A wavy canopy emerges like a fountain from this pop-up cognac bar inside Selfridges in London, designed by local designer Yinka Ilori to mimic the glistening waters of the Charente river in France’s Cognac region.
The bar belongs to cognac brand Courvoisier and was designed to capture its hometown of Jarnac and the surrounding region, where cognac brandy is made using white grapes from one of six designated “crus” or areas.
Ilori wanted to bring this bucolic setting to London’s Selfridges department store, using it to inform the colours and patterns featured throughout the space.
“I aimed to capture the essence of Jarnac – the warmth of the sun, the rippling of water, the beautiful wildflowers and the natural beauty in the surroundings,” he told Dezeen.
“The design pays homage to the magic and nature of Jarnac, creating a space that embodies its spirit.”
The town’s location on the Charente river is the most prominent influence, seen across the pale-blue floors, the sinuous rippling pattern on the walls and, most importantly, in the bar itself.
Here, a circular counter was topped with a wavy blue canopy that seems to pour out of a central pillar, with the same pattern continuing down onto the base.
“I wanted people to feel like they were surrounded by water, with it flowing both above and below them, creating a sense of immersion and tranquillity,” Ilori said.
“The design of the canopy aims to reference the effortless flow of water, making visitors feel as though they are in the midst of a serene river.”
The bar’s scalloped countertop picks up on the sinuous shape of the waves but provides a colourful contrast thanks to its lacquered red finish.
Another reoccurring feature throughout the space is a cartoonish flower shape that nods to Jarnac’s wildflower fields and is found across drinks stands and upholstered benches in the seating area.
To create a visual connection between the blue waves and the buttercup-coloured flowers, Ilori incorporated a sunset gradient that fades from yellow to soft lilac and envelops several cylindrical display stands as well as the base of the bar.
“I was struck by the gradients in the sky in Jarnac and wanted to capture this unique visual,” Ilori said.
These three repeated motifs, spanning earth, sky and water, also feature in the limited-edition bottle design that Ilori created for Courvoisier’s Very Superior Old Pale (VSOP) cognac.
The bottles are available in four different ombre colours and displayed throughout the bar, which will stay open for three weeks until 11 September.
The project forms part of Ilori’s ongoing collaboration with Courvoisier as the brand’s “ambassador of joy”.
Last year, the designer created an immersive dining for Courvoisier in New York, designed to transport diners into a surrealist interpretation of Jarnac.
Ilori’s colourful work is often considered as part of the New London Fabulous movement and includes a colourful skate park in Lille and The Colour Palace pavilion at the London Festival of Architecture.
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