Rock The City
Hard Rock Cafe® Yerevan will open in an iconic building
that is almost the same age as the Hard Rock® brand.
Siranush Piloyan
Author
The signature yellow color, blended with a brownish tint of orange and white, will soon be visible to passers-by on Yerevan's Pushkin Street. Hard Rock Cafe® is celebrating its 51-st anniversary with the opening of a new location in Yerevan. What a compliment to the city, the people, and the half-century-old historical edifice.
The story behind HRC goes back to 1971, when two young men in their 20s, Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, opened the world's first rock and roll cafe in Old Park Lane in Mayfair, London.
They wanted a cafe that embraced everyone, whatever their background, to unify a world, where "bankers did not hang out with bakers" T .

There have been performances by Paul McCartney, Prince, Janet Jackson, Sting, Elton John, George Harrison, and Peter Gabriel, among others.

Throughout its existence, Hard Rock Cafe's® guiding service concept has been "Love All-Serve All" T . HRC has always been a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of age, gender, or social class. The unconditional welcome hand extended by Tigrett and Morton was the first, and it remains as crucial to Hard Rock's present and future as it was to its beginnings.

The 240th Hard Rock Cafe® has been opened in Yerevan, in one of the world's oldest inhabited cities. While 1000 sq. m. the 16-ribbed dome masterpiece will be ready for guests, we reached out to the project's coordinators to find out some details before the grand opening.
Design & Architecture: overcoming challenges
The project is carried out by two architectural firms. The first is HiS Company, which has been working with HRC® International for almost a decade, and the second one is Storaket, a local Armenian company that assists with the project's ins and outs by ensuring that it satisfies all of the established requirements.

HiS - 'Hrynkiewicz & Sons Architects' began their relationship with Hard Rock Cafe® in 2013 when they were commissioned to build a Hard Rock Cafe® in Gdansk, Poland. Despite the fact that the initial project was fraught with difficulties, the crew was able to complete the building on time, and the venue opened to the public in July 2014. Contracts for new overseas locations were quickly signed. HRC Yerevan is the next big project.
"For HRC, the local context is important. EveryHard Rock Cafe® is supposed to be one-of-a-kind and represent the culture and history of the area. We must use design to respect and reflect current values, and the cultural environment always offers us an opportunity to do so"
Jakub Hrynkiewicz
Director of HiS Company
Hard Rock Cafe® standards, a set of regulations and requirements that any new Hard Rock Cafe® must meet worldwide, independent of its location on the map, were adopted in Yerevan, as they were everywhere else in the world. This applies to every component of the project, including culinary equipment, audio sound quality, chair comfort, lighting conditions, and all other design elements. This does not limit the creative ingenuity of the team as Jakub added, but it does assure that no one is allowed to develop and establish a Hard Rock Cafe that is only halfway decent.
Let's take it a step further and look at the major roadblocks in the Yerevan project.

"I have been in Yerevan since 1997, and ever since the concerts were held frequently, that is to say, the neighborhood was pretty familiar with the purpose of the structure," says Meroujan, the head of Storaket. "Initially, we were faced with two key tasks: first, seismic monitoring. In addition, the House of Journalists and an apartment tower were annexed, so sound insulation was critical. It can be difficult to design an existing structure with such dense engineering solutions as HRC."

The building has been unoccupied for a long time. It also took a lot of work to adapt it for Hard Rock Cafe® Yerevan because it had previously been utilized for other purposes. It's worth noting that the first-ever jazz hall in independent Armenia opened in 1991 in the lobby of the current structure by Arthur Elbakyan. To adapt the building to be suited for Hard Rock Cafe® Yerevan, it was necessary to add two completely new sets of stairs, install food lifts, and make numerous other changes.

In this regard the director of HRC® Yerevan, Arsen Hovhannisyan mentions, "We had to replace the elevator, but we'll buy a special machine, which will allow disabled people to enter the main floor. In fact, it's very important for us to do our best to provide the best service and comfort to people with special needs."
No Hard Rock Cafe® would be complete without HRC® Shop and Memorabilia.

The first one serves as the entry to the hall, where you may enrich your collection with logo-emblazoned merchandise.

One of the restaurant's major draws is its collection of music memorabilia, where visitors can witness legendary instruments, costumes, and handwritten lyrics from music's top stars from the past and present on the walls of each site. Once the cafe is open in Yerevan, the one in here will be brought out.

Aside from that, the search for an Armenian artist to design a photo zone with Armenian cultural elements has begun, and it may soon become one of the cafe's most popular spots.
Hard Rock Cafe® is uniquely distinctive, according to Stephanie Clift, Director of Design & Construction, and seeks to celebrate individuals and places. Take inspiration from the location, city, region, or country, but do so in a modern way.

She gives an example of their work, in which the cafe was located in a football stadium in Ribeiro Preto, and the design elements were inspired by sports. They celebrated this place in a mountain resort by combining natural wood and stone in such a contemporary approach. Alternatively, they may have established a beach club on the Maldives' beach. And there were other instances where you were at a historical site and the juxtaposition was stunning.
The building in Yerevan has distinctive architecture because it is circular and has a peaked top. The interior volume has a lot of height to open up the room. A handcrafted cymbal chandelier spiraling up to the pinnacle with LED lights will add to the verticality.
Stephanie Clift
Director Design & Construction Franchise Cafes
Hard Rock International
LIGHTING MATTERS
"Silence is the best music. Nature is the perfect architect. If that's the case, light is the ideal tool for shaping space." Expolight's Founder and Art Director, Nikolay Kabluka

Expolight is an international lighting firm based in Ukraine that was created in 2000. The team had never worked with Hard Rock Cafe® before. Nikolay was kind enough to share his thoughts on the project with us mentioning that HRC is unique in that the memorabilia is highlighted, and the entire lighting was done around items belonging to various artists while maintaining a friendly ambiance. Good lighting design is also important for appetite.

The customer should enjoy the cuisine, which should be aesthetically highlighted with contrast. Despite the fact that the House of Journalists' ceiling is high, the lights were chosen to be relatively small. These ones fall from a height of 5 meters and do not extend beyond the table's diameter.
KEEPING THE SOUND INDOOR
Great precautions were made to soundproof the building due to the closeness of residential structures and to ensure that Hard Rock Cafe® becomes an essential part of the neighborhood and a courteous neighbor. Specialized acoustic tests were conducted, and acoustical treatment for the interior was designed based on the results. Additional layers of soundproofing materials are being built, new windows with extremely high soundproofing specifications are being fitted, and other technical solutions are being implemented to prevent not just excessive noise but also vibration transmission to nearby structures.

There were two concerns to address in terms of acoustics: improving the sound quality indoors and preventing sound from leaving the building

Mineral wool was extensively utilized to resolve these two issues. Each wall has been enlarged by at least 10-15 cm, i.e., the area has been reduced, in order for the acoustics to conform to the sound data of the concert. There were some design and furnishing issues as a result, but they were all resolved successfully.

This will reduce sound reverberation and improve the sound quality even further. The listening experience will be one of the reasons to come.

Although it's likely Tigrett and Morton had great aspirations for their innovative restaurant idea, neither could have predicted the Hard Rock Cafes'®' success. With 290 seats to greet visitors, Yerevan HRC will soon join this international chain family, and we'll be observing the process of how it mixes and melts with the local culture.


~

The story was produced in cooperation with
The Hard Rock® Cafe Yerevan.