Speakeasies were borne from necessity, but grew to become a culture. Long after Prohibition was abolished, the allure of classic speakeasies remained. And now, architect Alberto Caiola is taking that allure to the next level. It starts with The Press – a seemingly normal, albeit beautifully designed sandwich shop. Alberto’s design is meant to evoke a subtle sense of curiosity, with concrete flooring, neon lighting strips and minimalist furnishings providing a strong sense of visual intrigue. In keeping with his vision of “contradictory, anachronistic aesthetics,” Alberto situated a vintage Coca-Cola vending machine near the back. But the machine serves another purpose – hidden inside is a gateway to something completely different. Walk through the tunnel inside the machine and you’ll find yourself in Flask, a contemporary speakeasy that plays Hyde to The Press’s Jekyll. Flask is everything The Press is not – it features dark, mysterious lighting, muted color tones, sophisticated displays of liquor, and furniture that harkens back to the original era of speakeasies. Coupled with elements like a dramatic drop ceiling, and spotlit displays of giant prohibition style liquor bottles, Alberto gives Flask a unique mix of contemporary and vintage aesthetics. There’s also a unique wall installation featuring flasks hidden behind a shroud which cleverly alludes to the hidden nature of the speakeasy itself. Even amongst Shanghai’s already burgeoning speakeasy culture, Alberto’s masterful design helps Flask and The Press stand out, providing bar-goers with a genuinely unexpected experience. Check out more detailed images of both Flask and The Press here.
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