Stepping away from the ubiquitous themed Japanese restaurant, the restaurateur team of Markus Thesleff and Ramzy Abdul Majeed decided to create a new contemporary design and dining language at their flagship OKKU, located in the Monarch Hotel, Dubai. The duo employed the expertise of locally based LW Design (LWD), who faced a daunting design challenge from the outset.
The tall and narrow space needed to accommodate 200 seats, and supporting a mezzanine from the floor slab was not an option. LWD creative partner Jesper Godsk and his team had to face a big question: How does one add 50 percent more seating than a space can hold? The firm looked upwards instead. “Suspending two dining decks from the ceiling slab gave another dimension to the restaurant, because now you have three different levels,” says Godsk, “and I think the space works really nicely.”
Design challenges aside, the end result is nothing short of spectacular. Even though there is no natural daylight streaming into the space, Godsk and his team managed to create a visually engaging environment, even for lunch. There is a rational, logical hierarchy in the spaces. “The client envisioned a very nice, sexy entrance, which would flow into the bar, and then lead into the restaurant,” Godsk explains, adding that a natural drop in the restaurant’s floor slab allows diners to sit lower than the people in the hotel lobby.
Expertly combined rosewood and sandstone offset the overall dark interiors and contribute to the intimate mood. These warm materials also offer the perfect foil to the imposing 26-foot-long long jellyfish aquarium behind the bar and the dramatic fiber optic light curtain that presides over the space and leads guests from the entrance to their seats. “It’s all about glamour and being seen before you are seated,” Godsk says.
Source: Hospitality Design