Designer boozing

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Supermodel Eva Herzigova and YBA Gavin Turk make home bars a stylish affair. Annie Deakin talks to Patrick Cox about throwing a cocktail party in style

Art, fashion and furniture merged last week at a charity auction of celebrity home bars. Forget discreet drinks cabinets, the renowned designers let their imagination run wild. God forbid the credit crunch ruin our revelry.

Search for the perfect furniture with The Independent house and home database, powered by mydeco.

Celebrated host David Furnish, partner of Sir Elton John, is the brains behind the cocktail bar extravaganza. Four months ago, Patrick Cox, Theo Fennell, Giles Deacon, Gavin Turk and Eva Herzigova gathered at a Buckinghamshire stately home to each design a bar. Their creations were auctioned off by Edward Rising from Sotheby’s during the Grey Goose Characters and Cocktails gala dinner. Guests, including Lily Allen, Gareth Pugh and David Walliams, sipped Grey Goose vodka mixes while Jefferson Hack took to the DJ booth. The evening raised in excess of £350,000 for the Elton John Aids Foundation at the Grey Goose Characters and Cocktails gala dinner.

I’m partial to throwing a mean drinks party myself; last summer, I invited ten friends to my flat and booked a mixologist who came armed with potent cocktails. It was wild, wonderful and felt fabulously indulgent - the barman built a super slick chrome bar in my sitting room. Since then, my soirées have been somewhat more subdued but friends still raid my drinks cupboard frequently. Instead of classic titles; tempting liquors and whiskies gleam behind the glass panels of my antique writing bureau bookcase. If I was to buy a new drinks cabinet tomorrow, I would be torn between OKA’s Manchu cabinet which features attractive painted Chinese scenes and a frightfully chic white cow-skin bar which sits on crossed stainless steel legs from Graham and Green. Both are available at mydeco.

So how does Furnish plan his raucous yet stunning cocktail parties? “Details, details, details. Beautiful flowers, simple, delicious food and great music. And never underestimate the importance of perfect lighting.”

I caught up with shoe designer Patrick Cox earlier this week: “There is nothing worse than bright lighting - it isn’t flattering and makes the glamorous women want to leave.” For the auction, Cox designed a bar which resembles a DJ booth with coloured lighting. “It’s kind of Vegas, kind of Studio 54. It is chrome with white frosted lights meaning it doesn’t dominate a room when it’s not lit.” But for us hoi polloi, the Gatsby mirrored drinks cabinet from Laura Ashley is decadent on a more realistic level.

Designing furniture is a novel venture for Cox who is more akin to creating shoes for his friends Madonna and Cate Blanchett. “I appreciate the world is going down the toilet at the moment but I really want to get involved in interiors,” says Cox. “I’ve stayed in enough hotels so I really know what works and what doesn’t design-wise.”

The auctioned home bars were all cosmopolitan in their design. Inspired by a recent trip to India, Furnish customised a tuk tuk with burr walnut cocktail bar; it’s fully MOT’d, taxed and UK legal. Fashion designer Giles Deacon restored an old Yorkshire pub bar and covered the surfaces with 253,872 topaz and peach crystals - each applied by hand, taking more than 1,500 hours. Supermodel Eva Herzigova designed a Moroccan-inspired bar installation complete with palm trees and ornamental brass lanterns.

As we all know well, many a romance is born from a cocktail-fuelled evening. Jeweller Theo Fennell played around with the traditional loveseat adding discreet compartments and drawers for the sliding of notes. He rescued antique wall lights from the Savoy Grill refurbishment and re-modelled the bar in black lacquer. Fennell swoons, “It’s a bar where two people fall in love and where the barman plays Cupid. The barman serves the lovers a cocktail and then withdraws to leave the cocktails to do their work and allow the lovers to play with the secrets of the bar.”

Artist Gavin Turk’s paradisiacal "shipwrecked" bar is fabricated out of 800 aluminium cans, sun-bleached beach debris and street rubbish. “This bar is designed to question the idea of value associated with art,” explained Turk. “From far away, it looks beautifully designed but close up, it is clear that it is a washed-up bar made from things that have been thrown away.” His is a lucid message that will resonate well with hosts (like myself) hit by the credit crunch: a home bar needn’t be glam or glitzy.

Stats show that we are drinking more as a result of the financial gloom. As nightclubs charge a premium, home cocktail parties are back in fashion. I’ll drink to that.

Annie Deakin is acting editor of

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday


Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would

Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities