Coca-Cola Retro Lounge: The Art of Chillin’

With the “Coke Side of Life campaign, Coca-Cola proves once again to be in tune with the world’s most current trends in visual arts, design, motion graphics, lifestyle, music & nightlife. Thanks to the company’s amazing efforts (bar & club activations, venue branding, VJ-sets, the limited aluminum Coke M5 & WE8 bottles series, …), Coca-Cola is now an important ingredient in nightlife all over the world.

In nightlife, it’s all about the vibes, about being a trendsetter amongst the cool, about being seen in the limelight. Dress, dance, dare – go wild! But sometimes, it’s cool just to “chill”.
Since the late ‘90s, long working hours and hectic lifestyles have generated a huge boom in lounge & chill places: trendy bars, clubs or restaurants with a relaxed atmosphere, glamorous and luxurious interior design and a large selection of food & drinks.

Another cool aspect of the lounge trend is the diversity of the music. Lounge tunes have the soul of jazz, the sexiness of funk, elements of early house music, all mixed with today’s electronic symphony of sounds. Successful lounge cd-series as Hotel Costes, Buddha Bar, Sinners Lounge, Cafe Del Mar, Supperclub, Hed Kandi Chilled, Cafe Ibiza or Bargroove have sold million of copies. And the trend is far from being over. Every week, there’s another grand opening somewhere of a fabulous lounge bar, club or restaurant – the last one even more spectacular than the one before.

Actually, there is nothing really new here. The term “lounge” dates back to the 16th century (in the sense of “a place of relaxation”) and in the 19th century ‘lounging’ became very popular. Ok, the places weren’t exactly designed by Stephane Dupoux or Karim Rashid but they served hot tea, poured some cool drinks and there was some nice music, too. The type of music played in this kind of waiting rooms and cocktail bars was the lounge music of those days, oldies-but-goldies piano tunes – often with a touch of Swing.
Prohibition forced the consumption of alcohol into private clubs and gave birth to an entirely new culture of secret underground lounges.

The late Fifties and the swinging Sixties were the golden age of “lounging”. People wanted a break from their 9-to-5 stress and the gastronomical wasteland of the TV dinner, so they escaped to their favorite lounge and lead an imagined glamorous & libertine lifestyle in their oasis of choice, even if it was only for a couple of hours.
While some of the lounge music was truly slow, there was lot of uptempo too: music from movies or TV shows, and various exotic genres such as Bossa Nova, Cha-Cha-Cha & Mambo. Lounges became popular sites for socializing and spending a lazy afternoon or evening out.

In the late 1980’s, a lounge revival takes off. US bars & clubs are decorated with tiki masks, fish nets, palms & other kitsch & camp goodies. TV’s are stacked on top of each other like modern totem poles, each screen silently showing fifties lounge heroes as Sinatra (Frank or Nancy), Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Sam Butera, Wayne Newton & Co. Las Vegas classics flow smoothly through jazz standards & exotic grooves.

Halfway the Nineties, Europe took over and set new trends. The current way of bundling music with design can be traced back to Paris, with the debuts of the original Buddha Bar and Hôtel Costes. The rest of the world would follow fast…

Lounges have changed a lot from the Fifties to the present. Every lounge is different, but every lounge creates its own sense of lounge-ness. To cite marketing expert Shane Keller: “It’s a way of being. It is about flowing through life just like the music flows and floats into our feelings and emotions. It is about being with your friends and sharing moments of pleasure”.

The artworks to illustrate this post are “Nightlife Remixes” by “Coke Art Gallery” of vintage Coca-Cola advertising (1920-1960).
All Rights Reserved. © The Coca-Cola Company.

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