Reach for the Sky

Hailed as the most exclusive square kilometre in the world, the Downtown Burj Dubai area is the prestigious location for the Emaar-owned Burj Dubai Lake Hotel. Befitting the address, the hotel is a cornucopia of subdued elegance and nowhere is this more evident than the art deco inspired Sky Bar on the 63rd floor.

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By  Charlotte Butterfield Published  December 4, 2006

|~|Sky-body1.gif|~||~|Hailed as the most exclusive square kilometre in the world, the Downtown Burj Dubai area is the prestigious location for the Emaar-owned Burj Dubai Lake Hotel. Befitting the address, the hotel is a cornucopia of subdued elegance and nowhere is this more evident than the art deco inspired Sky Bar on the 63rd floor.

The design concept of the Sky Bar is summed up in three words: ‘Elegant, exclusive & exquisite,’ which wa international feels captures the energy of Dubai. The ‘elegant’ refers to the sleek and modern décor, which includes sculptural pieces, dramatic lighting and a constantly-changing graphic backdrop. The ‘exclusive’ tag ensured that inserting glamour and sophistication into the design was imperative to attract an international clientele, whilst the ‘exquisite’ element refers to the excelling of expectations in both design, service and menu.
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Senior designer, Helen Skea, explains that wa wanted to create a space that: “Oozes elegance and is sumptuously comfortable, inspired by the vibrant architecture and outrageous decadence of the 1920’s.” The concept is loosely based around the art deco period, with a contemporary twist. She continues: “We chose art deco as it encompassed all the trademarks of the seductive, decadent lifestyle of that period.”

Heavily inspired by the work and life of the artist Tamara de Lempicka, whose strong use of colour and powerful portraits perfectly sum up the art deco movement, Lempicka is famed for her stylish and sleek androgynous portraits, which fuse cubism with a sense of decadence. Images of either her own paintings, or contemporaneous works of art with a similar power will be projected onto the screens either side of the lift core wall. The artist’s colourful private life influenced the interior too as opulent materials, extravagant architectural details and elegant finishings are evident throughout.

The full height backdrop imagery will be incredibly striking as the graphics will be projected onto black glass, so when the projector is turned off the effect is simply an opaque black glass surface, changing the whole mood of the interior. These screens make the venue perfect for fashion and product launches, where a variety of images can be shown and different moods created. “A fibre optic light curtain surrounds the high gloss black lacquer lift core, giving movement to the space as well as being an interesting and elegant light source,” Skea explains.
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As the lift doors open, the entire front elevation as you enter the bar is full height glazing with a view of the lake, the Bellagio-esque fountains and of course, an uninterrupted view of the iconic Burj Dubai tower.

Before the windows, however, the primary view is over the cast-lit bar feature. Suspended above it is an incredible jet black crystal star burst of chandeliers designed with the famous Czech specialist lighting company ‘Preciosa’. The dramatic light infused central bar is mounted on black Star Galaxy natural granite which gives the bar a floating effect. The reflective quartz in the granite is emphasised by the sparkling lights, giving a mystical quality to the flooring.
Six metre high columns have a strong architectural design, made out of mirror polished stainless steel cladding in bands, which will be down-lit, creating a highly striking feature.
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Three steps lead down to the lower level where the seating is a combination of individual brown leather armchairs and banquette seating, with high curved backs of Macassar Ebony wood veneer and is upholstered in rich velvets. The brown crocodile skin leather for the armchairs is being sourced from Moore & Giles in the US. “The colour palette is very monochromatic, with blacks, silvers and greys, bringing in a rich red wine burgundy for contrast and warmth,” Skea says.

The lower and more private area is carpeted with a textural, carved monochromatic design, while the remainder of the flooring is the black Star Galaxy granite used around the bar.
Fabrics are luxurious and heavy, with the majority of the damasks by Lelievre. Skea has opted for metallic drapes to adorn the windows and chosen Minotti and Poroda to supply some of the furniture, while the rest is custom-designed by wa international. The high-level tables are mirror-polished stainless steel while the smaller sculptural tables have a high gloss black lacquer finish.

The differing combinations of seating was imperative as the space will be a lunchtime venue as well as an evening one, demanding furniture solutions that will work successfully both during day and night. During the daytime swathes of natural light stream through the full height glazing, while after dark the venue transforms into a moody and atmospheric bar. Skea adds: “It will definitely be a destination venue.” ||**||

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