Shanghai bar Nyx features a hand-drawn architecture of light

Commanding, convivial and named after the Greek goddess of the night, Nyx is a rooftop bar in central Shanghai with a style inspired by classical architectural ruins and implemented by being wrapped in UV reactive cords.

Nyx was designed by Alberto Caiola Studio. Drawing on personal experiences of Milan, Alberto Caiola’s design references the contemporary duality of ancient ruins – in particular, the Column of San Lorenzo. A tourist attraction by day, it has for decades doubled as an informal nightlife setting for the young. Its openness well creates both a comfortable space for groups to gather and convene, as well as inspires intimacy.

In a city as dense and as populous as Shanghai, these were precisely the qualities that made a modern interpretation of an ancient site so fitting for a bar destination.

The structure is wrapped in more than 21,000 meters of UV reactive cord. Black lights activate a glow similar to that of Shanghai’s highways after nightfall – a steady, luminous blue.

At the same time, the cords wrapped around the installation’s frame, offer an abstract take on familiar tangles of cable and wire, visible throughout the city both overhead and on buildings.

Punctuating the structure’s blue glow are periodic dashes of red. Luminous taps for the bar’s range of over 20 craft beers, they immediately draw attention to the venue’s primary product. Visually separating the bar from the open plan space are dramatic arches, framing the venue’s focal point.

Alberto Caiola was awarded Emerging Designer of the Year at the Frame Awards 2019.

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