Brand Story Photo Design Video Gallery
Bar Rouge Shanghai is the oldest night club in Shanghai and one of the most famous night club based in China, awarded by the World’s Finest Club. Bar Rouge Shanghai is a brand owned by VOL Group China, a leading actor of the food and beverage industry in Shanghai.
Brand : Bar Rouge Shanghai, VOL Group China
Projects : Creative direction, Art direction (360°), Design production quality control
Type of services : Brand identity, Graphic design, Webdesign, Creative content production
Type of supports : Print, Digital, Video, Photo, Chinese & American digital social media
Context & Challenges
The following content introduces a design work selection achieved between January 2015 and February 2017, produced or leaded by Artbeat Studio Shanghai, the in-house Creative agency / Design Department in charge of the branding, digital creative content and design production for all the brands and outlets owned by VOL Group China. In 2017, the studio was managing 5 brands, 150 projects and around 3000 design items a year (cross-media platforms). Read the work summary.
Bar Rouge Shanghai, China
Bar Rouge Shanghai, China, International Awards and Accomplishments. Download the sales kit
“Bar Rouge Shanghai” is one of the most famous night club based in Asia and the oldest club in Shanghai. Since 2004, he provides fine-mainstream events, focused on four main offers: a terrace rooftop displaying an exclusive view of the Pudong Skyline; a high-end beverages offer including a large Champagne list, originals cocktails designed by international mixologists and cocktails makers; an electronic music mainstream-oriented via a powerful home-designed sound system; and several times a year, some cutting edges invitations of world’s best DJs, musicians and music producers. The venue is open 7 days a week, 6pm till late.
“We are now a kind of “big brother” of the night-life in Shanghai. Never mind the awards anymore, as an institution, we should communicate according this status” (Charles B., Marketing and Sales Director, VOL Group China, June 2015). “We are the soul of Bar Rouge, a French brand working with, in and for China” (Antoine K.P., Director, Bar Rouge Shanghai, 2015).
The client’s needs are simple and total: global design, visual identity, branding, visual communication supports and creative contents production for the five events planned every weeks, 365 days a year. “We are providing fun, music and Champagne on the best terrace of Shanghai” (Eric T., Marketing and Sales Director, VOL Group China, February 2015). “Everybody says: Bar Rouge plays only commercial music. It’s wrong. Bar Rouge plays also a very fine electro music and invites the best Djs, including from the underground scene. The audience needs to know” (Quentin F. aka Keint, Musical and Artistic Director, Bar Rouge Shanghai, February 2015).
Reworking the brand perception
How to become a trendy institution
Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, Bar Rouge became an institution of the Shanghai nightlife. So we had to keep talking with the loyal customers and expand the brand image to stay in touch with the new generations. Shanghai is a city full of energy and young talents, surrounded by epic successes and permanent potentials. So the outlet needed a new “brand-departure”.
Gentrification & Chinese Space Program
The gentrification in Shanghai is increasing faster than anywhere in the world. The Chinese Space Program is a reality and a current and future key evolution for the country. The collective imagination is now in full development and the famous “bad graphic design” made in China is an old story. The mainstream Shanghainese people are now much more “design-sensitive” than during the last decade, when only business men and women were in town. From now, several influencing stylish communities are imposing their new standards, locals and foreigners as equals.
Etienne de Crécy, Bar Rouge Shanghai with M Agency. Photo by Pavel Shubskiy, China, 2016
How to avoid the “outdated” phenomenon
To avoid the “outdated” or “old-fashioned” phenomenon – typical in Shanghai, we built a visual communication relevant with the musical direction, targeting a large scale of customers: tourists, Chinese people, expatriates, but also the artsy communities, “ABC” (American Born in China), young locals generation, Chinese digital native, and all the students community perpetually arriving in China.
