Bar Code by Woods Bagot



Bar Code is a low-energy bar and night club in London that runs on "about the same amount of energy it takes to make a cup of tea", according to its designers, architects Woods Bagot.


The club employs LED lights that emit very little heat and so reduce the need for air conditioning, and has fridges that open from the top to minimise cold air escape.

Update 20/07/07: the architects have asked us to point out that the LED lighting system, and not the entire club, runs on very little electricity. Woods Bagot's PR says: "It is the LED lighting system in particular that has the same amount of energy draw as an electric kettle. Of course, as I mentioned in my blurb, the rest of the build is aimed at making the club as sustainable as possible, hence the natural ventilation and the design features on the fridge."


Here is a statement from the architects:


Bar Code is a new bar and club in Vauxhall that takes sustainability to the next level. It was designed by Rob Steul, Principal at Woods Bagot, an international architectural firm, on behalf of Troy Wears, owner of Bar Code.


The club is situated in the Vauxhall Arches, a site that is Grade 1 listed and previously owned by Railtrack. As such, Rob’s mission was to envision a first-rate clubbing experience that could be built-up around the existing fixtures.


Bar Code also features many design touches that make the build environmentally friendly.


Most clubs require air-conditioning to manage the heat given off by the lighting system, but Bar Code uses LEDs, which emit virtually no heat at all. The club uses natural ventilation and only in the hottest nights in July is air-conditioning required.


Fridges at the bar open upwards, to prevent the escape of cold air and the necessity of constant re-chilling. The result is that Bar Code runs on about the same amount of energy it takes to make a cup of tea.




Posted on Tuesday July 17th 2007 at 3:43 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Hmmm, I don't mean to be cynical, I'm all in favour of energy efficiency, but I'm not sure the claims being made here can be true. It 'runs on' about the same amount of energy as needed to 'make a cup of tea'?

    Well surely, if someone orders a cup of tea, the bar will require all that energy just to make the cup of tea, so the rest of the bar surely can't be running on ZERO energy?

    Secondly, I see a sound system there, with rather large speakers. I know from experience these require a lot of energy – they can easily overload a poorly installed power loop. I've never heard of a tea-kettle doing the same.

    It seems that everyone is trying to make such claims at the moment, carbon neutral this, blah blah that, and it seems a tad out of band wagon.

    By no means am I saying I'm an expert on the matter – I would be genuinely impressed and very optimistic of the future if these claims are true – but they do seem so overwhelmingly amazing I have to be cynical?

    Please prove me wrong – I'd love to see the electricity bill!


  • tax

    Sustainability as a trend… this is very stupefying

  • dieo

    It ‘runs on’ about the same amount of energy as needed to ‘make a cup of tea’, I think this is just a figure of speech Daniel. As long as people are trying to be sustainble then who cares if it is just a trend or not? At least he is doing something about it.
    The idea of the lighting and fridges are also good. Just think, If all of the night clubs utilise these ideas, how much would we save?

  • Dieo says: “As long as people are trying to be sustainble [sic] then who cares if it is just a trend or not?” Well, I care. ‘Trying’ to do something is not good enough. If there is a real challenge you need to do something effective and strategic. If there is no real challenge, you are simply encouraging people to change their lifestyle/work practice for no reason. Tokenism and feelgood actions are disingenuous. We have had thousands of years of such reflexive action, in the guise of religion, to demonstrate its the problems it creates.

    More importantly, the architecture profession has not properly debated the philosophy behind sustainability, or the responses proposed, and thus there is no sound basis for action in this area. The most insulting aspect of the sustainability ‘movement’ is the way it assumes we are all ‘onside’ without having deigned to engage with the rest of us intellectually.

  • Dieo- when it comes to something as important as environmental issues surely its not really appropriate to use a ‘figure of speech’. Afterall, anybody (oil companies, car companies) could claim such a statement in that case, if they so much as had an inkling that they were a fraction more efficient than their competitors.

    Regardless, since Marcus’ update its clear that the claim was only being made about the lighting, which is fair enough.

  • Voice of Sense

    People still do not truely understand that global warming due to co2 emission is not a proven fact!!!
    Many well repected scientists believe global warming is due to solar activity (thats the sun for all the idiots). 40 years ago the human race thought we would be heading to the next ice age! anybody who studies geography will realise that the earth naturally heats up and cools down ove a period of decades. look it up its called el nino and el nina!

    Mr Al Gore’s film is extreamly opinionated! mainly by himself. The sole reasons the world is still using oil is because of corruption, who do you think pays for presidencial campaigns! thats right oil companys!! the electric powered car was around 20 years ago but that was squased because there too much money in oil! and now people have inveted water powered cars but this is not a known fact!

    Do you not seem to think that if governments wanted to reduce co2 emissions caused by lighting, they would only allow selling of energy efficent lightbulbs!

    The world is unfortunatly corrupt! and the sooner someone has the balls to stand up and tell the truth!!! excluding Al gores lies!

    However with all this in mind recycling is something that can be sorted! instead of using oil based plastics, there are other souces which are clean and renewable and are not fucking the earth up!

    Give it up! see the bigger picture, its all lies about global warming due to c02

  • Alexandre

    Well, this is and old old post, but anyway, before we go out on each other´s throats, the issue here is sustainable architecture, and not “just” oil, or suntainability in general.
    I agree with Nico, we cannot take half measures and say we are doin’it for good. No no no. I´m brazillian and the eco-trend is just hitting real hard these days here, everyone wants to be “in hollywood” as miss kittin would say, so the larger contractors and cosntruction enterprises all come with some form of greenish stuff. Does that solve anything? Nops…
    Just because you´re gonna collect your stormwater runnof does not mean your green. Some condo’s here do that, and then propose a corbusian tower-in-the-park scheme to a very large residential enterprise… so, you get the park, you drain the water but… you kill the city and foster the use of automobiles… not green at all once you look at it in the big picture.
    The Holcim Awards last year were also hard to swallow… one social-sustainability rationale was “a pool is sustainable because everyone can use it” – shallow shallow shallow. Not enough, but enough said about it.

  • Jane Gray

    I think they specifically mean that the lights in the place run on as much electricity as making a cup of tea. That’s it.

  • I just stumbled upon this blog because I liked the pictures of the interior design. Then I followed by reading the article and everyones comment. Overall I just think people dont need to be negative about someone trying to reduce the amount of energy used, if its a trend or not as long as its positive then we cannot be negative about it… but instead further the awereness and knowledge. Overall ,every little bit helps and if it takes it to be a trend for people to do it .. well its a better beginning then no beginning at all. Great post by the way great pictures , the bar looks awesome.