Rockwell Group Europe (“RGe”), the Madrid-based architecture and design firm, has completed the redesign of two popular dining destinations at the world famous Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel in Mumbai, India. The Wasabi by Morimoto restaurant and the historic Harbour Bar boast new and contemporary interiors by the talented team led by Diego Gronda, Managing and Creative Director of RGe.
Explaining RGe’s design approach, Diego Gronda states: “We were so excited about the opportunity to redesign Wasabi by Morimoto and the Harbour bar in such an iconic hotel. I have always been fascinated by Indian culture and craftsmanship, both of which were great inspirations for our vision. Our designs blur the boundaries between modern and traditional to create a sophisticated, cosmopolitan environment.”
Since opening in 1903, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel has become internationally renowned as one of the premier hotels in India and the world. The original hotel was commissioned by the famous Indian industrialist Jamsedji Tata and designed by Indian architects.
According to David Rockwell, founder and CEO of Rockwell Group, “This was a fantastic opportunity for Rockwell Group Europe to bring their extensive experience and expertise in hospitality design to this magnificent Indian landmark.”
The Harbour Bar’s rich history inspired RGe’s design, with echoes of its Art Deco legacy seen in the furniture and finishes. Since receiving the first liquor license in India, the Harbour Bar has hosted high-powered meetings and gatherings for decades. Its historical prestige is manifested in the center bar, a solid carved piece of white marble that denotes the potency of a bygone era but boasts a fresh face for Mumbai’s new generation of movers and shakers. The back bar is framed in cut glass and provides an inviting light and glow. The renovation also uncovered two historic windows overlooking the harbor, where RGe installed a raised seating area to juxtapose the vivacity of Apollo Bunder Road outside with the intimacy of a classic bar setting. Art continues to be a distinctive feature of the space, with oversized carved wood pieces at the entrance that define the room with elegant applique elements.
Just upstairs from the Harbour Bar is the Wasabi by Morimoto restaurant, where guests are transported into a ‘magic box’ of red lacquer that wraps all the way from the staircase to the entrance of the restaurant. Traditional Japanese motifs pervade the space, such as an installation of drifting cherry blossoms behind the host stand, and crafted joinery on the restaurant walls. The focal points of activity are the freestanding sushi counter and teppanyaki kitchen defined by a large art piece by Indian artist Sadanand Shirke. The exquisite private dining room for which Wasabi is renowned now centers on a sculptural round table lit by an overscale custom fixture of hammered metal. Eight guests are able to take part in this intimate private dining experience complete with a personal chef and exclusive sushi preparation.
Harbour Bar and Wasabi by Morimoto both opened December 2009.