Nobu, US

November 13, 2013

The Nobu brand is synonymous worldwide with the quality cuisine of Michelin star chef Nobu Matsuhisa and the Hollywood glamour of co-founder Robert De Niro. Though already boasting a global family of over 27 restaurants, often attached to world-class hotels, the group recently took the Nobu experience to a new level with the launch of Nobu Hotel Restaurant and Lounge, the first-ever Nobu Hotel. Located in the Centurion Tower at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the new venture is the product of a multimillion-dollar refurbishment project, with a new identity delivered by interior architects the Rockwell Group.

Rockwell has a longstanding relationship with Nobu and, for each of the venues they have designed, the team has married local influences with a natural, hand crafted approach using textured materials that reflect Nobu’s roots in rural Japan, as well as the freshness and delicacy of the cuisine. For this latest location, Rockwell Group combined Nobu’s signature style with a series of oversized elements that echo the largess and excesses of the Las Vegas landscape. This approach is best reflected in the restaurant itself where massive pendant pieces dominate the dining pods that line the room.

The Nobu restaurant is the largest of the all company’s eateries. Its interior concept was inspired by the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, a design aesthetic of simplicity, evocative transience and beauty in unexpected and natural rawness. The bar and lounge area feature hand-chiseled black Kadapa stone flooring, custom sofas upholstered in Donghia fabric and tables with green marble table tops.

The main dining area features five semi-private dining pods that create unique spaces that are both screening and revealing. Rockwell Group designed giant lighting fixtures, inspired by vibrant Japanese kimonos, to hang in each pod. The pieces are covered in a dark woven Chilewich fabric and are lined with purple and orange suede with a silver zig-zag pattern from Moore and Giles. With a single light source at the centre of each, the pendants provide a protective presence and intimacy within the 342-seat space.

The pendants are complemented by vast cloud-shaped paper lanterns – internally lit by LED and custom created by Molo Designs – that float across the rest of the restaurant space.

Photo: Eric Laignel