Lifestyle

An inside look at Ophelia

 OpehliaAfter celebrating its first year anniversary, performance venue and bar Ophelia, doesn’t show signs of stopping, with success coming in spades. In just a year, Ophelia has taken home several prestigious awards, including a Gold Medal at the Hong Kong Restaurant Interior Design Awards (HKRIDA) last August.

Its award-winning interiors are a result of Australian designer, Ashley Sutton. Best known for his works in Bangkok and Tokyo, Ophelia was his first venture into the Hong Kong market. Not only a first for Sutton in Hong Kong but it also hails as the first into the club scene for Hong Kong food group, Dining Concepts.

Ophelia set up shop in newly developed space, The Avenue in Lee Tung Avenue, Wan Chai. The location was chosen by the group, and took three months to plan and six months to build. Despite being a new area that posed some difficulties, Ophelia offers an experience that’s unlike any other bars in Hong Kong. Hoping to create something unforgettable, Sutton chose his signature hints to the Far East, drawing inspiration from the city’s 19th century opium dens, whilst adding a modern take on performance art in order to truly transport guests. “I had to work hard on that one to take people away to another world,” says Sutton.


Ophelia


Ophelia

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Ophelia’s door and entrance is a homage to a fabled Wan Chai bird seller, known as Mr. Wong, who had kept rare and exotic birds within his aviary, with the most exotic peacocks housed in a big cage up the back. The entry feels reminiscent of an old Hong Kong shopfront. As you enter, you see Mr. Wong’s influence continue past the curtains - now less street chic, and more opium den decadence meets peacock fantasy. Once taken to the other side of the curtain, you are transported into the world of Ophelia. The lighting creates an atmosphere with an air of luxury and theatre, with pockets of bright colours that lighten the mood. Ophelia’s design concept is translated to their cocktails with drinks that light up and its signature Uncaged cocktail served inside a traditional bird cage.


Ophelia


Ophelia Uncaged cocktail

The finishing of the lounge and bar is everything you’d expect in a Sutton creation. The walls are lined with 600,000 hand-painted ceramic tiles with an eyespot on a peacock's train feather. There are steel archways inspired by Chinese architecture. This steelwork and that on the tables and bar mimics the look and feel of a peacock’s leg. All furniture and steel, I learn, has been hand-made in Sutton’s factory in Thailand, shipped and then assembled in Hong Kong.


Ophelia


Ophelia


Ophelia

A walk around Ophelia will uncover several surprises. The opening room exhibits a throne adorned on both sides with a statue of a peacock. The 4,800 square feet of space has hidden corners, back rooms and little design features throughout to explore. Some details are subtle enough that they blend with the palette of the room, such as the velvet panels, dressed in purple and green, are yet another nod to the peacock. Sutton’s presentation of the city’s 19th century glamorous opium dens with a resplendent display of peacock-inspired elegance makes Ophelia every bit fabulous as she is beautiful. 

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