Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera is a 350 person restaurant, bar and courtyard in the heart of bustling Dubai, with direct views of the Burj Khalifa and is the only restaurant in the newly opened Dubai Opera space.
The venue includes Raw bar, Fire bar, brasserie, main bar, dining areas, private dining, chefs table, external bar and courtyard and dining areas.
The restaurant was inspired by the highly irregular shape and scale of the building and tenancy and drew upon Alexander &CO’s personal interest in 20th-century classic design and architecture combined with the oceanic Australian/New Zealand influences of Sean Connolly’s cooking. Each design element within the venue explores ideas of the sea, from the oyster with its combination of smooth sensual surfaces and textured outer surfaces, to the oceanic tones and colours of corals and pearlescent hues.
Vaulted ceiling tiles which reference both the inside of an oyster and the iconic geometries of the Sydney Opera House are jewel like and reflective.
The main spaces are focused upon the central cocktail Pearl Bar, constructed from grey leather, walnut timber and yellow marble. The grey marble banquettes with their pink leather are reminders of the delicate contrasts of the ocean corals and sea creatures while the raw and fire bars remind us of the outer edges of blackened seashells.
In keeping with the Antipodean theme, Jacqui Fink, an international pioneer of “extreme knitting” created a custom 6m high Merino Wool hanging artwork (one of her largest commissions to date) as a nod to the tentacles of sea creatures, delicate and mystical.
Similarly, local Sydney artist Tracey Deep, known for her floral installations using found and native flora created three hanging sculptures curated to the oceanic vision. The custom hand made woollen carpet with its blue dappled tones is a depiction of the ocean waters and was custom designed by Alexander &CO for this venue.
In keeping with the 20th-century design inspirations, the classic Serge Mouille lighting has been custom-made in curving white enamel steel and brass finishes. Similarly, cult 20th-century furniture originals are combined in greens, greys, blues and whites with natural walnut timbers. They are sculptural and feminine and add significant value to the interest of the overall aesthetic.
Client name: Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera
Location: Dubai, UAE
Principal Architect: Alexander &CO. The team included Jeremy Bull, Sam Birtles, Scott Williams and Anna Trefely.
Interior Design Team: Alexander &CO. The team included Jay Sethasastrakorn, Rouda Taouk and Sophie Harris.
Design Partner: Tribe Studio. The team included Hannah Tribe, Jeff Grant, Javier Saiz and Miriam Green
Project End Date— August 2017
Photographer — Brooke Holm
About Alexander &CO.
Alexander &CO is a multidisciplinary design practice with a global reach.
Their capabilities span a broad range of typological sectors where they work in all facets of spatial and brand design. Their technical skill base includes Architecture, Interior Design, Project Management, Styling, Branding and Master Planning.
At the core of Alexander &CO's DNA is the ambition to create timeless and market leading design. The studio provides a client journey that is focused on highly effective relationships and outcomes. Their people and culture are recognised by an empathic, social and team focused communication.