Why did I choose this place?
I am currently at one of the emblematic buildings of my town, the old Casino and the steel factory’s old residence for single workers , now only used as a bar. I have always been curious about this place as I have been told stories about it. Furthermore, I think the outside of the building along with the garden forms a beautiful combination which is something not common in this town.
What makes me comfortable?
Right in front of me there is a glass display case with plenty of awards, which I think are related to the patrimony of the town. Above the case, I can visualize a black and white painting of the outside garden and some meters to the left I can see the other part of the drawing. The pictures make me somehow melancholic, even though I have never experienced the Casino. The view to the street is also comfortable, because I am alone here for the first time and seeing something familiar like the streetview makes me feel a little more at home. The sounds make me comfortable too: I hear clearly some of the conversations around me, the bartender is speaking through the phone, someone is playing with the slot machine and the girl behind the bar is cleaning some glasses. If I make an effort I can hear some mumbling from the room next door, I hear how the wind is hitting on the trees outside, the cars passing by the street and the sound of church bells.
There is some disruptive element?
At first, the size of the room seemed extremely big. Once I had passed through the principal door I glanced to the bar and it felt like it was kilometers away, even walking to it felt extremely far. In the middle of the room, there is a weird colocated wooden beam, which makes me think that this room used to be separated in two in the 50’s but it was remodeled in the 70’s when the casino was inaugurated, as the wood of the beam looks very old fashioned. Personally, I think the color palette is almost depressing. Is not only that the colors chosen do not go well together, it is also that they have not been taken care of, so they look faded away.
Do you think you’d feel the same way in another space right now?
When I first arrived to the bar I felt like I always do in every other restaurant, kind of uncomfortable because I am not a common client and I do not know those places. But after sitting down and looking around, I have started to feel more connected to this place and its history, so I now know more than I did at the beginning. Therefore, even if its just a bar, I do not think I would feel the same way in other place.
Do you think that the conditions of this space influence its occupants? How?
Now a bar, 50 years ago a Casino and 70 years ago a residence. It is obvious that this building has a long history behind, therefore it means something important to the people who visit it. The walls and ceiling being stuccoed, reminds you of how old the building is. The case and pictures represent all the history of this place. The chimney, straight up from the 50’s, can remind people of the residence. The table next to me is occupied by a couple of old men and because of how they interacted with the barwoman I guess they are common clients. Maybe they used to live here when the factory was still open or they would come here to party in the 70’s, maybe they came to this town a couple years ago and they discovered this bar to play mus. Because of how the space is distributed, there are more private rooms, from where I am seated I can see part of the room next door and they are having a reunion that I think is for anonymous alcoholics as one of them was being congratulated. If my intuition is correct, then this place is a space of trust and hope for someone. The principal room is connected to the garden by three big windows, therefore you can enjoy from the inside the view of the beautiful tree palms or you can see a band playing on stage. The way everything is located gives a feeling of familiarity and reunion, so even if we are just a passing customer, we will feel somehow close to this place.
This text has taught me a different point of view. Before I wouldn’t have analysed a place when I was in there, maybe phisically like what is in there but not emotionally, I wouldn’t have thought about how it made me feel. It has been a couple of days since I read that text and certanly I have analysed most places I have been to.