May 4, 2022
ARGO Hong Kong Layers Eclectic Pieces to Form a Tactile, Glamorous Whole
The designers’ exuberant flair is evident throughout the 2,745-square foot interior, including the open-plan lounge wrapped around the bar, and in the quirky, semiprivate cocktail lounge where paper sculptures in the shape of insects by Japanese-Canadian artist Raku Inoue are scattered.
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Drawing inspiration from Gilded Age botanical conservatories, ARGO—which takes its name from the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, who sailed a boat named Argo in search of the Golden Fleece—feels like a modern city garden with neoclassical architectural curves, rich textures, and soothing pastel hues. Glazed ceramic coated wallpaper covers the walls and lacquered and mirrored surfaces offset intricate marble and nickel-plated fixtures, all of which combine to provide a tactile, layered aesthetic. Almost everything is custom-designed, from the plush velvet stools and soft leather banquettes to the intriguing terraria suspended above them. Bespoke lighting fixtures, such as glowing halos that radiate around the bar column and terraria that transform into lighting at night, allow staff to adjust the atmosphere according to the mood and the time of day.
“I wanted to create an immersive space using the concept of an urban garden that unifies and allows for a smooth transition from the communal bar to the snug banquettes in the lounge and the private space into one environment, bringing different elements together in ways which could still operate at any time of day or night,” says Ng.
Working with the hotel’s beverage manager, Lorenzo Antinori, the designers devised a flexible, uncluttered layout that would facilitate easy movement and give ARGO multiple roles, from relaxing breakfast spot to late-night cocktail destination. (Inventive design features include hidden counter trays for breakfast, which get covered when mixologists take over at night.)
“The greatest challenge is to create an interior that sparks curiosity, that makes people crave to be there,” says Ng. “For us, that meant breaking away from traditional hotel bar concepts to create something with a strong personality, but where the food and drinks are center stage,” he adds.
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