As part of a wider celebration of Japanese culture, London architecture and design studio Soho+Co has launched a portable sake bar in the British Museum’s Great Court in collaboration with Japan House.
Like sushi, now a staple of the al desko lunch, Japan’s national drink is becoming all the more sought-after worldwide – it’s even protected under Geographic Indicators laws in the US, the same legislation that says champagne can only come from one region in France.
The bar itself is composed of 20 hexagonal units, allowing for smooth movement into different arrangements and finished in Japanese sen (similar to ash wood). Adorning the sides of the columns are several illuminated holes, contrasting the bar’s heavy character.
Soho+Co sake bar at the British Museum
‘We were after a multi-purpose, portable structure that was elegant, easy to transport and store, and also flexible in the ways it can be used,’ says Kylie Clark of Japan House London. ‘The hexagons can be configured as a bar to present a wide range of Japanese drinks – from teas and sake, to lesser-known drinks such as awamori and shochu.’
The installation of the bar is part of a wider celebration of Japanese culture in the museum, in tribute to the legacy of artist Katsushika Hokusai (The Great Wave) – events range from shamisen performances and film screenings to traditional chindonya dancers.
Japan House is a culture hub based in London, Los Angeles and São Paulo, aiming to provide visitors with a window into Japanese life. The pop-up bar is part of a plethora of events before they take up residence in the Grade-II art deco building that was once home to Derry & Toms department store.