Bars are about the rituals surrounding serving – it’s theatre.’ These are the words of Mark van Iterson, head of design at Heineken, which presented the Pop-Up City Lounge in Shoreditch during the recent London Design Festival. In the lead-up to our hospitality-themed Frame Lab (issue 101, out 1 November), we take the opportunity to hear the Dutch beer brand’s views on the subject.
Mark van Iterson: Pop-ups are playgrounds for experimentation. This particular project started with social media: asking our followers to upload images that summed up their perfect lounging experiences.
We selected an international team of young designers from a range of disciplines – interior, fashion, graphic design – to work on the project. It was about creating intimacy yet openness in a group setting. That balance between open and closed is something you can see in the end result of the cocoon-shaped seating.
These open design explorations allow us to share our research with the public and to hear the opinions of leading design-related audiences. It’s something we can analyse afterwards and see how we can improve on things. What worked? What didn’t? How can we scale this or that up? It’s a testing ground for the things that will end up in our venues the world over.
What are you testing out during London Design Festival?
We have sharing bottles that affect the way you drink – the ritual of drinking. Large-scale bottles like this are common in some parts of the world already, but we’ve designed a sort of shell for it, with a handle you hold to pour the bottle. It heightens the ritual.
On the LDF menu you’ll find Hoptails, or beer cocktails. While that’s not something we want to start making, it’s great for us if bars start new rituals around the consumption of beer.
We’ve also designed laser-cut coasters. By leaving gaps in the coasters, the bottles won’t stick to them. It’s good to take a fresh look at things. And then there’s Marc Newson’s home draft system. Some bars have this idea already, but our version is simple and portable.
What’s the biggest trend in hospitality right now?
I think it’s the food truck phenomenon. They’re specialized in one thing and they do it amazingly well. There’s no pretention. It’s honest, simple and good.
Pop-up, City Lounge, Heineken Pop-up, Pop-up Stores, Laser-cut Coasters, Marc Newson’s, London Design Festival, Heineken Store,