© I.F.S.E. Space Creative Lab / Photography: Shi Zheng

We’ve said it before: Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are no longer the exclusive domains of innovative lifestyle. As China‘s middle class continues to expand – mind you, it’s expected to rise to 550 million people by 2020 – that certain level of affluence that comes with it has already started to transform the nation’s second and third-tier cities. The city of Hangzhou, situated just a two-hour drive southwest of Shanghai, is a perfect example. A fast-growing hub of hi-tech, it’s rife with stores, restaurants and bars that cater to a new generation of savvy movers and shakers, and one of their preferred spots for nocturnal debauchery is the newly opened COS.MOS 29.

Designed by I.F.S.E. Space Creative Lab, the entire façade is clad in black mesh panels, and signals the kind of exclusivity attainable only for the happy few. A horizontal cut-out allows passers-by to steel peaks from an interior that’s dominated by concrete. The venue measures 360 sqm. (3,875 sq.ft.), spread over a ground floor space and a mezzanine floor. The entrance and hallway are semi-concealed by layering of concrete, but once inside, visitors come across a modest dance floor, and see immediately eye to eye with the DJ who has a fixed spot situated in the corner on a platform.

Integrated into the back wall is a light installation that responds to any given beat. Directly opposite the bar beckons. Made of concrete and stretching all the way to the back, it features a metal backdrop and canopy dipped in a contrasting deep red hue. The bar comes with a series of stools, but also offers tables and sofas to accommodate larger groups. Up on the mezzanine floor, COS.MOS 29‘s V.I.P. area can be found, and obviously, the setting accordingly adapts with and increased sense of plushness, captured by glass bar and stools dipped in gold, an elongated bench and sofas, and a backlit grid that further softens the austerity of the venue’s concrete shell. Location: COS.MOS 29, 123-2 Xueyuan Lu (Xihu).

© I.F.S.E. Space Creative Lab / Photography: Shi Zheng