Belcanto, located within the prestigious Dubai Opera House, invites diners to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of an authentic Italian opera. This space was not meant to take the focus away from the Opera, but rather to enhance the overall experience. Belcanto, a recent luxury project by Bishop Design, hosts a variety of events and performances. Giacomo Lombardi is a renowned Italian chef whose culinary style represents an intriguing combination of traditional Italian cuisine and innovative serving techniques; therefore, it is critical that the venue’s design embodies the food.

The ideology of the project was to create an unparalleled dining experience paying homage to the heritage and local demographic, through interior styling and visual identity. The interiors represent a classical royal Italian Opera House, coupled with offset theatrical ornamentation. These sentiments are synergised and translated throughout the venue, remaining finely tuned against a disruptive sense of being.

An innovative aspect was incorporating an outdoor pavilion, sheltered by a vibrant lighting arrangement and an extensive range of foliage embodying that of a serene garden paradise. Due to the holistic nature of Belcanto, both indoor and outdoor areas have their individual, highly-demanding requirements which had to be combined within the spatial distribution and united into a harmonious place.

In the main restaurant the focal point of the room, being the stage, is backed with panelled wall cladding with whimsical accessories appearing throughout adding a playful tone, whilst artisanal details effortlessly enhance the stone columns, all of which add to the endless visual intrigue that surrounds the pianoforte.
The materials that we worked with played a pivotal part for the venue demeanor. The design process involved a lot of layering, both mentally and creatively as well as physically in the interior elements and finishes.

In keeping with its operatic environs Belcanto, which translates to “Beautiful Song”, remains in line with the elegance and sophistication of both original and local demographics. A classic Italian love affair, between the cuisine and the entertainment, it was imperative that the design complimented all aspects. From dim lighting, scarlet red accents and colourful counterparts, all align with one another, alluding to desire and excitement within the space, seducing guests into an unforgettable experience.

As diners exit the lift on the 3rd floor, the experience begins. Layered fabrics mimic stage curtains drape at the entrance passageway providing guests with a sneak preview of what is in store. As they continue through to the main dining area, one is in awe of the sheer, grand opulence of the space. Detailed upholstered furnishings make up the faintly lit bar, where guests can lounge and explore the selection of liquor offerings as opposed to the more formal dining setting. Unconventionally, luxurious chandeliers are suspended above the bar luring guests to look up at the monochromatic ceiling details which in turn leads all eyes to the stage. The intelligent use of lighting ensures the stage always remains the focal point while not compromising on functionality.

When considering the layout of this venue, it was extremely important that it embodies that of an opera, leading to the tables and banquette seating to be placed in an arching formation, just like the seating you would find in the opera. A bold, dynamic carpet encapsulates guests in the exclusivity and luxurious elements of the space.

As one enters the external area of the venue, you are welcomed with lush vegetation and greenery. Sophisticated use of wood and decorative tiles paired with differing elevations create an elaborate setting. Relatively neutral furnishings give room for colour to pop through the fabrics and bar cladding. Polished floor tiles present themselves around the bar, in reflection with the interior. These same details unify the two spaces, creating one harmonious venue.

The exterior lounge area is exclusively located above both bars for those who prefer al fresco dining. Surrounded by intricate balustrade details, LED light dynamics illuminate the space serving not only functionality purposes but contributing to the colourful ambience. Guests are presented with a 360 bar, wrapped in blue detailed cladding and the same brushed gold accents as the internal space.

Photos: Alex Jeffries Photography Group