Stories unfold from research of old names and symbolic references like peacocks, marine shipping tales, the meaning of railyard words and tools.
We wanted to respond to the public media buzz about the refresh of the venue. To keep the Railway Club spirit alive and continue the live performance vibes of the space, we decided to make a splash in a very unique yet contemporary way with a fresh new pulse.
A nod towards the old gathering place
The curve of the neon sign ‘Welcome to the west’ as you wind up the stairway is reminiscent of the curve of the railroad track around a bend. Visible through the glass pane behind the bar like the headlight of a train engine, the pink neon glow emanates the feel of vintage lighting and old school familiarity. The peacock feather, emphasized in the larger than life grand scale, carries portents of integrity, grandeur, and trail across long chains of history, past and present. The original wood steps frame out the fresh marine colored, Moroccan patterned concrete risers that lead upwards to the venue. A nod towards the old gathering place for those of the dry docks and shipyards down the street in vintage Vancouver or other receiving harbours around the world. Marine nets hold lit globes, like flotation buoys, of varying colour temperatures emitting a soft glow from above.
At the center bar you experience sitting atop a vintage barstool with studded leather and notches where your feet settle on the wood rails. The ornate look of the concrete stained tiles sets the backdrop for the beer taps and back lit handwritten labels. A warm amber hue glows outward highlighting beers featured on tap. Repetitive linear light fixtures, along the window wall opposite, share varying hues of the same warm glow without being monotonous, but rather mesmerizing like the cross bar sleepers between rails of a train track. The rhythm of the lighting is engaging and propels one into the rhythm of the activity in the live bar space.
A carousel horse leads the way down the steps to the games parlour. A montage of ripped wallcoverings layered over previous embossed wallcoverings with stains from old frames mounted to the walls over decades add the layering of time necessary to tell the story of Railway as it was, as it still is. Pattern upon pattern in shared colourways describe a vibrancy that once was in this room. The original stained glass still remains throughout the space, the vintage vibes give it an exclusive throwback look and feel. New custom carpet reflects the same organic line work. The original wood arches behind the parlour bar get new life with warm hued flexible LED tube lighting to emphasize the curved track lines of the arches. A fresh approach arrives upon the old historical traces. The bones of the space remain celebrated.
A heritage project holds a lot of suspense and curiosity. People care about what will be passed on and what will be salvaged. Will it feel the same? Will it be a preposterous copy or a revamped revival? Will the memories live on in the new place? What about the name? Will there be the same atmosphere?
These are the questions and media alerts to contemplate while designing a new branded space within old vestige. The layering of new upon previous traces of a legacy to be preserved in a fresh way. The challenge lends itself to highly charged opinions and potential controversy, or respected kudos for celebratory success.