How can architecture be a force for good in our ever-changing world? During Future Fest, we’ll pose this question to some of the world’s best architects. Launching in September, our three-week-long virtual event will be 100% free to attend. Register here!

In celebration of the 10th Annual A+Awards winners, we are shining the spotlight on standout designs in the Hospitality category. And as we return to restaurant dining and inch our way towards a new normal, it feels ever so befitting to spotlight this industry which has endured many challenges over the past few pandemic years.

Food fosters connection: it has the powerful ability to bring people together, and there is no better setting to indulge in food and engage in conversation than in an atmospheric restaurant. Although the main purpose of dining is to eat, there is so much more that goes into a successful dining experience. Alongside quality food and exceptional service is the ambiance. When the atmosphere is right, the dining experience is taken to a whole new level. Below are 5 winning A+Awards designs, each offering a pronounced dining atmosphere.

SOMESOME Bar & Restaurant by MARS Studio, Beijing, China
Jury Winner & Popular Choice, 10th Annual A+Awards, Bars & Wineries

SOMESOME Bar & Restaurant swept the hospitality category in the 10th Annual A+Awards, and it’s no surprise why. Located in Beijing, China, this atmospheric restaurant is mysterious and emotional. Guests are confronted by a narrow and arched entrance that leads into an expansive dining room. Dark floors and walls imbue the restaurant with a moody atmosphere and are contrasted by the lighter-toned dining tables and chairs.

The restaurant’s most pronounced feature is the dramatic ceiling of cross arches. These arches define the seating spaces and add a sense of grandeur. One side of the restaurant is flanked by a long bar designed to accommodate many guests. The bar is backlit and adds to the restaurant’s mysterious atmosphere. On the other end of the dining room is a wall covered in folding windows that offer a natural breeze and uncompromised views of the outdoors. The restaurant is well-thought-out and sticks to a clear theme, which makes for a distinct and memorable dining experience.

Photos by Casey Dunn

Hill Country Wine Cave by Clayton Korte, Texas, United States
Jury Winner, 2021 A+Awards, Bars & Wineries

Hill Country Wine Cave is located on a secluded part of Texas’ Blanco River and is highly visited by avid wine enthusiasts. Nestled into an excavated limestone rock, this venue is truly a cave. It blends with the surrounding landscape and is therefore barely visible from the exterior, thus adding to the excitement and mystery of visiting this site. The cave is supported by a board-formed concrete structure that blends nicely with the existing limestone.

Once descended into the subterranean space, guests are welcomed by a warm, wooden interior made of white oak and douglas fir. The venue has a tasting lounge, bar and wine cellar for guests to enjoy, all of which share the same wooden aesthetic. A live-edged cedar countertop serves as the tasting bar although it can be easily adapted for any event. The venue is home to a private collection of roughly 10,000 bottles of wine, all of which are held in the main cellar. The cool subterranean level works to thermally control the wine cellar.

Noru by K-Thengono Design Studio, Kuningan, Indonesia
Popular Choice, 2021 A+Awards, Bars & Wineries

Located on a hotel rooftop in Kuningan, Indonesia is a unique lounge space that tackles one of the city’s biggest issues: air pollution. As the city continues to develop and grow, air quality continues to worsen. The design team’s vision was to create a social space where natural fauna serves as a means to filter and clean the air. Overlapping overhead planes were incorporated into the design to protect patrons from extreme weather, including both rain and strong sunshine, without interfering with views of the surrounding cityscape. Natural elements such as wood, stone and plenty of greenery work to create the garden feel the designers were after, as well as address the ongoing pollution problem.

Bar Lotus by Office AIO, Shanghai, China
Jury Winner, 2020 A+Awards, Bars & Nightclubs

Bar Lotus is located in Shanghai’s Jing’an neighborhood and is a coffee shop turned bar at night. The premise of the restaurant was to create a space where guests can indulge in a cocktail or drink at any time of day. Guests are welcomed by an arched gallery where they are encouraged to pause and interact with the surroundings. The interior space is filled with arched colonnades which define and create separate gathering spaces. The arched openings frame the different seating areas and encourage patrons to explore numerous spatial arrangements. The color palette ranges from pastels to more pronounced hues of copper and green. The interior is finished with certain bespoke finishes and numerous pendulum light fixtures which help transition the space from daytime to evening service.

Option Coffee Bar by TOUCH Architect, Udon Thani, Thailand
Popular Choice, 2020 A+Awards, Bars & Nightclubs

Option Coffee Bar is a unique hospitality venue that favors a time-sharing business model. The venue serves as a cafe during the day and a craft-beer bar at night. The design team worked to create a space that could swiftly transition from daytime to evening service. To accommodate both functions, the restaurant spans two floors. The first floor houses the cafe and bar, and the second floor is reserved for customer seating. The furnishing chosen for the upper floor can be easily rearranged which allows the space to be used for special events. The structure’s façade is a simple white box, making it recognizable and distinct from the surrounding edifices. There are two voids on the façade, one translucent and one transparent, each of which serve as a source of natural light. The interior is complete with colorful lights which work to transition the space from day to night.

 How can architecture be a force for good in our ever-changing world? During Future Fest, we’ll pose this question to some of the world’s best architects. Launching in September, our three-week-long virtual event will be 100% free to attend. Register here!

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