SMU's hidden scandal bar in beijing references 1920s glamour

SMU's hidden scandal bar in beijing references 1920s glamour

using the classical order of architecture, proportions, and symmetry of colonial elements as well as the glamour of the jazz age, beijing-based architectural practice space modification unit (SMU) creates a contemporary space for a young and trendy crowd in the sanlitun area of beijing. titled ‘scandal’, the bar is tucked away in a side road behind one of its humongous urban blocks.

main space



due to the fact that the venue’s former purpose was a workshop, the main space has a second level with generous ceiling hight. SMU’s design accentuates this rare spatial quality by stretching a mirror above the bar onto the central ceiling, visually increasing the height.



black marble and white jade stone dominate on the main floor. from there, indian snow and apple green marble, brass, velvet, and shades of green contradict with a dash of mustard yellow completing the material palette.


entrance to bar




behind the arcade, there is second-floor loggia, which is mimicked by the mirror on the opposite wall to achieve visual symmetry and depth. the added mezzanine structure ties the main floor closer to the loggia and creates a balance of spatial layers. the mezzanine is fitted with a removable balustrade and can be transformed into a performance stage with a projection surface as a backdrop. both loggia and mezzanine levels serve for small to medium-sized groups and semi-private functions.




view from the loggia


the bar with display island


the loggia is divided into 2 zones


view through the archway toward arch mirrors



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

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