A Bar in a Prison

Team: Office De Architectura
Client: 8 Days A Week
Photo: Norbert Tukaj
Location: Vilnius, Lithuania
Year: 2022

Located in the heart of Vilnius, the Lukiškės prison after more than 100 years of operation recently reopened as a cultural venue. Hosting artists, musicians, and different live music events it soon became a major destination in the capital of Lithuania.

For the winter season, we were tasked to create a bar in the former prisoner library. Although understanding the heavy atmosphere of the space, we did not want to erase it. We set a goal, without questioning any aesthetics, to leave traces of the past untouched – the unmatching yellowish paint on the wall is from the soviet period while the high ceiling space, windows and ventilation covers remind us of the years of the Russian empire. The main material for the new elements in stainless steel giving a hint of a rough, cold prison look. However, this is not a prison anymore – all furniture, chairs, and tables can be moved freely, and even a bench can be folded to create a space for a DJ set. A rigid prison has become an open flexible welcoming space.