Constellations Bar by H Miller Bros is a courtyard canopy in Liverpool

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Constellations Bar by H Miller Bros is a courtyard canopy made up of triangles and zigzags

The zigzagging profile of this courtyard bar in Liverpool, England, mimics the gabled roofline of the warehouses that provide its backdrop (+ slideshow).

Constellations Bar by H Miller Bros

Named Constellations Bar, the outdoor venue was designed as a collaboration between British furniture designer Hugh Miller and his brother, architect Howard Miller. It sits at the heart of the Baltic Triangle – a former industrial area that has evolved into an arts district.

The Miller brothers, collectively known as H Miller Bros, were approached in April 2014 to create a summer events venue that could be designed and built in under three months.

Constellations Bar by H Miller Bros

Taking inspiration from both the name of the site and the gabled rooflines of the surrounding Victorian warehouses, the designers developed a triangle motif that formed the basis of the structure and its components.

Lengths of standard construction timber were used to create a waffle-like canopy that slopes up and down to frame three different sections. The first two accommodate a bar, while the third can be used to house a DJ booth.

Constellations Bar by H Miller Bros

The angles of the zigzagging roofline run parallel with the profiles of the ageing brick warehouses directly behind, while the exposed underside creates a pattern of tessellating triangles.

"The undulations of the soffit create a variety of atmospheric spaces – beer hall, dining room, and intimate seating area," Hugh Miller told Dezeen. "However these spaces are unified by the regular pattern of the ceiling."

Constellations Bar by H Miller Bros

The canopy is held in place by ten A-frame supports, known as "quadrapods". Made from green oak, a kind of unseasoned timber, these frames double up as benches or tables.

Glue-laminated timber beams carry the load of the canopy down the supports. They project outwards from the canopy, allowing simple rainwater drainage.

Constellations Bar by H Miller Bros

The two designers prefabricated all of the components for the build in their workshop, which is also located within the Baltic Triangle. They were then slotted together on site in just three days.

Constellations Bar by H Miller Bros

Bespoke furniture was also made for the site, comprising a series of stools, benches and tables all constructed from green oak. Some elements are triangular, but all of them can be slotted together make larger furniture pieces.

These are accompanied by large planters, made from recycled builders' bags.

Constellations Bar by H Miller Bros
Axonometric diagram one

"These are easily movable, allowing the space to be reconfigured to accommodate the rolling program of arts events, performance, cinema screenings and a market," added Miller.

Constellations Bar by H Miller Bros
Axonometric diagram two

The project was completed in July and was in use throughout the summer.

Photography is by Robert Holmes.


Project credits:

Client: Becky Pope, Nick Baskerville, Paul Seiffert
Design and construction: H.Miller Bros. aka Hugh Miller Furniture + Howard Miller Design Ltd.
Engineer: Paul Clark, Materian Ltd.
Landscape and planting: Gemma Jerome
Furniture construction: Mike Kerslake
Ground works and roofing: Kevin and Jimmy of Building Maintenance