For the new Moxy Bern Expo located in Bern, Switzerland’s up-and-coming neighbourhood, Wankdorf, JOI-Design found inspiration in the picturesque arches and alleyways that characterise the city’s old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The design of the hotel’s public areas marries traditional highlights with modern interpretations, thanks to clever illumination that becomes the star of the show. Captivating the gazes of guests are radiant swathes of light made from 295 small, 4-watt E27 LED bulbs suspended in a series of curves, a low-cost yet highly effective design technique. This poetic feature conjures up an evening walk under the starlit sky of the medieval quarter’s famed six-kilometre stretch of arcades, one of the largest covered shopping promenades in Europe.

The eye-catching installation moves playfully throughout the public spaces, bathing surfaces with a warm glow. Diversity of lighting, 10 different forms in total, create a range of moods and enable guests to comfortably enjoy assorted activities. From cinematic ‘film set’-style table and standing lamps, to ‘caged’ and vintage pendants, to small colourful accents such as the neon ‘BAR’ and ‘DISCO’ signs, lights in typical Moxy style further loosen the atmosphere. The eclectic selection of lights provide a cost-effective way to give the design dimensional texture through the play between luminosity and shadow.

Of course, the bar is the go-to spot in the open-plan public areas, and it also has a concept shaped by insider knowledge of the city. In Bern, many clubs and bars are below ground rather than at street level due to architectural and historical circumstances. Access is gained through old basement trap doors along the street, creating the perfect clandestine appeal for experiencing nightlife. At the Moxy Bern, the bar’s cladding is styled to look like typical trap doors. Subtle indirect illumination from LED strips under the counter call attention to the detailing yet remain unobtrusive as they help set a warm and cosy scene. Natural colours and materials including raw concrete, rough bricks, and dark walls and ceilings support this harmonious ambience, while quirky accents reflect the personality of the Moxy brand.

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