Refreshing the codes
First, we made a short selection of fundamental existing elements in order to keep the link with the current loyal customers: #mainstream, #fun, #electromusic, #sexy, #electro, #deephouse, #tech-house, #champagne; But we definitively removed the old “clubbing” aesthetic codes. E.g: the light ray effects, typical of the night club pictures review during the 90s/2000s; and avoided the basic Photoshop effects for the design production, typical of the charming but infamous amateur designers working for the nightlife industry (“Ho, my little cousin knows how to use Photoshop, he will do the flyer“).
Adding new key-words
Then, we added new key-words inside the brand’s identity in order to help the graphic designer team and to enrich the creative briefings: #cinematographic, #fast, #bold, #elegant, #pudong, #gradient, #illustration,#neons, #finest, #futuristic, #natural, #artsy, #dirty, #internetaesthetic, #insolent, #timeless.
New photo standards | Art direction
Bringing back the classics
Studio 54, Photo by Tod Papageorge, New-York, USA, 1977-1981
How to catch the timeless beauty
We added new photo standards references, from the current design trends to the contemporary art productions. Inspired by fine and deviant arts, the photographic style was redesigned to try to catch the timeless beauty of place and guests. In co-working with the photographers, we designed Photo guidelines, including a special Light-room filter defining brightness, color saturation, noise and other details related the requested style for portraits, interior design and others subjects we would like to capture: lovers kissing (without faces), intimate moments between guests, extravagant people, peculiar situations, close-up on the clothes, fashion accessories, “off-camera” framing and happenings.
New Lightroom photo filter
The final photos taken during the events, taken with natural lights or raw TTL electronic flashes, a bit noisy and textured, are inspired by “un je ne sais quoi” of the real life and the cinematographic aesthetic. The goal of these new guidelines was to make people natural, real and beautiful. Key-references: Studio 54, Tod Papageorge, Vice Magazine, Jean-Paul Goude, Terry Richardson, Nan Goldin, Juergen Teller). In brief, we would keep a perfect balance between the fine-mainstream and high-end underground doxas.
New design | Art direction
First tests & Sketches
First mood-board – Creative direction for flyers (short selection) by Francois Soulignac, Bar Rouge Shanghai, VOL Group China, 2015.
New design | Art direction
First mock-up for templates
First mock-up – New branding and art direction for flyers series (short selection), Bar Rouge Shanghai, VOL Group China, 2015.
New branding | The gradients of Pudong
The gradients of Shanghai Pudong skyline view by night from the Bar Rouge terrace – Digital illustration by Francois Soulignac, Bar Rouge Shanghai, VOL Group China, 2015
“The gradients of Pudong” is a design series developed in 2015. Inspired by the colorful and kitschy Pudong Skyline light system (just in front of the Bar Rouge’s terrace), these digital abstractions became new Brand’s DNA elements dedicated to the corporate communication branding. Influenced by the video art of Jeremy Blake used by, inter alia, Paul Thomas Anderson in the movie picture named Punch-Drunk Love.
Corporate flyers using The Gradients of Pudong – Design by Francois Soulignac, Bar Rouge Shanghai, VOL Group China
New way of management
Cut Killer Dj booth, Bar Rouge Shanghai, Photo by Francois Soulignac, China, 2016
New processes of design production
To cope with a large quantity of events planned a year (5 events a week, 365 days a year), we had two options: hire more designers; or optimize and organize the existing resources and budgets. We selected the second option.
Excepted for corporate branding, the majority of the global design processes (mainly dedicated to the events) were simplified and refined. More photography-oriented (borrowed or made in-house) inspired by the contemporary, street and pop art productions. We invited the team members to find alternative ways of thinking, researching and creating. Billions images are available, everywhere, anytime. We should use them as a raw creative material. And we made it. By small pieces, by fragments, transposed, exactly like the sampling process achieved by Djs and beat-makers.
Visual Sampling, Recapture & Copy-cat
Maxime H., Bar Rouge Shanghai, La Grande Bellezza with MVP, Sampling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo
The sampling of design (or visual sampling, recapture) is a way of designing dedicated to the design team of VOL Group China. Relevant with the culture of the country, the night-life and the entertainment industry, this creative process is a way to optimize the design production, helpful to reach the deadlines, keep the quality standards and reduce the Department’s operating costs.
