Two materials define the Party Wall: white Corian and rich burled walnut. "We wanted a '70s kind of material to be in play," Chen says. "But at the same time, the shape of the piece overall is meant to be this very quiet, light, somewhat minimal volume that sits fairly quietly." When the shelf is in stealth mode, it recedes into the space.
Exterior doors slide open and tuck to the side to reveal shelving for liqour bottles and glassware and a beer tap. "When you're designing a kitchen you can get away with a lot more because there is an expectation that it's a functional space," Chen says. "But in a thing like a bar—particularly one that isn’t active all the time—I think there’s a pretty big challenge to incorporating the service aspects without it reading like a kitchen."
Chen says the clever home bar is a hybrid of an architectural element and a piece of furniture. "There’s a level of detail, intricacy, and workmanship in making these kinds of pieces that’s much more consistent with what you find in furniture," Chen says. "But the way it's used is much more like architecture. Its transformability makes the space around the piece also part of the piece. The choreography of how you move around it and access parts of it is something that we think about a lot."
Chen is most proud of the design elements that aren't visible. It took a tremendous amount of engineering to create a stable, pull-out cantilevered table. "To really have a comfortable dining experience, you need something to have enough stability," Chen says. "Of all the elements, that was the hardest to accomplish."