Press Release

’Room Service’ An Absolut Art Bar by João Vasco Paiva Hong Kong Art Week 2017

Absolut is pleased to present a new collaboration with Portuguese-born, Hong Kong-based artist João Vasco Paiva on a site-specific Art Bar titled Room Service. Open daily from 17 March – 2 April 2017 at Potato Head during Hong Kong Art Week, Room Service is the artist’s vision of a timeless oasis where the contemporary world and nature coincide.


The installation is inspired by the opening scene of Terrence Malick’s 1998 film A Thin Red Line, in which Sargent Witt wanders around a desert island. This intimate moment between man and nature forms the basis for his Art Bar as Paiva melds it with his own fascination with the urban environment to redefine the convention of a retreat. Featuring a series of sculptures, film projections along with resting nets, Room Service places a contemporary spin on the concept of sanctuary.


Taking reference from Hindu vernacular architecture such as ancient temples and sacred sites as well as motifs of residential buildings from present-day life, Paiva coalesces the past with the present. Projection screens made of semi-transparent glass and fabric hang from the ceiling and permeate the space. These screens inundate spectators with videos of abandoned places in Hong Kong – from ruins of villages that have been recaptured by nature to daily commodities displayed in shop fronts.


Paiva further creates the ambience of retreat and the merging of artificiality with the natural by placing fans throughout the space. These emit a light breeze and move the projection screens, fabricating the motion of trees swaying in the wind. Room Service is a place where time stands still – transporting visitors from the mundane to the mystical, from daily life to the immersive realm of nature.


The Absolut Art Bar features a series of Artist Cocktails created by João Vasco Paiva in collaboration with a Potato Head mixologist, Kamil Foltanto, reflect the theme of retreat. Each cocktail (HK$128+ 10% servc.) is inspired by fictional and real castaways such as Private Witt, Fletcher Christian and Paddy Button. Using ingredients including Sichuan pepper infused maple syrup, peat bitters, basil and lemongrass, Paiva aims to encapsulate the states of mind of these castaways in his cocktails.


Room Service also includes a diverse programme of music which aims to highlight the contrast between day and night through acoustic and digital sets. The afternoon programme includes a line-up of live acoustic performances while the evening sees a variety of electronic acts and DJ sets.


Room Service is a moment in time in which visitors will have the opportunity to escape their daily realities and be immersed in a new world. A workd that bared both idyllic imagery of deserted islands, and traces of urbanisation,” says João Vasco Paiva.


“We are thrilled to be collaborating with João Vasco Paiva who has emerged as one of Hong Kong’s most exciting, young contemporary artists. We look forward to experiencing his vision for his Absolut Art Bar to create the ultimate retreat during Hong Kong’s Art Week,” says Saskia Neuman, Global Art Manager, Absolut.