For a foreigner’s mind living outside of China, this way of creation could be perceived as a lame technique – or worth, a “no-creative” method. This is a pretty wrong assertion, especially in China. The copying processes has always been intimately related to the Chinese art and industrial histories, part of the Chinese tradition. A good recapture, done with the proper observation and selection is globally well perceived by the Chinese audience. Moreover, this method of creation is a powerful tool to work with and manage an international creative team, tracing an interesting cultural bridge between the people.
Sampling & Recapture | Examples
Flyers Sampling Series. Photos by Jean-Paul Goude, Tod Papageorge, Nan Goldin, Shutterstock. Visual Sampling, Art direction & Graphic design by Francois Soulignac, Bar Rouge Shanghai, VOL Group China.
Original Content production
Of course, at the same time, traditional ways of design and content production were kept on the process (original design, artworks, illustration, video and photo shooting). In order to provide a relevant and diversified branding offer to the VOL Group Marketing Department, we defined several visual identities, categories and series of design.
A co-working with locals and international talents : Antoine K.P. (Director, Bar Rouge Shanghai); Charles B. (Marketing & Sales Director, VOL Group China); Quentin F. aka Keint (Photographer, Artistic and Musical Director, Bar Rouge Shanghai); Jonathan B. (Project Manager, Bar Rouge Shanghai); Clément B. (Videographer); Lynn (Graphic Designer); Shasha (Graphic Designer); Shyla T. (Graphic Designer); Toni Z. (Graphic Designer); Preacher (Graphic Designer); Julia Z. (Graphic Designer); Danara S. (Illustrator); Vitaly T. (Photographer and Videographer); Pavel S. (Photographer); Oliver M. (Art Director, Photographer); 紫宁信息科技 (Drones & Aerial views).
Chinese Social Media
One of the aim of the VOL Group Design Department was to reduce the quantity of printed support of communication, no more relevant with habits of Chinese users mainly focused on mobile devices. We reinforced the production of digital supports: eflyer, video teaser, music video, streaming on Spotify, live streaming (熊猫 Panda TV, Meipai; These supports of communication are less expensive to produce and easier to spread thanks to the snapshot worldwide dissemination followed by hundred million user accounts in China mainland. We optimized also all the key-visuals, on a simple square shape, to fit perfectly with our 2 major social media: WeChat (微信, Wēixìn) and Instagram.
Graphic design | Key-visual
Flyers Design (short selection). Art direction & Graphic design by Francois Soulignac, Bar Rouge Shanghai, VOL Group China.
Branding | Series
Flyers Design Series (short selection). Art direction & Graphic design by Francois Soulignac, Bar Rouge Shanghai, VOL Group China.
Brodinski & Gener8ion
Brodinski & Gener8ion, Brava Tour, Bar Rouge Shanghai with M Agency | Video by Clément Beurais, VOL Group China, 2015
Bar Rouge Shanghai 10th Anniversary
Bar Rouge Shanghai 10th Anniversary | Video by Clément Beurais, Aerial views by 紫宁信息科技, VOL Group China, 2014
A co-working with locals & international talents
Antoine K.P. (Director, Bar Rouge Shanghai); Charles B. (Marketing & Sales Director, VOL Group China); Quentin F. aka Keint (Photographer, Artistic and Musical Director, Bar Rouge Shanghai); Jonathan B. (Project Manager, Bar Rouge Shanghai); Clément B. (Videographer); Lynn (Graphic Designer); Shasha (Graphic Designer); Shyla T. (Graphic Designer); Toni Z. (Graphic Designer); Preacher (Graphic Designer); Julia Z. (Graphic Designer); Danara S. (Illustrator); Vitaly T. (Photographer and Videographer); Pavel S. (Photographer); Oliver M. (Art Director, Photographer); 紫宁信息科技 (Drones & Aerial views).
© 2015-2017, Bar Rouge Shanghai, VOL Group China – François Soulignac, Creative & Art Direction.