Architect Manuel Clavel Rojo has created a space that fuses Venetian and Japanese influences at All'Onda, a restaurant located in Emerald Palace Kempinski Hotel and Resort located on The Palm Dubai.
Rojo is the principal architect and founder of Clavel Arquitectos. The company works on several international projects and has offices in Spain, Miami and Dubai.
The design of All'Onda has been inspired by the restaurant’s unique dining concept that combines Venetian and Japanese culinary traditions.
“All’Onda has a very sophisticated concept,” says Rojo. “The idea of mixing Italian and Japanese influences sounds very unusual but once you explore it, you find that it is totally coherent as there are many cultural connections between the East and West through Venice.”
Clavel Arquitectos took steps to ensure that the design flows seamlessly thoughtout the space. “We avoided the idea of patchwork and tried to tell a consistent story full of surprises and secrets,” remarks Rojo.
The design uses water as one of the main conceptual connections. “It was through the seas that these far cultures connected, so it made sense for us to develop a story where water was the guiding, but invisible thread,” says Rojo
Besides water, the gondola, a well-known symbol of Venice, is a recurring theme of design throughout the restaurant. A gigantic forcola is located on the right of the restaurant’s entrance, while oars cover the walls. “As many as 400 real oars have been used in the design,” remarks Rojo.
Almond-shaped lighting installations on the ceiling have been covered with wicker nests to look like boats.
“Handmade wickers work very well in filtering and diffusing the light in a warm, traditional and organic way.”
Some of the other materials used in the design process are concrete, wood, aluminum, and mirrored sheets
For instance, the design of the central cocktail bar uses both mirrored sheets and aluminium.
“The ceiling of the central cocktail bar has Japanese letters in mirrored metal sheet, while the circular wall has been covered with textured aluminium that has been slightly deformed to create the effect of being in the stomach of a whale or a dragon,” remarks Rojo.The use of contradictory elements in the design process has led to the creation of a sophisticated space.
“Our design has to put together very contradictory elements that, once together, make sense, just like the food. The layout merges several different spaces that are all cosy to varying levels. Anyone visiting the restaurant, will find one spot different from another. This makes All'Onda a space to discover,” comments Rojo.
The tables have been designed to suit both a contemporary and oriental presentation. Large white prints of food cover the table’s black surfaces.
“The tables have graphics cut food. The intricate drawings in black and white lend it a kind of oriental look,” says Rojo.
The outdoor space reflects the themes of the indoors. “For the outdoors, we wanted to create a space in which furniture had the texture of a fish and a dragon at the same time. Something surreal, weird from a certain perspective, but also very welcoming once seated.”
Lighting has played a very prominent role in the design. Gold lighting has been used extensively to lend warmth to the space.
“We wanted to create an innovative space that is inspired by the future, but at the same time is warm, intimate and comfortable,” says Rojo.
Besides the boat-like lights above the bar counter, there is a big lamp in the cocktail area that looks a like a fish’s jaw.
“Warmth and intimacy were objectives, but we also wanted energy and crispness. That’s why the light and the reflections in the cocktail bar are different to the rest of the spaces,” comments Rojo.