Roladin - hospitality monolith

The Roladin bar at the Mall of the Netherlands is the central showpiece of the main food court. The size of the space (4000+ m2) in combination with the elaborate, high-end mall architecture, required a large, bold design to mark the central bar. The object has a total bar length of 25m and with a height of 6m. The bar changes its’ function during the day. During shopping hours, fresh pastry and cakes are baked on the spot and are served together with coffee and juices. At night the crowd changes to visitors of the surrounding restaurants and cinemas and the bar adjusts accordingly; savory bites are baked and a full offer of beers can be served, as well as cocktails from the cocktail station.

Being located in the middle of the food court, the bar needed to be accessible all around and have a 360 degree visual impact; hence the symmetrical pill shape. Not only functionally, the program was strikingly similar to that of American drive-inn restaurants, also conceptually we see similarities. This lead to the aesthetic design theme, referring to the art-deco glamour of post-war Miami Beach, perhaps with a bit of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis mixed into it. These references purposefully add a sense of irony to the project, as seventy years later, it questions the naivety of the once-so-true consumerist dream that modern shopping malls still project on us.

The monolithic design juxtaposes the polished, visually extravagant design of the food court interior. The entire structure is made of hot-rolled steel: the steel sheets of the core have been carefully selected for their patina and the outer layer of 20cm round tubes have been industrially machined into their curve. The structure has been preserved with a natural oil, nothing else.

Although the structure is made to last a lifetime, the mono-material approach, without the use of any chemical coatings, is the sustainable strength of the project: the material can easily be brought back into cycle after the bar is dismantled, without any treatments and wasting leftover materials. To the hot-rolled steel structure, only a stainless steel counter top and brass details were added, each of them easy to separate from the steel base. The concept is to preserve the pure material - rather than to wear it down - and to leave no trace behind in the form of waste or downcycled materials.

photography: Sophia Cipriano @ prjctwrks

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