Towards the end of last year I photographed the Nobu Hotel in Shoreditch in association with Project Pictures.
Sitting happily among Shoreditch’s re-purposed warehouses and factories, Nobu Hotel is a bold architectural statement whose marriage of complexity and urban generosity delivers a global destination in the heart of London’s most vibrant neighbourhood.
Occupying a tight urban plot, the hotel follows the street line and accents its strong linear form with horizontal steel and concrete fins at each floor level. A playful, informal grid of board-marked concrete panels and generous full height glazing expresses the range of activities contained within the hotel, dematerialising at its sloping southern end to give sculptural presence to a lush sunken pocket park.
The original architects of the scheme, Ron Arad Architects, were appointed in 2011 to design the new Nobu Hotel in Shoreditch, gaining planning permission in 2012. The original scheme featured overhanging floor slabs, and cantilevered steel beams forming a frayed edge to the east, where a landscaped garden is terraced to provide natural light to the lower restaurant space. Ron Arad Architects left the project in 2013. Ben Adams Architects were appointed by Willow Corp in December 2013 to develop the design and complete the project.
Subtle material cues demarcate the public and private layers of the hotel. Refined bronze portals signal the hotel and restaurant entrances. Overlaying its raw concrete frame, timber, echoing the hotel’s concrete cladding, creative textiles and warm fabrics create an earthy, elegant aesthetic that delivers a variety of moods in its public spaces. This materiality creates a seamless link between the double height bar/restaurant in the hotel basement and the landscaped garden that adjoins this space. Sliding bamboo screens sandwiched within the hotel’s glazed cladding give flexible degrees of privacy to the suites that overlook the sunken garden and the 150 bedrooms occupying its upper floors, while maintaining a strong sense of harmony with the building’s architectural treatment as a whole.