Project name: Apteka Pivnaya
Category: Restaurant
Location: Port Baku – Azerbaijan
Date completed: 2015
Interior designer: Henry Chebaane

Eighty seat restaurant with bar designed as a surreal mash-up of social, cultural and culinary rituals from Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia: it can both create and cure hangovers. The brief was to create a dining destination as anchor to the most prestigious mixed residential and commercial development in the city: Port Baku. To appeal to the young affluent local customers, Henry Chebaane imagined a secret restaurant disguised as a pharmacy with the question, ‘what happens when the chemical processes of Distilling, Brewing & Pickling are mixed?’ A new molecule is created: Joy.

Apteka Pivnaya is not just a bar, a bistro and a DJ late night lounge… It is a gherkin pickling lab, a beer factory, a pharmacy, a surreal trip into the collective unconscious. Not all you see is what it seems. Several art and design sets were created to create a sense of discombobulation and puzzlement. The most arresting might be the inverted lounge where all the furniture is actually suspended upside down from the ceiling.

The space is experienced as a sensory trip (literally and figuratively) starting from the external facade where the front window contains two tubular seating booth jutting out onto the pavement to the lighting installation running the whole entrance wall and dining space describing the imaginary complex chemical formula for “Joy”. The overall interiors as a backdrop have a simply timeless scheme of pale Slavic oak, polished copper and light green textured leather (custom-embossed to look and feel like gherkin skin to the touch).