Since opening last summer in Shin-Ōkubo, a neighbourhood in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Bacon’s owner, designer and operator Jae Won Koo has welcomed everything from ambient to K-pop through upholding a no-boundaries music policy. Koo states, "For music direction, we don't have any limitation to genres of music we play at Bacon."
The name, Bacon, is derived from two entities; the first being from Tonchang, his family-run samgyeopsal (barbequed pork belly) restaurant chain, that happens to be located downstairs of the same Tonchang building, and that he is the heir to. The second would be painter Francis Bacon.
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Adding to the fact the area of Ōkubo is dubbed Japan’s Koreatown, the illuminated interior is heavily inspired by Koo’s personal taste in Korean culture, subcultures, and art.
He tells Mixmag Asia, “For example, there is a bathtub display that is inspired by a Korean-style sauna, the entrance is inspired by kitchens, and the DJ booth reflects a Korean street food stall.”
Koo also took design inspiration from Damien Hirst’s 1992 room installation ‘Pharmacy’, hence the use of minimal and transparent materials in a mostly white space that is accentuated by futuristic lighting. “The space also works as a gallery, as the venue is all white. I wanted to make a space where they can show their work and express themselves”, Koo adds.
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A music head himself, Koo says that his goal is for the space to bring people together through music, art and events — “We had an anime-core/hyper-pop event last week. It depends on the organisers of the events because I want Bacon to be the place for people to express themselves without any discrimination. When I am booking the DJs or putting together events, we try to put a spotlight on people making or playing interesting music but not yet known (as they don't get to play at many venues).”
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“I gave the space a little twist so it wouldn't be too obvious at a first glance. I would call my design style maximum minimalism — complicated designs in a simple outer layer.”
For those heading to or are already in Tokyo, expect a relaxed atmosphere when visiting Bacon during the week. For the weekend warriors, expect the venue to present higher frequencies, a diversity of sound and fresh DJs whipping up delights as approved by Mr Koo.
Arun Ramanathan is Mixmag Asia’s Director. Follow him on Instagram.