Chasing the dragon

Chasing the dragon

Gilles & Boissier

Harup Morishima, design and development executive, Hakkasan, hired Patrick Gilles, of Gilles & Boissier interior design to create the recently opened Hakkasan restaurant in Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai.

The 152-seat restaurant, which means ‘Hakka’, Chinese dialect and ‘San’, the Japanese form of addressing someone, features a dramatic entrance via a slate stone walkway and has two private dining rooms and Ling Ling lounge in black, gold and white.

New to the chain is an outdoor terrace with an additional 88-seat capacity with a terrace and wooden pavilions surrounded by a wall of lush green vegetation.

Gilles set up his 14-strong team design studio eight years ago with his partner Dorothée Boissier and is based in Paris. He will be working on another Hakkasan venue to open in New York in March and currently has 40 projects on the go.

“We wanted to create a theatre with this design, something to make people feel like they were not in Dubai. A seduction on the senses through its ambience,” he said.

“The venue used to be a gym and we were lucky because there were not the usual challenges regarding technical details such as back of house because Jumeirah Group helped us every step of the way with planning and Government regulations. It was the smoothest project I have ever done and took seven months to complete.”

Morishima joined the Hakkasan in-house design team in 2003 and knows the restaurant owner, Alan Yau who also created the Wagamama and Yauatcha concept.

“The first Hakkasan outside of London was Istanbul but that has since closed because it wasn’t the right market for us. Others include Miami, Abu Dhabi and Mumbai and we are opening one in Doha with Woods Bagot next year,” he said.

“We have three architects and one graphic designer on the Hakkasan in-house design team based in London. It was a natural transition to work with Patrick because Christian who worked on the original venue wasn’t interested in doing them any more so the next step was to work with the next generation of his design team.

“It was an on-going dialogue throughout. We needed external input to push the boundaries of what we wanted to achieve. It keeps us on our toes and we are now planning other concepts. From that dialogue, we wanted to come up with something new like the outdoor garden terrace which we couldn’t do in London because of the changeable weather there.”

Created specifically for the venue is a 16-metre bar made of stainless steel and glass. The dark wood of the tables and screens contrasts with lighter tones of the backlit blue glass and white latticing in the Ling Ling lounge.

The Ling Ling alludes to the old school decadence of Chinoiserie, punctuated with black and gold traditionally drawn panels. Lighting is done by Peter Veale from Firefly Lighting Design.

Most Popular