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November 23, 2020

The Modern Speakeasy: Helsinki’s Bardem Cocktail Bar

Helsinki is now home to a new bar modelled after the classic speakeasy, with renowned local studio Fyra updating the moody style for modern patronage.

Located in the heart of the city, the Bardem cocktail bar is a study in balance, weighing the mystery of the speakeasy against comfort and captivation. From the wooden panelling of the central bar to the rustic ceramic tiles that adorn the walls, the elements of Bardem’s interior combine into an inviting space designed for relaxation.

Fyra placed the dichotomy of old and new at the centre of the project, tapping into a fusion rather than tension of style. The curved bar is carefully lit, highlighting the honey-coloured panelling that stands in contrast to the otherwise dimly lit space. The sleek modernity of this centrepiece evokes a trendiness one would expect from a bar based on speakeasies, but this modernism does not equate to sharpness: the relaxed curves and soft lighting keep the atmosphere subtle and welcoming.

This understated style extends to the newly upholstered recycled furniture, which invites guests to settle in and relax in the privacy of the low lighting. Softness and intimacy characterise the available seating, which line the walls in green hues that transition to navy blue as the eye travels upward. With blue velvet curtains at the ceiling that lend a hint of theatrical sophistication, the walls of Bardem display rich colours that add immense depth to the room – not least owing to the Agrob Buchtal tiling.

The tiles play an important part in our interior concept, as they bring life to the dark, dimly lit room. The high-gloss surface perfectly harmonizes with the soft shapes and materials we used in this bar.
— LAURA JÄRVINEN, INTERIOR DESIGNER AT FYRA.

Between the seating and the curtain fringe, the bar’s walls are covered with tiles from Agrob Buchtal’s Craft series, integrating uniquely fired ceramics in intense colours. While most ceramic tiles are produced horizontally in fast firing or roller-type kilns, Craft tiles are fired standing upright in a classic tunnel kiln. The long firing time creates a natural, archaic aesthetic, giving each tile a unique character. While Craft tiles are available in a myriad of colours and styles, for Bardem, Fyra chose mid-grey, olive-green, and benit-blue to create their beautiful wall-to-ceiling gradient.  

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