Photos by Eric Laignel
On Friday November 21st, there was a sake ceremony in celebration of the first Nobu restaurant in the Middle East in Dubai, U.A.E., a continuation of the longtime collaboration between Rockwell Group and Nobu that has evolved into Nobu restaurants all across the world, including New York, Melbourne, Moscow and Hong Kong. The event was in conjunction with the hard opening of Atlantis – The Palm, Dubai, the resort developed by Kerzner International Limited and Istithmar PSJC where Nobu is located. Palm Jumeirah is the celebrated man-made island in the shape of a palm tree in the Persian Gulf, with world class residences, hotels, retail and entertainment.
Nobu Dubai was an evolution of many of the concepts Rockwell Group developed for the flagship Nobu Fifty Seven in New York, such as the emphasis on craftsmanship, natural materials and storytelling. The textures and materials in this particular location were chosen to reflect the finely crafted cuisine and Nobu’s roots in the Japanese countryside, while also celebrating the Dubai beachfront context.
David Rockwell, Founder and CEO of Rockwell Group, explained: “The context, landscape and history of this new restaurant brought about all sorts of new and exciting challenges. We had to think about its location not only in the Middle East, but also in Dubai as the epicenter of an ever-growing and flourishing environment for building, not to mention being more specifically in the larger-than-life Atlantis resort on Palm Jumeirah.”
To anchor the restaurant in its location, Rockwell Group surrounded the restaurant walls and ceilings with large hand-woven curvilinear abaca panels to evoke an environment submerged under an ocean wave, and added accents of traditional Middle Eastern vernacular architecture such as hand-wrought iron columns of flowers, leaves and buds.
The same week as the opening celebration of Atlantis – The Palm and Nobu Dubai, Rockwell Group opened the firm’s second satellite office, Rockwell Group Middle East. It is located in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers district of Dubai, U.A.E., a popular and dynamic waterfront community surrounded by new office, hotel and retail towers, as well as atmospheric bodies of water and green space.