Managing Partner at Run Rabbit Run, Airell Lam talks to Grounded about what this cocktail bar means to him, and the benefits of collaboration and using space for different purposes, through Run Rabbit Run’s event in collaboration with Grounded, Behind The Red Door.
Talk to us about Run Rabbit Run.
Run Rabbit Run, will always and be forever my first venture into the hospitality industry. It’s a cocktail bar nestled in the outskirts of Poblacion. The building itself used to be a residential home catering to seven families. When we converted the space we wanted Run Rabbit Run to have a unique setting for everyone. Each level was designed and built to bring different emotions to everyone. The ground floor was designed to be a communal bar space, the second designed to be a communal outdoor area that brought greenery to space, and lastly, the third level to be more of a private event space (but we certainly changed the idea of it after 10 Days Of Art). I like to think of the space as my very own little rabbit hole or Narnia closet, speaking abstract - imagine yourself being 'Alice' as you venture off to the unknown to escape the realities of what the outside world can bring to you. Embrace the four walls that surround you on the different levels that it has to offer. Enjoy a tipple or two and you'll really see the place to what it should be.
What about Run Rabbit Run and collaboration in the community?
At Run Rabbit Run, we feel that sharing ideas and collaborating with different individuals in the community is very beneficial. When we collaborate, this helps us widen our perspectives to different target markets that we have never thought of - This enables us the ability to widen our audience. With this, we are able to educate and listen which we think is a major factor to a growing country. Over time, the combined efforts of collaboration creates new opportunites for partnering with others to build strong, safe, healthy and vital communities and a sustainable future together.
Behind The Red Door was Run Rabbit Run’s first exhibition and collaboration with Grounded and Art Fair Philippines 10 Day festival and celebration, 10 Days Of Art. What did you hope to achieve when you collaborated with Grounded and 10 Days of Art? What were your thoughts when you were approached to do this?
Our collaboration with Grounded and 10 Days of Art to create 'Behind The Red Door' was not only to just combine cocktails and art together but more or less to bring different communities together. For Run Rabbit Run, it was never only just going to be a cocktail bar - it is and always be more than that. We use cocktails as a medium to bring people together. So, when Grounded and 10 Days of Art approached us, we were excited on how we could challenge the idea of bringing music, art and cocktails together. With this, we created "Behind The Red Door" - a multi-levelled venue space that brought people from different groups of friends, individuals and communities to explore the different levels of what collaborations can be. Our ground floor stayed as our main cocktail bar, on our second floor, we added a live stage for Bianca and her band to perform in, and on the third floor, well, we converted our old office into a gallery space.
With all these three spaces, we were able to create a harmonious space that highlighted our collaboration. That was always our intention. To bring like-minded individuals in to share the creative energy. To support each other and to be with friends. This is what we achieved and I think we did a really good job with it.
What was the space like before the exhibit?
Our third floor space only acted as our office (which we barely used) just because we always needed to be mobile. So it became a storage space. Thanks to Grounded and 10 Days of Art - we were able to convert that space and make it into a more usable area. Not only just for us, but for our guests as well.
What steps did you take to transform the space to make it exhibition friendly?
Well, we gutted the entire area out. We pulled out all our storage items, rented out an office in Merville and ta-da! We now have a blank space. The eco-wood panels embraced the white walls and the pre-existing studio lights helped highlight our walls. That was it, it really felt like a gallery space. All it needed was a good clean and scrub and we have ourselves a little 30 sqm gallery space.
Can you tell us a bit about the pieces and artists?
We put four artists on the spotlight during 10 Days of Art. Corina Borromeo, Chuck Gonzales, Luis Lopa and Jaggy Agoncillo. And this is what's great about collaboration - all these artists are different from one another. Jaggy introduced street art with spray paint, stencils and collage. Corina showcased her black pen illustrations. Chuckie had his digital art works and last, Luis with his abstract paint skills. All four artists with different strengths came in and really made the gallery "pop" - with different styles and attitude, they were all a pleasure to work with.
What about the door that everyone thought was an art piece?
I wanted to put in a piece that completed the collaboration. A piece by the Rabbit. The "red" door is a staple piece from our home. Take for example, the infamous brand - "Supreme" and they are all about brand placement and brand collaboration. And that's what we wanted to do, we took a piece of our history and showed it to the world through art. That red door used to be a sliding door in the gallery, which we took out to create a much bigger space for the gallery.
What do you feel made the event unique?
There were a lot of people from different friend groups/backgrounds who attended the bar x gallery x gig space. The event was very lively and the art allowed people to introduce themselves and they conversed in their different art topics. The bar gave the guests excitement in trying new and different flavors, and lastly, the gig allowed people to come together and cheer on the band that was performing. That's what made the event unique - the entire venue felt alive and it was definitely thanks to everyone who participated and to everyone who came. If it were not for them, then we wouldn't be doing a Q and A.
What were your highlights from the event?
For me personally, it was just great to see everyone. It was great to see both old and new faces. The entire event brought joy to me knowing that everyone had a great time.