Seven swans and the tiny cup

In the narrowest building of Frankfurt, the first room to be entered from the street level would be 4.5 x 3,8 m. On these 17 m2 we created a bar with 15 places (Seven at the bar and 6 at the opposing wall) and the overall impression of a big spacious room.

The limited space forced us to re-define the quote ‚reduced to the max‘ not only for the guests, but also in terms of a bar working space. Behind the counter everything necessary to serve demanding cocktail guests is rigged up around the barkeeper on a 1m2-diameter. The setup includes 2 refrigerators and one ice machine, a glass washing machine and two sinks, a proper space to store bottles (full and empty) and everything else one needs to mix drinks…

A second even smaller room is located in the basement. It is used as a storage, presentation- and private room.

In April 2015 the bar „Seven Swans and the Tiny Cup“ opened its doors to the public as a premium location for high quality cocktails. Located at Mainkai 4, Frankfurt Main, in the narrowest building of the town, the bar attracts connaisseurs from the vivid night life of the‚ secret Capital of Bars in Germany’… The bar is on the street level in the building which is the home to the famous restaurant Seven Swans, and it doubles as a foyer to the restaurant as well as being a standalone provider to its thirsty clients. You do not need a restaurant reservation to get a decent drink.

HIDDEN FORTRESS developed and realised the design and interior of the spaces which belong to the bar. Next to the street level main room there is a private club room in the cellar of the building. The main task was to find a comfortable ans spacious solution in spite of the lack of room – the two rooms are only 15m2 and 17m2 small.

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The fassade and window of the bar provides the first eye catcher of the project. In order to communicate the new location and show a difference as much as the addition to the restaurant and its an art installation illuminates the window. In collaboration with the artist Holmer Schleyerbach the installation in the window was developed to provide the enclosed, intimate shelter, which defines a good bar on the one hand, and partly allows to see details of spirit bottles in the window on the other hand, as a hint towards the new enterprise behind the screens. Holmer Schleyerbach did fragile drawings of swans and etched these into the massive brass plates which are hung between the glass and the back bar. So now golden swans fly around the fassade of the building and shine mysteriously in the night…

The color scheme is dominated in black and gold, the colors being realised in a variety of surfaces and materials. In the upper floor two wooden wall panels with engraved swan images were found on location and kept as a reminiscence to the building. These wooden panels, being realised in the two corresponding colours natural light wood and black, were purposely restored and integrated into the new interior. Taken from here, the entire furniture in the space is an arrangement from materials and shapes, which correspond naturally with each other and provide the needed functionality. The bar obviously is the main object here, it defines and structures the room without dominating it. Seen from the barkeepers side, it houses in maximized perfection an fully equipped cocktail station, including an automated glass rinsing machine, 2 ice boxes (for ice and glasses) and 2 refridgerators. Seen from the guests side the bar counter provides the calm atmosphere and the relaxed functions of a perfect guest area. Including the stand-up zone at the opposing wall, the barstools and the upholstered bench behind the counter, the room provides suitable space for 15 guests.

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The room in the cellar is defined by its rough ancient stone walls, which also were kept intact as a natural material. They define the different atmosphere and called for a slightly different material selection for the furniture in the basement. On the other hand, some materials were repeatedly used, in order to communicate the entity of the bar in these two different rooms. Visitors of the basement room find the connection and being guests of the Tiny Cup.

A large table made from massive vintage oak planks dominates the room and provides space for 8 guests. They might be entertained by inspecting the 4m long sideboard on one wall, which partly shows its content through steel bar sliding doors. Like in a ‚Spirits locker’, behind the bars the vast collection of valuable bottles and collectors items is shown.

After designing the Buck and Breck in Berlin this place is already the second „very small bar“ designed by Hidden Fortress in Germany, and it seems to suggest that an old rule could be proved wrong: the supposed fact, that only a big place with a lot of seats generates a valid business.

In June 2015 the Tiny Cup was nominated for the „50 best Bars worldwide“ (Drinks International magazine). The final decision of the Jury is expected in October.

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