Mahogany, leather, crystal, fibreglass, steel, brass: only the best goes into the finest liquor cabinets money can buy. Abhilasha Ojha opens them up.
When Brad Pitt shopped for contemporary furniture for his home recently, he immediately picked up Atelier van Lieshout’s Mini Capsule Hotel, 2009, described by the design group as a “hotel sans staff”. Stacked together, the entire “accommodation block” — a combination of fibreglass and wood — now rests in Pitt’s home in Santa Barbara.
What the actor could also have picked up was the design company’s recently introduced cabinet bar, called Liquor Master, a design which is suddenly getting reported in the media extensively for its unique looks. A combination of foam, fibreglass and metal, it’s rugged and rough, and possesses a human form on which there are different points for all the bottles to rest. It’s wonderful and is best described as what experts on art and design blogs are calling “sculptural furniture”.
The price of this functional art piece hasn’t been disclosed but clearly, as far as bar cabinets are concerned, artists, interior designers and even branded companies are finding ways to live up to the expectations of the discerning clients.
What’s more, with international branded companies making inroads into the market, bar cabinets, say experts, are certainly on top of the agenda for most high-end consumers.
International Furniture Brands, a company which represents one of the leading brands in furniture in India, gets queries for bar cabinets specifically from clients who don’t mind spending fat wads of money.
Maitland Smith, a leading international furniture brand, have a mahogany bar cabinet with antique brass accents. Priced at Rs 3 lakh, this bar cabinet, says Ramesh Tara of International Furniture Brands, is perfect for those who prefer the colonial look.
Tara might just be revealing a trend as far as looks for bar cabinets go. In fact, the company, with stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, also houses a very impressive walnut, mahogany and rosewood “Renaissance cocktail cabinet” with exquisite filigree, brasswork and mirror interiors, from furniture-makers Theodore Alexander and Earl Charles Spencer. The price: close to Rs 4 lakh.
There’s also Fcml’s Shipping Trunk Bar, which indicates a trend in bar cabinets taking on a colonial-era look. While Fcml is a store which stocks premium home products from international brands, this cabinet, as the name suggests, is in the shape of a trunk and is made with a combination of dark wood and leather. The shape of the cabinet is such that, on opening, it turns into a complete bar unit with ample space to stock liquor bottles, glasses and other related items.
Our verdict: With its bold looks and well-designed impeccable storage space, this bar cabinet combines style and usability effectively. Its price: Rs 1,65,610.
In fact, “bar trunks” may be another trend in the near future. Portside Cafe, a Mumbai-based interiors firm has different designs in “trunk bars” priced at Rs 87,000 and above. Designer Alex Davis of Indi Store has his version of a bar cabinet at Rs 85,000 (excluding taxes) available at Indi Store too. Waterford Crystal has also created the ultimate bar-in-a-box. The bar trunk by this brand has brass latches, leather trim and a rosewood interior with drawers for tools and racks for wine and spirits. Inside, the trunk can stock crystal stemware, barware and other accessories, too. What’s more, it also comes with sterling-silver bar tools. This one’s price: a whopping Rs 8 lakh.
On the international front, clients are already tripping over themselves to get hold of fascinating bar cabinet designs from the likes of Armani Casa and Muller Mobelfabrikation, to name a few.
Reflecting the spirit of Armani’s haute couture, designer Giorgio Armani says, on his company’s official website, of the bar cabinets which form part of the Armani Casa 2009 collection: “Imitating the movement of one of the pleated garments, the black lacquered Bach bar has gloss and geometrically styled doors.”
Muller Mobelfabrikation’s bar cabinet, drowned in bold red colour, combines glass and steel to show off, a very shiny surface. This is priced at Rs 1,34,500 and comes with glass shelves, compartments and fancy panels, too.
Veering towards a classy yet contemporary style is Fendi Casa’s recent range of bar cabinets in leather, complete with an exotic crocodile-skin pattern.
Internationally, bar cabinets are developing stronger design elements. In India, too, companies like Evok are offering a variety. “Bars in leather, oak and cherry finish are fast gaining prominence among Indian clients, while portable home bars, too, are gaining popularity,” says D K Jairath, COO of Evok. Bar units from Evok are priced at Rs 35,000.
But some clients need more than a readymade bar cabinet. Luigi Esposito, designer of interiors company Casa Forma, says, “Antique or a vintage design for bars is perfect. The right piece can also be used to form a focal point in the room — especially if the room lacks one architecturally.”
Not surprisingly, Alchemy, one of India’s high-end interior companies, also has unique bar units in smooth wooden finish with mother-of-pearl inlay handles, hanging glass racks, space for wine bottles and service trays with drawers.
What’s your pick?