Blind Dragon, US

May 6, 2015

Blind Dragon is the latest lounge concept from H.Wood Group (Henry’s, Bootsy Bellows, The Nice Guy). A bar with an excess of Hollywood glamour and cool, this new ‘it’ bar brings karaoke back into fashion.

President and founder of design / build company Built Inc. and New York native, John Sofio, approached this project with a particular process in mind. Sofio first got a feel for the space and its energy, then moved on to sketch ideas for design solutions. First, creating the floorplan and circulation, layering the interior elevations and surfaces, followed by colours and finishes. For Sofio, it is only after knowing where the walls will be located, and where the critical areas of space will be (entry, bar, seating, booths, walls) that the lighting design “happens”.

Darkness is used at Blind Dragon to sculpt light by bouncing it off of horizontal and vertical surfaces and reflected onto areas Sofio wanted to light. Inspired by 1940’s Shanghai, Sofio designs with a keen eye on the user’s experience. “I want to make them feel like they are home, comfortable, invited and wanted,” he said.

Each room has been designed to transport guests into another place and time; created to free them of inhibition and encourage performance in front of friends.

The house DJ Wade Crescent, who programs the nights at Blind Dragon has a soft spot for leopard print, pineapples, black and white checkered floors and red and black decor. These elements were touched upon with a crystal pineapple DJ booth (including a brass pineapple lamp), black and white floor in the main Blind Dragon room and black and red has been used in the main lounge for the furniture and wall stains.

The goal of the project was to comfort guests through lighting, creating a space where they want to spend their entire night. This was achieved through a number of lighting design choices. Dim lighting was a necessity for creating a comfortable, warm experience, with layers of multiple localised light sources. Outside each karaoke room a red industrial cage light has been chosen to signal the wait staff from inside the room, minimising the interaction with the guests to allow a more private and intimate experience.

Above: A bespoke ceiling feature graces a den-like space in the main lounge and the Blind Dragon room oozes a dark East Asian aesthic, with a red theme running from the furniture to Chinese lanterns covering the ceiling.

Amongst the interior of the bar, hidden LED strips in the columns, and along the edge of the VIP deck, highlight surfaces with indirect light.

Lanterns feature throughout the ceiling making use of LED lamps covered in frosted gels to disperse light. These lanterns can also be found above the karaoke rooms and are seen from the main lounge. Lighting in the karaoke rooms is kept minimal to allow for a dark and sexy vibe – just two pin spots – one on the singer and one bouncing off the walls, these are controlled by a Lutron dimming system (as is all the lighting at the venue).

Small vintage lamp shade pendants in the various seating areas create intimate moments within the larger space, while simple string lights of Chinese lanterns create a cloud of fixtures above the main room. An amber colour palette was employed throughout to create a sultry, exotic feel.

Lighting World in Van Nuys, LA provided all the vintage shades and the components were built by Built Inc. themselves.

Above: A brass pineapple lamp decorates the DJ booth, vintage lamp shade pendants add intimacy to seating areas and strings of chinese lanterns engulf the Blind Dragon room (main room) in sultry red light.

Pics: Elizabeth Daniels