Concept design for the Lounge’s ‘conversation cocoons’

Partnership / Heineken London Design Festival 2014

Heineken®’s Pop Up City Lounge set for London Design Festival bow

Throughout the year there are a few key dates when the design community’s attention focuses on a particular event – a combination of time and place and creative energy that becomes something both special and significant. In mid-September, that place is London, and this year’s London Design Festival is now just days away. We are excited to be partnering with Heineken® for their Pop Up City Lounge, an interactive social hub where cutting-edge design thinkers have stripped the very idea of this social space back to basics, and re-thought it from the ground up.

Heineken® as a brand has impressive form on this kind of project. Two years ago at the Milan Salone the brand undertook the same kind of comprehensive design re-thinking of a nightclub, and last year their creative hub The Magazzini hosted workshops, presentations and night life experiences against the backdrop of Milan’s famous design fair.

These recent projects are modern manifestations of a design-centric brand ethos that stretches back decades. Back in the early 1960s, Alfred “Freddy” Heineken® created the WOBO, a brick-shaped beer bottle that could turn a ubiquitous piece of litter into an affordable building material. This ability to see the world differently and harness the power of creativity has long been a part of the Heineken® mentality, which you can trace right up to their LDF project.


Bespoke ice trays were one of the ideas crowdsourced from a group of international designers

“We basically ripped up the rule book on what a lounge bar should be, what it should look like, and asked people what they really wanted,” said Mark Van Iterson, Heineken®’s global head of design. “The response was amazing; tens of thousands of crowdsourcing Instagram images were submitted.

“The common thought throughout our journey was that the lounge should be a place of discovery, an experience that delivers a bit of the unexpected. We believe this Pop-up City Lounge delivers this and so much more.”

By democratising the early stages of the design process and gathering insights from across the world, the project unpicked the fundamental assumptions of what a lounge bar looks like and how it operates. Then by collaborating with 20 interior, product, fashion, graphic, and motion designers – hailing from Warsaw to New York, Mexico City to Singapore – the new ideas started to take shape into real-life experiences for London’s discerning and design-savvy drinkers.

The Pop Up City Lounge is open from 18 to 21 September on the site of The Old Truman Brewery. After it closes the lounge will then set off on a world tour.


Two 40-foot shipping containers make up the structure of the pop-up bar


The Magazzini at Milan 2013


The Magazzini at Milan 2013


The Club at Milan 2012


The Club at Milan 2012