Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, London
Located in the trendy and artistic heart of London, Nobu Hotel Shoreditch is housed in a striking architectural building. Features Editor Tonje Odegard went to see if the interiors matched…
As you walk down Great Eastern Street and are about to turn into Willow Street, where the Nobu Hotel Shoreditch is located, the intriguing building emerges in front of you. Featuring overhanging floor slabs and cantilevered steel beams forming a frayed edge, the distinctly industrial building perfectly matches the image and architectural history of East London. I’m bursting with curiosity as I step through the grand brass doors and into the sophisticated reception.
Nobu Hotel Shoreditch marks the Robert De Niro-founded luxury brand’s first European venture and has been hot in the press for years. Alongside co-founders Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper, the trio has opened several hotels worldwide with even more to come.
The construction and completion of the five-star hotel was due to the combined works of architects Rod Arad Architects and Ben Adams Architects, and interior designers Studio Mica and Studio PCH. The 150-key hotel opened in July last year, but has had the addition of a fitness and wellness area since, and a rooftop bar (of course) is to appear on the scene later this year.
The exterior of the hotel was originally developed by Ron Arad Architects, who created the overhanging slab scheme that also included the landscaped garden below. When Ben Adams Architects took over the project in 2013, they further developed the design while completing Rod Arad’s original plans. The expressive look of the hotel is therefore due to the collective efforts of both companies.
The award-winning Ron Arad has long experimented with materials and pushed the boundaries of what is possible, which Nobu Shoreditch definitively reflects. Their design drew on the vibrant cultural and industrial context of the local area. An important element of their design was the pocket garden that works as a focal point and far-reaching visual anchor. The façade truly is impressive – raw, yet refined, simple yet considered.
The highlight of the property though, is the interaction of the exterior with the interiors. The dynamic concrete structures of the façade are fully revealed in the interiors of the seven suites, and integrated into the design. There is a clear marriage in the narratives of the exterior and interior – the simple palette of concrete, bronze, timber and glass with warm, textured tiles.
As you enter the hotel, you are met by bold, dark and masculine interiors accented by gold and grey. Rectangular shapes maintain an elegant and sophisticated look, while navy seating and warm lighting create an inviting and relaxing atmosphere. Scatters of colour livens the place up and makes it more intimate. A focal point for the lobby lounge is the feature wall made from an eclectic mix of reclaimed, handmade tiles.
According to Studio Mica, the material palette for the public areas was purposefully diverse, based on the essence of natural materials. It is a curated collection of timbers, dark toned stone and heavily woven textiles in natural tones and shades of ai-zome blue and juxtaposed against robust surfaces of patinated metal.
Studio Mica has attempted to achieve a balance between the senses; a visual impression of tactile surfaces that would resonate with the food, drink and atmosphere of the Nobu environment. As local designers, it was important for Studio Mica that Shoreditch’s cultural integrity was reflected in the design process, and they thrived to express the constant process of change in the area.
Each guestroom is an intimate space, but exudes elegance and sophistication in a stylish, industrial wrapping. Timeless, yet contemporary, the rooms feature black joinery details juxtaposed by refined, exposed concrete of the structure and soft textiles – this appeals to the senses as well as being visually interesting. The warehouse look has been polished to ensure a more luxurious feel.
My favourite elements are the quirky lighting installations –ball-shaped pendant lights that hang in the corners of the room and are connected to each other by a metal wire. I also love the sliding walls in front of the windows, one digitally printed with a rustic, tainted concrete look, and one with white-painted wooden blinds, so you can personally help determine both the lighting ambiance and the level of privacy in the room.
Hackney-based artist Sichi was commissioned to produce art installations in all rooms, which represent the hotel’s location and its connection to Japanese cultural heritage. The series of original paintings is titled ‘Taizu’, which translates from Japanese as ‘stay’, directly relating to residing in a hotel.
The minimalist white bathrooms are accented with custom brass ceramic basins and a gorgeous walk-in rain shower.
Each of the seven suites has been uniquely designed to embrace the property’s distinctive architecture as well as Japanese aesthetic subtitles. Overlooking the courtyard and pocket garden, each suite has its own balcony.
The exclusive Nobu Suite is the largest suite and features no less than two private balconies, a dining area, a lounge area and a bathtub.
Drinking and dining
The Nobu brand is perhaps first and foremost known for their many F&B outlets across the globe, and the amazing interior design within them. Studio PCH has been in charge of the interiors for a number of Nobu’s bars and restaurants, also the one in Shoreditch, and had a vision to foster a vibrant space for eclectic groups of people to gather as one community. Aiming to support the continuing transformation of the incredibly artistic neighbourhood of East London while maintaining the Japanese influences that is central to the Nobu brand, Studio PCH has used natural wood tones, which traditionally feature in Japanese architecture and design. Poured concrete wall panels and bronze- finished metal accents have also been applied to continue the use of pure metals on the exterior.
Bringing their 20+ years of experience creating iconic dining destinations, Nobu has brought the same visions into their hotels, and Nobu Shoreditch is no different. Creating a dynamic, yet classic energy, the Nobu Restaurant Bar seats a total of 240 and has a sushi counter seating 10 and a lounge and bar area seating 60. The vast window allows abundance of natural light and so does the restaurant’s five-metre tall glass doors leading out to the hotel’s charming courtyard, split into four level terraces, which seats a further 80.
Throughout the restaurant there is a palette of rich oak timber, cut into varied grain patterns (solid veneer and crown), whose sleek wooden finish creates a cool and contemporary look, but that radiates elegance and quality at the same time.
Nobu Shoreditch aims to be a captivating, unique escape that perfectly balances luxury, fun, craft and theatre. Thriving off the creative and artistic spirit of the area, the hotel aspires to combine the vibrancy of East London with the relaxed yet exclusive ethos of the Nobu brand. I think the hotel has been fairly successful – the stylish interiors are undoubtedly trendy, urban and industrial, reflecting Shoreditch’s factory heritage perfectly, but there are distinctive luxurious elements that elevates the hotel to ensure a five-star experience. There is a lot of competition for East London hotels, and I would say Nobu is one of the better ones.