Founded by international bar veterans Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale, PENICILLIN is Hong Kong’s first sustainable bar that champions a closed-loop production model. The founders’ philosophy informs PENICILLIN’s design to minimize the carbon footprint in food and beverage production and showcase their continuous culinary experimentation process.
Penicillin Bar Technical Information
- Architects: COLLECTIVE
- Location: Hong Kong, China
- Topics: Concrete, Wood, Bar, Restaurant
- Project Year: 2020
- Photographs: © 1km Studio, Kevin Mak
The design is a hybrid theme of industrial and nature, the concept dives deep into an exploration of the coexistence of men’s hard work with nature. PENICILLIN’s design tells the story through the contrast in materiality.
PENICILLIN Bar Photographs
Text by the Architects
The design is a hybrid theme of ‘industrial’ and ‘nature’ – the concept dives deep into an exploration of the coexistence of men’s hard work with nature. PENICILLIN’s design tells the story through the contrast in materiality. The PENICILLIN Lab, exterior, and entrance are cladded in white tiles, showcasing the team’s culinary experiments, processes, equipment, and machinery. The Fermentation Chamber is located at the back of the bar as an extension to the laboratory, allowing visitors to see the work-in-progress experiments at PENICILLIN. The seating area and main bar adopt the palettes and finishes inspired by characteristics often found in nature, such as dark, earthy tones and raw textures of stones.
The focal point is the main bar, featuring a bar countertop that appears as if it was carved out of giant volcanic rock and is described as the ‘cockpit for bartending’ by founder Agung Prabowo, designed to fit all the needs for performative efficiency. The language of laboratory design is further explored through the customized displays behind the main bar. PENICILLIN’s bespoke bottles of cocktails and ingredients are fixed onto the wall with a laboratory clamping system.
The focal point is the main bar, featuring a bar countertop that appears as if it was carved out of giant volcanic rock.
Adhering to PENICILLIN’s philosophy of closed-loop creation and utilizing locally found resources, COLLECTIVE collaborated with @streetsignhk, a local conservation group that advocates street signs as urban cultural heritage, to design and fabricate customized neon wall lights, signage, and handmade labels for the bespoke cocktail bottles. COLLECTIVE also worked with HK Timberbank, a local social entrepreneur focusing on recycling and reusing timber for construction and carpentry, source pieces of fallen tree trunks from the typhoon seasons, and fabricated the tabletops.
Betty Ng, the COLLECTIVE founder, says: ‘Roman and Agung wanted to work with someone who hadn’t necessarily designed for food and beverage before. They are both very hardworking and open-minded to explore new ideas. To keep pushing for something new and different in this current climate — and taking risks — is completely aligned with COLLECTIVE’s own philosophy. And that’s why I’ve decided to be a part of this project.’
With a focus on conserving energy, minimizing pollution, and tapping a network of local producers and designers to explore Hong Kong culture’s various aspects, PENICILLIN offers a completely new and sustainable bar-going experience like no other.
PENICILLIN Bar Image Gallery
COLLECTIVE is an International Architecture Office practicing Architecture, Interiors, and Urban Design. Founded by Betty Ng in 2015, COLLECTIVE is co-directed by Juan Minguez, Katja Lam, and Chi Yan Chan, consist of a very diverse team with an international background. The team members have previously practiced closely with international architecture offices, including Pritzker Prize-winning architecture studios of Rem Koolhaas/ OMA, Herzog & de Meuron, as senior members of various renowned studios worldwide.
COLLECTIVE is globally oriented and strongly rooted in Asia, headquartered in Hong Kong with studios in Madrid and San Francisco/ New York.