictional) Albrecht barA Ralph Hotere bar could be spectacular and stylish, with plenty of fluorescent and neon lighting by Bill Culbert of course. But if all that black starts to get you down, a trip to the Gretchen Albrecht club would be just the tonic. Of course, all the stools and tables would have to be oval or semicircular.

The Martin Thompson bar would be a great place to get pixellated, and it wouldn't matter if you spilled your drink at Judy Darragh's place. The et al bar will never be short of conveniences, which is just as well, since there will be plenty of vodka. And Dick Frizzell could give us the ultimate tiki bar.

The (fictional) Beer WhirlerA Len Lye bar could be quite disconcerting and even dangerous after a few drinks. No, it's not just you: the walls really are spinning and the bar stools are starting to shake. Nevertheless, it will always be popular and famous for its centrepiece: the Beer Whirler.

Just to be serious for a minute, though, the obvious candidate would be Misery, and I wouldn't be surprised if the ambitious Ms Thompson already had plans for one. It would be perfect for Cuba St, the staff uniforms could be something quite special, and her Auckland shop (there's rumoured to be a Wellington one on the way) has plenty of design details that would translate well into a bar. We can always hope.


At 1:49 pm, May 25, 2006, Blogger Hadyn said...

Illicit (Misery's friend) already do uniform designs so I imagine it would quite a good collaboration.

At 5:59 pm, May 30, 2006, Blogger Martha Craig said...

I went to a Gaudi bar in Tokyo. Amazing.

How about a Reuben Paterson bar? Glitter and Hawaiian themed all rolled into one.


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