From the outset, Dirk and Lin Ya of Zapfler had some very clear ideas about how they wanted their bar to be. Not just about how it would look, but also that their personality and their craft should permeate through the design.
We brew our own beer.
We want to educate people on what goes into the brewing process, and what makes our beer, German craft beer, unique. China is experiencing a rapid growth in the craft beer and beer importing industries, but people should know, what are the defining factors of a 'craft' beer, and what constitutes a microbrewery?
The clients also wished to create a casual meeting place. Dirk described some experiences he has had at beer festivals and pop-up events:
We set up our temporary stall so that the beer tap wall is at the front, there is no bar. This way I can simply pour a beer, hand it to the customer and we stand here together, as you would with friends. I always like to meet my customers. And talk about beer!
With the intention of brewing beer on location, a 200L capacity brewhouse has been installed. It sits on a glass shelf raised above the entrance, a gleaming attention grabber and immediate initiation on the lessons in beer brewing. It also acts as a threshold zone. Customers pass under the shelf to enter the bar, the space then opens up to the high exposed ceiling and instills a sense of arrival. By using glass as the shelf material, a rare perspective of the brewing equipment is captured.
The long rectangular shape of the space and high ceiling allowed us to form a number of smaller overlapping zones. As Zapfler is both bar and restaurant, there is a need for both dining and just drinks area. The dining area takes up the majority of the space, running length wise down the center, while the drinks occupies the entrance area and is primarily standing. The movement of people between the outside, the brewhouse underpass and bar provides opportunity to meet, talk, share a joke with a complete stranger. Perhaps they won't be strangers for long.
Dirk's desire to eliminate the barrier between staff and customer is especially evident in the unique design of the bar.
Avoiding hiding the line of beer taps at the back wall, we re-created the pop-up stall feeling by bringing the beer taps to the front at an angle to the bar, and cut the bar in two. The beer taps are in full view, concealing the washing equipment behind. Dirk and the staff operate with customers adjacent. The result has been inspiring, as customers hang about while their beers are poured, the divide between the two is all but invisible.
Space allocation required the coolroom keg storage to move out of the way and lift above the bar. This was not only technically beneficial for the downward flow of beer to the taps, but also provided a shelter over the bar space and a design focal point.
Zapfler can be described as a micro brewery. They currently produce from their main brewery just outside Shanghai, importing German ingredients. Each brew is prepared individually, which allows differences in flavour to occur. This is one of the defining factors of a craft beer.
Architecturally, this is represented by highlighting the builder's craft, through exposed structure and joints. The space becomes an expression of the wish to make the brew process transparent.
Materials were chosen for their textural qualities, which would create shadow play, pattern and rhythm without the need to excessively decorate. Much like their approach to running a bar, Dirk and Lin Ya wanted practical, efficient and durable materials that were also warm and inviting. Accompanying the exposed structure, we used earthy materials such as brick, rusted metal and reclaimed timber. Though the industrial aesthetic can often be cold, we paired it with incandescent or diffused lighting, so the space glows with warmth.
From the outset, Dirk and Lin Ya of Zapfler had some very clear ideas about how they wanted their bar to be. Not just about how it would look, but also that their personality and their craft should permeate through the design. We brew our own beer. We want to educate people on what goes into the brewing process, and what makes our beer, German craft beer, unique. China is experiencing a rapid growth in the craft beer and beer importing industries, but people should know, what are the defining...
- Year 2017
- Work started in 2016
- Work finished in 2017
- Main structure Masonry
- Client Zapfler Brewery
- Status Completed works
- Type Bars/Cafés / Interior Design