The Ayana Resort and Spa, Bali held a private party to launch its new Rock Bar on Friday, July 31, 2009. Attended by several hundred members of the local press, diplomatic corps and tourism figures - the party showcased what is soon to dominate the list of "must do's in Bali" for an evening cocktail. Accessed by an intimidating number of steps or a much less strenuous inclinator, the bar lives up to it "on the rocks" theme via an open-top bar perched 14 meters above the ocean on a rocky outcrop at the base of the resort's towering cliffs.
An impressive feat of architectural and engineering design, the complex is the work of Yasuhiro Koichi of Japan's Design Studio SPIN, whose works include NOBU Tokyo and NOBU Hong Kong. "Rock Bar" at the Ayana Resort and Spa, Bali offers uninterrupted, 360-degree views.
A one-of-a-kind venue, the bar offers several levels for dining and drinking in an atmosphere that suggests you're floating above the Indian Ocean, pounding the rocks below. Adding to the chic ambient, there's a DJ booth at the front of the bar equipped with an all-weather outdoor Bose Stereo System. Guests can enjoy a range of tapas served on natural stone plates. But, like any Bar destined to be ranked among the world's best, the menu's focus is of the liquid variety, with a comprehensive list of classic and contemporary cocktails. "The Rocks" is also an impressive venue for private functions and wedding parties, with a kitchen discreetly concealed beneath a nearby rock formation.
Either side of the main rock "bar," timber platforms featuring comfortable sofas provide additional viewing points across the ocean. One of these platforms is accessed via a natural cave, a unique entrance that leads to the terrace and a 'secret' garden over the beach. Designer Yasuhiro Koichi said the bar's minimalist design emphasizes the natural beauty and layout of the rocky outcrop on AYANA's Kisik Beach. "The magic of the Rock Bar is to feel the sea close to you and enjoy the coastal scenery and the surf," Koichi said. "Therefore, we designed only enough to enhance these natural elements in a relaxed setting."
His signature style is evident in the use of traditional materials, motifs and colors, which are given a contemporary edge with cutting-edge lighting and clean lines. As you approach, softly angled lighting guides you up a small set of stairs to the bar's split-level ironwood platform. A 1 meter high glass wall surrounds the entire perimeter. Long counter-tables flank the illuminated, glass bar, a stunning artwork created by renowned Japanese glass artist Seiki Torige.
Open to the elements with nothing to block the fresh sea air and the changing colors of the sky above, the waves break onto the beach and the base of the rock below.
Seiki Torige's concept for the glass-topped bar was inspired by the 'wild' beauty of the natural surroundings. "The first time I visited the site, I noticed that at high tide, the waves break upon the rocks below and the shore like 'aquatic fireworks'. When it is low tide, a 100m-long coral reef appears in front of us, revealing the secret of the ocean's energy," said Seiki. "You really feel the power of nature at the Rock Bar, and I wanted to create a delicate glass work to be placed amongst this wild, beautiful scene."
The bar top was made out of thousands of paper-thin glass 'canes', produced one by one and layered one on top of the other for a sparkling effect. This is enhanced by illumination from beneath. "Every effort of humans is often defeated by nature, however, my fervent wish is that these glass canes – the fruit of our effort – unite with nature and shine brightly all the time," Seiki said.
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