Dubai-based Broadway Interiors used a range of reclaimed materials to transform a night club into an atmospheric bar with exposed brick walls and concrete flooring throughout
Inspired by the trend of casual and live-music venues in cities around the world, Lock, Stock & Barrel (LSB) is more than just another industrial-looking bar. Its carefully designed interior offers layers of interesting detailing and talking points within the venue – from 4,000 reclaimed bricks that were taken from a demolished factory in India, shipping containers that were cut up, re-painted and welded, to a wall that is entirely covered with second-hand speakers from the 1960s and 1970s.
“My mission was to create a venue that is real,” says Chris Barnes, managing director of Broadway Interiors.
Located on the eighth floor of the Grand Millennium Hotel in Tecom (now Barsha Heights), Dubai, the bar is spread over two floors and covers about 8,000m2 with the capacity to handle 600 to 700 guests.
As Barnes explains, the client’s brief was to create a venue that is able to change to different things on different days, to appeal to a wider market audience and to offer something that is different to what Dubai currently offers.
“I challenge anyone to look around and find something that’s not authentic,” says Barnes explaining that 90% of the materials used are recycled.
He adds: “We’ve used railway sleepers for the bar. We’ve recycled aged timber from a demolished house in India to make a herringbone parquet floor, the containers were taken from Jebel Ali Port, which we deconstructed and rebuilt around the place. The timber walls are all made of redundant wood that was sitting in a joinery factory in Al Rashidiya in Dubai. The 300 speakers are all reclaimed, taken from the UK, the coffee tables are a combination of recycled boat wood from Indonesia, fused together with recycled oiled drums. The list just goes on; it was very important to create a venue that felt both real and comfortable.
“That was the inspiration behind the whole thing and from that, we evolved Lock, Stock & Barrel.”
Considering that the venue is positioned in the middle of a hotel and has live music, designers had to overcome several technical challenges.
“With hotel guest rooms bellow, around and above, sound proofing was vital. The venue acts as an acoustic box and is fully soundproofed to 120db, which is quite phenomenal,” says Barnes. “So if someone is sleeping in one of those rooms, we made sure they were not disturbed by the noise generated in the bar.”
Apart from this, Barnes and his team also had to think of ways to create an interior that would immediately transform the experiences of guests as they walk out of the elevator and go straight past the first shipping container.
“The first visual experience is so important so when you come out of the entrance you need to be amazed by what you see,” he says. “Immediately walking into this space, which is 10m high, gives you an opportunity as a designer to create a very strong visual statement.”
The venue includes a mezzanine that overlooks the stage and houses a second bar and one of LSB’s pool tables.
“We faced several structural restraints because of the nature of the building,” says Barnes, explaining that the steel structure of the newly added mezzanine floor sits on a cushion to dampen the noise and vibration.
Focusing on live music and live sports on big screens, the venue needs to cater to different types of guests throughout the day.
“As the evening goes on, the venue transforms from a sports bar to a casual dining bar and later on to a party space. We have created a number of areas that can easily be transformed, such as the stage with concealed storage spaces underneath,” he says.
One of the most important design elements is lighting and LSB features special digital programmable lighting, which also helps to transform the space.
“It took us two months to source the vintage lights through the Internet and a number of pieces were custom-made. Lighting was challenging because we wanted to have a traditional looking filament lighting while using LED technology, which is also dimmable and programmable. When you add all these criteria, it does limit your choices,” explains Barnes.
While different shades of grey and warm wood tones convey the trending rustic industrial look, the colour palette chosen for the furniture is vibrant and stimulating, alongside the artwork and the LED lighting.
“Visual content is important,” says Barnes. “Atmosphere is generated not only through space but also through colours. We’ve used a lot of antique colours that are really consistent with the industrial look while the backdrop is quite neutral.”
Broadway Interiors worked closely with a local company which developed and conceived the ideas for the artwork, which will change periodically.
Although the majority of artwork and paintings are placed intentionally, some of them came out as a result of overcoming technical challenges.
“We were struggling to create additional space for the kitchen and it was causing us great problems,” says Barnes. “But, as a result of that, we’ve now got an amazing billboard that is illuminated right above the kitchen with a poster in front of it. It came out by accident but it has now become one of the statements of the venue.”
Explaining that the idea behind Lock, Stock & Barrel’s interior was to create a venue where every corner offers different and quirky details that will catch the eye of the guest and give them something different to talk about, Barnes concludes : “I was told by someone I respect a lot that whilst any food and beverage venue needs a good interior design, it needs people inside it with happy smiling faces. If we can help create those smiling faces, we’ve done our job.”