BarDeco and Kekeland – Coffee Island – click any image for full size
Coffee Island is a beautifully atmospheric homestead region designed by Dandy Warhloll (terry Fotherington) and Belle des Champs (Bridget Genna). It forms the latest iteration of BarDeco, the music venue and club (see here for more), carrying the name BarDeco & Kekeland – and it is truly an atmospheric place.
Split into three – a primary, sheer-sided island flanked by two smaller isles, one of which has been left to nature – the region sits shrouded in a gathering twilight through which wisps and ripples of mist are creeping. Visitors arrive on a dusty track on the main island, the slender form of an old chapel rising from the end of the track. In the other direction, the path curls south to follow the line of the cliffs, before turning west to cut across the island and again turning at the westward cliffs to turn again to follow them northwards.
South of this track a narrow neck leads to the south side of the island, a bulbous headland where a broken carcass of an old lighthouse sits. This seems to point accusingly towards the shadowy bulk of a ruined farmhouse sitting hunched against a rocky shoulder, gathering the mist about itself forebodingly. A sandy bay sits below the ruined house, but even this has its own warning – the wreck of a trawler lays against the foot of the cliffs.
To replace the fallen lighthouse, a new one stands above the cliffs in the north-west corner of the island, looking westward out over the low hump of one of the accompanying islands while also casting an eye over the beach, which starts against the northern cliffs and runs round much of the east side of the island. An old bridge, in need of some repair reaches out over sand and sea from the beach, almost reaching the sands of the second of the smaller islands, which is home to a little coffee shop sitting on its rugged shoulders.
The main islands’ curving beach is reached via a switch back path which descends from the northern end of the track circling the island. And old warehouse, filled with an artist’s bric-a-brac sits overlooking the path down to the beach, a barbed wire fence discouraging the local sheep from wandering too close. This warehouse / studio brings visitors almost full circle, standing as it does a short distance from the chapel and the landing point. But this is far from all there is to be discovered here.
Walk along the path to the chapel, and you’ll find that it is not all it appears to be. Just inside the doorway, and surrounded on three sides by undergrowth which almost looks like it is trying to take over the place, is a set of steps leading down. Follow these, and you’ll find the club mentioned in the region’s description.
This is, quite frankly, beautifully done, with tall pillars of brick supporting a high ceiling, a frontage of old, weathered buildings offering a view out over a terrace and secluded bay. The bar offers a homely if roughshod welcome while a dance area sit at the foot of the steps leading down from the chapel. Two side rooms off of this offer a taste of shoddy-chic where patrons can relax. Almost entirely invisible from the ground above, with atmosphere added by the passing trawler off-shore passing ghost-like in the haze, the club area is an exquisite outpouring of imaginative design.
In fact, the entire region is an exquisite design. While the default environment settings add considerable atmosphere – as used in fur of the images here – the land really does lend itself to a wide range of windlight settings and different times of day, making it perfect for photographers. There are also several spots for sitting and passing the time – not just in the bar, but up along the path running around the islands and over at the coffee-house, making it the kind of place people may want to sit and enjoy, even if they don’t fancy mingling with those down in the club.
Once again, a rewarding visit, and our thanks to Dandy and Belle for continuing to share their vision with us.
- BarDeco and Kekeland (Coffee Island, rated; Moderate)