Nobu’s new London flagship hotel and restaurant is a feast of vivid colour and a Japanese sensibility thanks to David Collins Studio and Make Architects
It has been a mainstay of London’s dining scene for over 15 years, so when Nobu on Berkeley Street relocated to its new home in Marylebone, it made sense that in wanting to retain the original restaurant’s look and feel, the team once again called on David Collins Studio for the design. “After all”, says Simon Rawlings, the Studio’s creative director, “it’s about the relocation, rather than a reinvention.”
Perched on the northwestern corner of leafy Portman Square, the flagship restaurant, housed inside the brand’s new London hotel – its second following an opening in Shoreditch a few years ago – is indeed an updated version of the original, taking its cues from Nobu’s Japanese aesthetic, but with a strong dose of the Studio’s signature colour, texture and detail revealed through bespoke pendant lighting by Dernier & Hamlyn and a dark timber palette boosted by bright yellow chairs and banquettes by London-based Edelman Leather.
Also behind the rest of the hotel’s public spaces the designers, who were keen for these areas to be just as enticing as the restaurant, worked hard to create intimate pockets inspired by the greenery of Portman Square. “We were tasked with creating a destination for locals as well as guests,” explains Lewis Taylor, design director at the Studio. “It was important to make sure that the rest of the public areas were accessible and comfortable…That they didn’t feel like transitional spaces.” And so, taking centre stage in the soaring light-filled lobby is a hanging five-metre kinetic metal sculpture by artist Ivan Black. This is complemented by simple fretwork timber panels, orange silk wallpaper and softly curved furnishings, which continue through to the cosy lobby lounge, where a bold green and aubergine colour scheme is enhanced by brass accents and low-level lighting.
Nobu Bar, meanwhile, is a richer, darker, indigo-drenched space, featuring raku-cracked ceramic tiles by French craftswoman Fabienne L’Hostis alongside rough sawn and polished timbers. “Whether it’s coffee in the lobby, lunch at the restaurant or late-night cocktails in the bar, I really think each space has its own personality while having a common thread of design detail,” says Rawlings.
Whether it’s coffee in the lobby, lunch at the restaurant or late-night cocktails in the bar, I really think each space has its own personality while having a common thread of design detail
Upstairs, the 249 guestrooms and suites are the work of Make Architects, who has continued with the hotel’s warm Japanese aesthetic, layering a minimal backdrop of clean lines and low-key timbers with striking wall prints, bespoke lighting and intricate joinery. In other words, the ideal retreat after an evening spent feasting on dishes such as the fresh yellowtail topped with jalapeños, coriander and drizzled with yuzu sauce; sashimi salad with the signature soy and onion-based Matsuhisa dressing; and of course the signature black cod in miso.