Classic, polished style and multi-use, transformative flexibility can be difficult elements to combine, but that was precisely the objective the Hilton team outlined to us in 2014 for their new TwoRuba concept bar in Tower Bridge. The Afroditikrassa team were tasked with concepting and designing this dual purpose, 300 square metre bar model of the future as part of a suite of prototype projects with the company, all conceived to re-think the use of their hotel lobby bars. In this case, developing an extremely flexible space that transforms seamlessly from a daytime casual coffee bar to a sophisticated destination lounge bar at night, was the goal.
We based the central theming of the design on the intersection and contrasts of the local area. Historic nearby Tower Bridge next to both the modernity of surrounding offices and buzzy, urban Bermondsey, rooted in the old world trades of the Leather, Hide and Wool Exchange. Channeling a veiled connectivity, Afroditi’s modern twist on the room divider manifested itself as ‘metal mesh drapery’ – a contemporary curtain tracing the edge of a central “catwalk” area which links all three levels of the bar. The combination of bespoke, modular loose furniture ensures maximum flexibility for both groups and more intimate private settings. Based on urban opulence, the material palette also plays on divergence: luxurious soft fabrics, such as quilted tan leather and deep purple suede are matched with harder, more industrial materials such as concrete, copper and brass. Walnut timber brings a warmth and refined elegance to the design, whilst a bronze mirror adds a more lavish finishing touch.