If you’ve ever been to Shanghai, chances are you’ve heard of The Cut – a rooftop on top of the IAPM mall with a breathtaking view of the city’s skyscrapers and featured in the Louis Vuitton Guide 2019 as one of the best places to enjoy top DJ’s in town.
For this project, our Shanghai team worked closely with the interior designers from NE-ON and STUDIO FDA, to integrate a perfect acoustic design and control the reverberation time in the various areas of the Bar.
Find below an interview we conducted with Clement Beurais (Music Director) & Marc-Antoine Malia (Managing Director, now Nightlife GM at the Shanghai EDITION), a year after The Cut renovation, in order to shed light on the project’s development, how it was carried out and the acoustic results after the opening.
How Would You Describe the Cut’s Style Nowadays?
The Cut Rooftop is a gastro-lounge, however, I prefer describing it simply as a restaurant, a bar, and a dancing bar, as each one of us finds what they want here. Some customers only come here for dancing parties, while others come here for afternoon tea or brunches. Others enjoy our after-work event and of course many like the restaurant. It’s a multi-concept, an all-day-dining with music that attracts a different customer base over time.
The concept of The Cut Rooftop must be very strong, as we are not accessible from the street, we are on the “rooftop” of one of the most prestigious commercial malls in Shanghai (IAPM). We are a destination, people come here for us, they do not stumble upon us by chance.
Nonetheless, as co-developer of this concept and musical director, I am much more attached to the part that starts around 8 pm. Our idea is to be the “before-party” of Shanghai. The place where people stay until 1 or 2 am, before going out clubbing (or going home).
What Was the Epiphany, Leading to the Renovation of Its Design?
The decision to transform the second floor of the steakhouse became naturally inspired by the success of the Afterwork parties on Thursday night, launched by Clement and his friend Thibault. We also had the feeling that Shanghai was in demand for a new type of evening place, with a diversified and complete offer, whether it was for music, drinks, or food. The Cut Rooftop was the opportunity to create a very personal project. Transforming it enabled us to launch a new dynamic.
Before its renovation, The Cut Rooftop was a deserted floor. It was just the extension of The Cut Steak & Fries restaurant located one floor below. It became obvious that for our company V.O.L (which owns Bar Rouge, Mr & Mrs. Bund, and the 3 Star Michelin Restaurant Ultra-Violet), we had to present an ambitious project, to add value to this floor. Shanghai is a very lively city with an infinite amount of restaurants and bars, but in the end, a bar/restaurant concept mixed with a “before-party” with music, didn’t really exist here.
What Are the Reasons Acoustics Became an Integrated Part of the Renovation Project?
The love of music, things well done…. And neighbor complaints! It was the perfect opportunity to work on acoustics.
In addition to that, we are not a club, we could not force badly calibrated music upon a client who came to eat. And vice-versa, we could not make people come for a dancing party with an audio system fit for a lounge bar. We had already chosen a good sound system from Mode Audio. We then understood after discussing with interior designers NE-ON that the quality of a sound system was not enough, we had to combine it with acoustic work. And we were put in touch with Delhom Acoustics.
From there, everything accelerated, and thankfully it wasn’t too late to treat our issues. The earlier we invite an acoustic engineer consultant to work on a project, the better the results.
Once the Works Were Finalized, What Were Your First Impressions Regarding Sound Design?
Tears and goose-bumps! Seriously though, a huge feeling of work well done and happiness. We tend to forget too quickly how listening to music in a good environment makes all the difference. Too often we accept terrible conditions.
I remember a sunny afternoon in June, after the last sound system adjustments, we could finally listen to music for the first time. I think I first put Walk On By – Isaac Hayes. Marc-Antoine and I literally felt chills, goosebumps. The sound felt so pure we thought we were in a home studio. We tried all the genres, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Funk, Electro, Classical… All of them flowed perfectly. We were quite bluffed and reassured as it was the first time for us.
When Clement played Walk On By, we were in comfort and excellence. It was a true revelation, I learned a lot during this project.
Before This Project, Did You Have Any Knowledge of Acoustic Comfort?
I like music, I like good speakers, but acoustics was a world that I did not know. Honestly, we were not clearly conscious about acoustics and acoustic work in a commercial area. In the collective imagination, acoustics is summarized by sticking up egg-boxes on the ceiling…
I always reflect on the comfort of silence when I have the chance to find myself in places of total quietness. We forget how much acoustic comfort is relaxing.
Is Acoustics the Invisible Touch That Optimizes the Comfort Level and the Well-being Inside the Cut?
The well-being of this place is a mix of elements. Acoustics is one of these elements, that’s clear.
Acoustic is part of those aspects that make The Cut Rooftop a unique place in the Shanghai nightlife, a place that people remember, we have our footprint. As I was saying earlier, The Cut Rooftop is a destination. We had to get all the aspects perfectly right (cocktails, dishes, music…) Does everyone realize that the acoustics is good? Maybe not everyone. But it’s a pleasure, an unconscious comfort. It’s one of the rare places in Shanghai where people can talk with no effort, and listen to true music sessions.
How Would You Define Your Collaboration with Delhom Acoustics? Would You Recommend Our Engineering Services to Others?
A true success. Not only is it a pleasure to be working with their team, but the service and professionalism of Delhom Acoustics are also immense. A passionate and dedicated team to acoustic well-being, truly responsible for the success found at The Cut Rooftop after its renovation. Now, it is obvious to me that I will ask for their service for any new project, at the earliest conception stage possible.
Our collaboration was first of all educational. As I said, it’s not a very developed field in restaurants. Delhom Acoustics took the time to explain and sometimes answer 100 times the same questions. What’s more, there was good teamwork between Delhom Acoustics and NE-ON, to use design materials, because looking beyond sound quality, all the materials used are perfectly integrated with the interior decorative concept.
Designed by Margaux Lhermitte (NE-ON 欧笙 ) and Fang d’Anterroches (STUDIO FDA 欧笙建筑)
Photo credits: Derryck Menere
If you enjoyed this article, keep an eye on our next interviews coming soon and discover more about one of our F&B projects in Shanghai: The Luneurs Bakery & Ice Cream Shop.