Using up-to-the-minute film and printing technology and imagery that combines the traditions of murals, grotesques, and symbols, Katrin Olina created an immersive, otherworldly destination in Cristal Bar, a 1,200-sq.-ft. bar in a Hong Kong high-rise. Using 3M graphic film, The Icelandic designer covered every wall, ceiling, and floor surface in imagery, creating a huge, seamless painting that spans the bar’s four interconnected spaces.
The imagery morphs in color and pattern, changing from deep brown illustrations depicting seaweed-like forms and hybrid water creatures in one section of the bar to two sections where the winged silhouettes of cranes are depicted in vibrant reds. In the third section, with turquoise-green walls and a panel of windows overlooking the street, imagery is of graceful flowers and feathery forms. Where the distinct areas met, their imagery and colors overlap in a fluid transition. By distinguishing Cristal Bar’s sections by décor (rather than doors), Olina created several small environments that merge into one unified space, providing visual distinctions while questioning traditional physical boundaries.
Olina collaborated with 3M Hong Kong on the project. Furniture, lighting, and the bar’s countertop, encrusted with 300,000 Swarovski crystals and illuminated from above by a ripple projector and from below by multicolored LEDs, add to the multilayered, fantastical visual environment.
“The pervasive volume of lacy figuration in this design solution is singular among the 2009 entries. All surfaces of the space flow continuously and contiguously into the others, lending a ‘more than three dimensional’ quality. One truly ‘steps into’ the design and becomes immersed in the floors, walls, ceiling, and volume. The sheer beauty of the images shocks the senses but creates conflicting emotions; I am at once overwhelmed by the complexity of the organic forms, and at the same time transported to a serenely quiet place of contemplation.”
Katrin Olina (principal in charge/designer), Quentin Kwong (project coordinator)
Sebastien Saint Jean (architecture consultant), Michael Young Ltd. (furniture, bar countertop), Anlighten Design Studio (lighting consultant)
3M (graphic film, installation)