Alexandru Tohotan and Zoltan Zelenyak of 6th Sense Interiors have designed Enigma Cafe, an incredible kinetic steampunk-themed bar in Cluj, Romania.
Description by 6th Sense Interiors: We all have to admit that we’ve all thought at least once in our lifetime about going back or forward in time. Whether what we ever wanted to do was to change something or simply to give way to an impulse of sheer curiosity, the notion of time is one of the most tempting there is and it affects all of us in a most personal way. This is why in our new design story, Enigma-The Machine, we are taking time to a very personal level. Indeed, at the center of it, is the ever visited idea of the time machine, but we all have to admit that there is more to time than just time travelling. Time is after all the material life is made of and all the details in between which are constantly added to the common act of growing and evolution are all time constrained.
We are time! This is the story of Enigma Cafe. A story that took almost two years to create, being unique in the world for introducing kinetic elements into a location designed for the general public. Every detail has its own story which fits perfectly into our version of yet another brief history of time.
Universally, time is a giant clock. This is why our design story starts right here, with a clock, not just any clock, but one that gives you the feeling of being inside it. Placed on the farmost wall of the bar, the clock impresses at first because of its size. Made of giant, round, transparent glass, it spreads all over the back wall. Framed by a wooden rim, the clock offers an inside perspective, with dozens of wheels of different sizes moving at the same time as the hour and the minute hands keep rotating to indicate the passing of time. The clock is also illuminated by a led band which has been added right on the edge of the wooden frame. Mechanically, what we were trying to build here, was an inside view of time itself.
But you see, time does not move on its own or at least here it doesn’t as the main engine is powered by what we designed to be the time slave. In the story, we thought of the time slave as just any other man out there, trying to make sense out of life and find his way in the great labyrinth that life ultimately is. He is doomed from the very beginning to give it all away to time. Design wise, our time slave is pedaling his life away producing time and energy or even life we might add. It is the striking, welcoming figure closest to the bar entrance that produces shock with the visible synaptic connections inside its transparent skull.
Pedaling his life away, you won’t find much of the identity of our time slave within the story, unless you pay extra attention to the way all the pieces gather to fill in the entire design puzzle. The fragmented face placed opposite the time slave is bound to bring more substance to the account. The fragmented texture and the coarse metal boards show just how time builds us up bit by bit, until we are finally complete.
Various details focus on labyrinthian imagery: the patterns on the ceiling, multiple industrial boards representing secret entrances to all those possibilities life has reserved for us, the key to which are the ultimate choices we make, choices which will either imprison us or set us free.
And like any piece of machinery, the time we have created in Enigma Cafe is powered by an engine also clearly visible to the naked eye, placed on the front wall of the bar counter. This serves as power outlet both for the giant clock and for the time machine shaped as an elevator meant to take you to different time zones.
Interiors: 6th Sense Interiors
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Client: Enigma Cafe – Secret Garden
Radu & Andrei(Engineers)
Adi (Engineer, manufacture)
Era Mi (Graphics, airbrush)