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Online Exclusive – Noir Lounge, San Francisco

May 2, 2013

Film noir’s smoky drama has entered San Francisco’s newest bar and pub, aptly named Noir Lounge. “I really like the simple elegance of that period, and that in most of the commercial and hospitality interiors [designers] played up the detail on the doors and ceilings,” says designer Gi Paoletti of Gi Paoletti Design Lab. “These are items often overlooked in today's design.”

The shadowy films inspired the lounge’s lighting, where gold painted, metal mesh ceilings suspend underneath, emitting a soft light. “In that era there are a lot of lighting effects along with a simplistic background,” says Paoletti. “The suspended ceilings have a glow, but it doesn’t really light the room. One of the reasons why is because I knew we would be showing films in there.”


Noir’s screening room faces a wide-screen TV surrounded by red theater drapes. Silver trimmed and patterned wallcoverings recall 1940s cinemas. “My idea was that the more you got into the space, the more elegant and sophisticated it would be,” says Paoletti. “People are just drawn to that room, which is really wonderful.”


Ornate frames hold the lounge’s three screens. “I didn’t want a system to be sitting there and coming from a different time,” says Paoletti. Similarly, the taps at the front bar are made from a series of car manifold parts, since taps were not used in the U.S. until the 1970s. “Even though the car manifold didn’t come from the period, it fits and disguises the tap systems,” she adds.


Golden onyx stone tops the bars, while a light box built under the bar illuminates the transparent stone. “The stone was used more in the iconic buildings of the 1950s, though it was more popular as a wall panel,” says Paoletti. “We took an element from the period and used it in a different way to get a warm effect.”

A still shot from the Big Combo⎯⎯a 1955 film noir⎯⎯is enlarged over the wall of the back bar; a multi-pane window frames the backlit image. “When you’re sitting at the bar it looks like you’re looking out the window,” says Paoletti. 


Dark red plantation shutters cast shadows over the communal table and the otherwise tan and gold palette—with the exception of the screening room, the remaining walls use tan brick and dark gray, paneled wainscot. “There was sort of this second wave of Art Deco,” says Paoletti. “A lot of what they used in the ceiling had a lot of gold and tan in it.”


That palette continues in the furnishings, where eclectic chairs are covered in neutral fabrics with red accents. “We felt like the red fit in with the moodiness, since it’s a deep red and not a bright one,” says Paoletti, adding that almost all of the lounge seating was purchased from estate sales and reupholstered. “We found things that fit that style. These two tall, wingback chairs are everybody’s favorites. You probably feel like you should be Humphrey Bogart in a suit sitting here.”


hdtalks: the interviews

During HD Expo 2014, Hospitality Design’s Michael Adams sat down with HBA’s Michael Bedner to talk about his half-century in the hospitality design industry. View the video.



Produced by: Emerald Expositions
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