On top floor of the Hilton Metropole Hotel near Hyde Park, Henry Chebaane creates “real virtuality,” where the imaginary realm of popular culture is made into real and tangible sensations.
The London-based artist and designer has created for Kojawan, a brand identity that he dubs “genuinely inauthentic” and an interior space experience that he calls “real virtuality” that turns design story-telling on its head, defying description while being steeped in references to popular digital culture and virtual iconography.
A long time collector of pop art and a frequent traveller to the Far East, Chebaane has layered the interiors of Kojawan into a retro-futuristic cosmopolitan stage by mixing European design vernaculars wit h the bold graphic worlds of Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
The bar and dining space is conceived as a deliberate hybrid of genres, a simultaneous overlap of multiple periods, evoking a light science fiction film set juxtaposed with a luminous urban art gallery—2001: A Space Odyssey meets Warhol’s Silver Factory while also hinting at seminal literature works from the likes of Philip K.Dick and Brian W. Aldiss, movies such as “Alien” and cult Japanese anime like “Ghost in the Shell.”
As probably the first bar/dining space in the world Kojawan is featuring sculptural tiles designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (here customised with a titanium tint) used in numerous Hollywood movies.
To create an uplifting, sophisticated yet strong visual experience, the overall colour palette is deliberately muted, using a duotone scheme rich in light, shadow and texture: Carpeting in graphite hues with subtle 3D digital pattern, soft titanium metallic walls, and gently specular white ceilings covered with intricate space-age panels and pipeworks.
The comfortable seating includes a variety of booths, swivel stools, and pod chairs in tones of deep blue, warm grey, and black, upholstered in innovative polymer fabrics with a 3D cell-structure developed initially for the high-tech sportswear and fashion industries.
The multi-sensory creative vibe of Kojawan is extended throughout the space with an installation of over 50 pop art pieces curated by Henry Chebaane, including some of his own works (solo and collaborations) with evocative names such as “genius loci,” “resident alien,” “ichiban rebel.”