B is for Bar, Bottle Shop and Bold
Wynk Collaborative has designed an engaging and atmospheric sequence of spaces for discovering and appreciating spirits
‘We were inspired by the idea of wine cellars in old European houses, secret chambers and drawing rooms, the magical cabinet in Narnia, Alice’s rabbit hole, 70s and 80s Italian postmodernism and architect Aldo Rossi’s work,’ explains Leong Hon Kit of Singapore studio Wynk Collaborative. This potpourri of influences aptly describes the idiosyncratic experiences he and Wynk co-founder Si Jian Xin have created for b bar.
The multifaceted venue is a bottle shop, secret bar and private lounge housed within Singapore’s habitat by honestbee, a 5,500-square-metre technology-driven grocery and gourmet destination inspired by Amazon Go. The retail experience features cashless payment and groceries packed and processed by robots. Though technology is a key driver, habitat’s interior design — also by Wynk Collaborative — is entirely visceral. The open-place space is characterised by a lively interplay between cement, timber, terrazzo and colour accents that fosters unexpected encounters marketplace-style.
The bar is similarly tactile. A discreet door by the fresh fish counter marks the beginning of a sequenced journey crafted for guests to discover and appreciate the drinks within. The first cellar-like segment is lined with light timber and mosaic flooring. Up-lit shelves highlight rows of spirits, while benches tucked between them encourage lingering. Around the corner is a tunnel that ends with a mirrored door leading into the bar.
Here, dim lighting and walls wrapped in brass and Prussian Blue timber create an entirely different setting. A turquoise-toned ash veneer shelf behind the bar invigorates the space with geometrical apertures framing drink bottles, while the bar counter itself is a sculptural combination of marble, leather, brass and timber. The mood is somewhat masculine but also whimsical, with nods to the Memphis movement present in the colour and pattern choices, echoed in the five Lambert & Fils pendant lights hanging above the bar.
A lofty private lounge caps the third chapter of the spatial narrative. It’s both theatrical and intimate, with walls swathed in light timber veneer and blue tiles (a reversed version of the walls in the bar), decorative objects on shelves, low-slung furniture and a print from Roy Lichtenstein’s Interior Series anchoring the space.
‘In the private lounge, we wanted to create more of a living room feel, where the furniture could be rearranged for one big group or cater to many small groups,’ says Leong of the space’s malleability. At the same time, contrasting elements like DCW éditions industrial tube lights, a fluid B&B Italia Tufty-Time sofa and dignified Poltrona Frau Ren side table give the bar an interesting character that veers between seriousness and humour, formal and casual, exuberance and sobriety.
Located in an industrial area out of town, habitat may not be the most accessible of places, but Wynk Collaborative’s alluring interior design makes the trip worthwhile. The distinct spatial narratives and strong material sensibility elevate the potentially mundane task of picking up your party drinks to a memorable retail and social encounter.
Text / Jingmei Luo
Images / Jovian Lim