WHAT architecture - London

Absolut Cafè

Scale200 sqm
LocationLondon - UK
ClientAbsolut Vodka - Azko Nobel - NL
Design Year2000

2nd prize International Competition for a new bar to celebrate the new millennium


Two corporate clients with disparate yet potentially complimentary businesses were brought together in a single space in which the function was product placement and promotion. This is brand-building, extruded from the billboard, advertising propped up and three-dimensionalised as architecture. The resultant client cross-over was to be greater than the sum of the individual part(ie)s: Absolut Vodka, reknown for its vodka and coy marketing pitches; Akzo Noble, a Dutch paint congloemrate that dwarfs Absolut but, in many ways, less visible to the consumer. The Absolut-Akzo Café is a bar whereby the mixing of drinks (in colour) and people is materialised and accentuated on the street through a bottled façade (32 high). Each bottle is cast as a pixel with a specific colour content to form an image of ‘painting the town red, blue, Xanadu W2-60, Fantasia W3-20, Krakatoa X3-30…



Media façades have come a long way in the five years since the Absolut-Akzo Café… but as the low-tech façade to the Bloomberg Café project shows, this does not have to lead to a ‘high spec’ architecture!