En Vain Baijiu Bar & Restaurant

PrizeHonorable Mention in Interior Design /
Firm LocationBeijing, China
CompanyUnited Design Practice
Lead ArchitectLin Wei
Design TeamTang Junhao
ClientLi Ke
Project Videohttp://

Our job is to design a Chinese Baijiu Bar for the young and fashionable. Chinese baijiu (白酒), a strong distilled spirit, is perceived to be for an older demographic, dated, boring and old fashioned. This is an exciting opportunity to reinvent the category, in terms of how chinese cultural elements can be interpreted in a fresh manner, yet respectful of its historical context. The name En Vain, French for ‘in vain’, is a direct reference to this playful attitude of how to interpret culture. The overall experience is a layered one. At first glance a bar, with chinese elements, housed in an industrial language, with contemporary detailing. On closer inspection, disruptive play of traditional elements, modern execution of traditional tropes, a recurring graphic motif that is western yet chinese in different forms from the logo, to coasters, to wallpaper, screens, and paintings hung on the wall. We designed all aspects of the interior space. From the branding, graphic motif which is then used in the screens, wallpaper and cushions, the interior design, lighting, ceiling installation. The furniture was also custom made, with chinese jointing details esp in the bar tables. The paintings were rendered using 3D software and printed on calligraphic paper and oil painting canvas. Soft furnishing designed include signage, cushions, coasters, namecards, postcards. In the disruptive use of traditional elements, we used windows found in traditional chinese houses to form the key ceiling installation. We hung tables upside down to house downlights. We created what could possibly be the first 3D rendered calligraphic paintings, inspired by the 3 fragrances of Baijiu.The screen in the foyer was laser cut from steel using the graphic motif in the branding designed.