A sophisticated balance

Nobu Hotel in London by Ron Arad and Ben Adams Architects unites traditional elements of Japanese interior design paired with industrial chic.
by Anna Moldenhauer | 8/26/2019

In the middle of a frantic London neighborhood this hotel offers tranquility though you would hardly suspect so from the outside: The concrete structure of the Nobu Hotel in Shoreditch is crisscrossed by steel girders that extend way out over the building as if it had unraveled at the edges. Only expanses of glass link the steel girders and provide protection against the wind for the balconies on the sides of the building. Ron Arad Architects designed this unusual building, and Ben Adams Architects completed it. It cites the history of the district that was once home to several industries and has today transformed itself into a hip artist district.

Simple sophistication

On entering the 8,400-square-meter-large hotel guests do not encounter sharp edges and open end but rather a quiet retreat reminiscent of Japanese interiors. A calm atmosphere reigns in the lobby that you step through bronze double doors to enter: Dark colors, deep upholstery, untreated concrete and indirect light make visitors automatically slow their step. The material collage of wooden and textile paravents is accentuated by black stained cork with areas and details of shiny brass. “There is a ‘simple sophistication’ within the brand ethos of Nobu Hospitality,” explains Carolynne Shenton from Studio Mica, which is responsible for the interior design. Aside from the subtle material collages the interior designers also created as a continual element an abstract basic pattern that extends in variations from the lobby to the 148 guest rooms.

The omnipresent highlights in metal shades reach a climax in the white bathrooms whose fittings and washbasins were given a golden finish. In contrast to the largely subtle shades used for the hotel’s public areas the guest rooms offer ample daylight combined with light wood and textiles in pale gray and white. Semi-transparent round pendant luminaires provide the lighting. The light interior is outlined by contrasting black contours around the doors, windows and walls. Accessories such as vases or Japanese looking lanterns are emphatically low-key in color and form.

Guests can dine in the seclusion of an open courtyard that offers a four-storey terrace. This restaurant’s snug setting reflects the overall theme of a retreat. Founded by Japanese celebrity chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and film producer Meir Teper, the Nobu Hotel London offers a fascinating mixture of elements from Japanese interior design and the modern concept of a lifestyle hotel. “We wanted to find the perfect balance between artisanship, enjoyment, luxury and show,” says Carolynne Shenton from Studio Mica.

Contact Hotel

10-50 Willow Street
London EC2A 4BH, United Kingdom

Architecture & Design