Flask: Bar hidden behind a Coca-Cola Vending Machine

 

Flask and The Press, designed by Alberto Caiola, is an unconventional duo that upends the traditional speakeasy concept: an intimate contemporary lounge concealed behind the facade of a cheery, sandwich shop. Together, they’re a juxtaposition of light and dark, elegance and funkyness, personal and playful. The Press is a colorful sandwich shop, which at first glance, looks immediately familiar to passersby. The centrepiece of the room is a vintage Coca-Cola vending machine, which is split vertically to swing open and reveal the entrance to Flask – a hidden bar.

Considering that Shanghai has already seen its fair share of hidden speakeasy-themed bars and lounges, The Press and Flask, allows visitors to experience an extreme contrast in environment. The fun, lighthearted feel, the bright colors and lighting of the The Press, within a few steps segue into a mysterious space with warm, muted lighting and the murmurs of bar patrons to invite further curiosity. Following the camouflaged door pretending to be a Coca-Cola vending machine, the patron is presented with more visual cues of the traditional speakeasy: elaborate displays of bottles of liquor, a blend of dark and dim, plus a motley crew of furniture pieces that hint at the evanescence of the establishment.

The drop ceiling and an array of angular cubes cascading towards the entrance inside Flask creates a mysterious allure for guests to further explore the space. Lighting is kept minimal and muted, with several base points throughout the venue each emitting a warm glow of light that bounces off one another. The most prominent of these is the copper lighting arrangement in the inside of the drop ceiling, which diffuses subtle amber light from the overhead. To add to the warm, cozy feel of the venue, there are partitions in the seating area that transition with natural ease. Looking from the right side to the left of the venue, the heights of the seats and table surfaces are lowered, raised, and lowered again in increments to create a dynamic landscape within a compact, enclosed space. Similarly, the wooden floorboards parallel this fluid movement by going from dark, to light and back to darker wood.

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