hacking visual perception: alberto caiola traces classical archetypes with neon lights in shanghai

hacking visual perception: alberto caiola traces classical archetypes with neon lights in shanghai

commanding, convivial and named after the greek goddess of the night, ‘nyx’ is a rooftop bar in central shanghai designed by local studio alberto caiola. inspired by classical architectural ruins and wrapped in UV reactive cords, it provides spectacular city views. a monumental frame for the futuristic metropolis’ backdrop of glowing neon and luminous highways, the installation offers an alternative, surreal experience in shanghai, china’s foremost city of lights. maintaining a continuous dialogue with its contemporary context, nyx echoes a distant past while projecting towards an abstract future, blending tropes of cultures and identities.



the resulting installation sets a new phygital aesthetic, creating a surreal space-time experience in which visitors can momentarily lose themselves. a progressive take on the classical colonnade, it combines both the structure’s physical form, as well as social function. in cities spanning europe and the middle east, and in particular, italy, the sheer scale of these grandiose complexes of arches and columns inspire intimacy, while their openness creates a comfortable space for groups to gather and convene. in a city as dense and populous as shanghai, these were precisely the qualities that made a modern interpretation of an ancient colonnade so fitting for a bar destination.



the structure is wrapped in more than 21,000 meters of UV reactive cord. black lights activate a glow similar to that of shanghai’s highways come nightfall – a steady, luminous blue. at the same time, the cords wrapped around the installation’s frame, offer an abstract take on familiar tangles of cable and wire, visible throughout the city both overhead and on buildings. punctuating the structure’s blue glow are periodic dashes of red. luminous taps for the bar’s range of over 20 craft beers selection, they immediately draw attention to the venue’s primary product.



a literally hand-woven architecture of light, and a temple to shanghai rituals present and future, nyx presents the city’s night owls with an openness that at once draws groups close, and affords spaciousness in an otherwise close-knit city. projecting a distant past, flanked by futuristic skyscrapers, nyx presents an alternate perspective to shanghai’s relentless modernity.










project info:


designer: alberto caiola

location: shanghai, china


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,396 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample