With 13 miles of UV-reactive PVC cord and a desire to emulate famous ruins of his Italian homeland, Alberto Caiola Studio design director, Alberto Caiola, lights up the Shanghai, China night with his design. Named Nyx after the Greek goddess of the night, this 6,458 square foot rooftop bar reinterprets one of the designer’s favorite outdoor hangouts completely in glowing blue light.
Casual Living caught up with Caiola to discuss his point of view of on life and design, and his award-winning outdoor hospitality venue.
Casual Living: How would you describe your design style?
Albert Caiola: I’m not so concerned with style. I’m more interested in creating worlds and bringing people on a journey of discovery. Design, for me, is a tool for developing a narrative asking provocative disruptive questions. The most ancient form of adding meaning to anything is through stories. I try to generate new feeling through authentic and meaningful narratives.
CL: For this project, what was the initial request for the space?
AC: The client requested a casual space where people could hang around freely, both sitting as well as standing.
CL: What was your inspiration for this specific project?
AC: Drawing on my personal experiences with life in Milan, Italy, I reference the contemporary duality of ancient ruins–in particular, the Column of San Lorenzo. A tourist attraction by day, for decades it has doubled as an informal nightlife setting for the city’s younger generations. Its openness creates both a comfortable space for groups to gather and convene,as well as inspires intimacy.
CL: What materials/mediums are key to this design?
AC: I see light as a medium to trigger emotions. Lighting enables you to create those magic moments of wonder that are touch points for the experience I’m looking for in each project.
CL: How did the urban outdoor landscape influence your design?
AC: Shanghai is a city that makes you feel like you are in a first-row seat to the future on one side and 100-years back on the other. Born out of being in a particular location in a particular time in history with a particular access to the future.