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What is good taste, and more importantly, what exactly defines a bad one? In a fast-emerging econiomic powerhouse such as China, what’s hot and desirable appears inextricably linked to income and status, resulting in both a wide and wild range of manifestations of cool. The country’s millennial demographic numbers over a staggering 350 million people and is a force to be reckoned with, both in terms of buying power and sheer influence. Not surprisingly, companies nationwide go the extra yard to please and pamper them, even in a sleepy provincial town such as Jinzhou. Situated 541 km (336 miles) northeast of the country’s capital Beijing, this is a happening place in its own right, replete with a young population that’s ready and eager to indulge itself. As of late, a new beacon of modern lifestyle has emerged which lures local movers and shakers to its doorstep, and it does so with an aesthetic which ignores all taste levels, feeding off the iconography an preferred design codes of today’s youth along the way.

We’re talking Assad – indeed, what’s in a name?! – a watering hole and nightclub in the heart of town, designed by Chinese design practice Space 3. Situated on the top floor of a modern mid-rise structure, the venue measures a whopping 1,300 sqm. (13,993 sq.ft.), and aims to warp visitors into a futuristic world once stepping out of the elevator. Using an eclectic palette of corrugated steel, galvanized steel, coloured glass, glass reinforced concrete, glazed tiles, lacquered wood and digital light strips, a series of lofty settings have been which all bathe in a blue-ish light. An elongated tunnel signals what lies ahead, and by way of a classic vault-inspired doorway, patrons enter Assad‘s inner sanctum. The bar, lounge and dance floor each have a different backdrop, and are adorned by KAWS-inspired and other figurines, life-size photographs and digital artwork, creating an almost hallucinatory yet fun vibe everywhere you turn.

Designed by Space 3
Images © Space 3
Photography: Yonggang Zhong

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