Dubai-based Studio EM have created a new concept for the internationally renowned and revered chef, Marco Pierre White. Emma Stinson, creative director and co-founder of Studio EM, says that the design for Marco’s New York Italian in the Fairmont Bab Al Bahar in Abu Dhabi is a nod to the bygone era of when going out for dinner was an event rather than a triviality. Marco’s New York Italian Abu Dhabi marks Studio EM’s first collaboration with the newly formed Black and White International and RMAL Hospitality.

It is the first Marco’s New York Italian internationally for renowned chef Marco Pierre White, as such Studio EM wanted to create a truly breathtaking space that combined the sophistication of Italian cuisine and style with the urban, artistic and dynamic vibes of 1920’s New York. Nicola Fahy, head of F&B design for Studio EM oversaw the project and from her view, the key to creating this environment was to get the balance right between formal dining, a relaxed lounge and a welcoming bar area, as a throwback to the days of when customers had an elongated dining experience with drinks before and after dinner rather than a time now, where the experience is driven by quick turnarounds and turning tables over.

Fahy comments “Our aim was to create a family-friendly, spacious design which caters to the different wants of an array of diners. From the new conservatory bar area, to the twelve cover private dining room and the spacious lounge area with sofas and armchairs where guests can have a more casual experience, each area is planned to cater towards the different demographics that a hotel such as The Fairmont Bab Al Bahar attracts, from those on business, family holidays or those in town on a conference or visiting friends and family.”

With Marco’s New York Italian, the sophistication and urban juxtapositions come through with the selection of materials, soft furnishings and the art selection. Fahy continues “The starting point for Marco’s New York Italian Abu Dhabi design was a New York loft which has substance and history but to blend that with grander Deco features. Marco Pierre White is the Godfather of modern cooking with that in mind we sought to inject modernism into the design whilst avoiding the pitfalls of creating a clichéd loft-inspired restaurant, nor going too overboard with the 1920s Deco components, in many respects, the design was creating a fine balance of flavours and ingredients to work in harmony with the diners, much like the food of the legendary chef. ”

The facade of the entrance is a wash of monochrome with the black loft-style windows but it is emphasised by the large brass arch entrance way, this is our showstopper, the entrance transports the diner from a hotel corridor into bygone era, with modern hints, in essence, the world of Marco Pierre White’s New York Italian. The subway tile clad, freestanding pizza oven is visible to the diners so they can immerse themselves in the cooking process and see their food being freshly prepared, adding theatre to the dining experience as well as being a key design component of the brand. Antique brass, white terrazzo and walnut woods are featured heavily drawing in from the 1920s deco era, with fresh pops of colour like the green and mustard velvets in the upholstery which pays homage to the vibrancy of the brand and the eclectic nature of the offering.

The merging of the patterns, textures, and fittings are in themselves a nod to the merger of New York and Italian and with the modern touches such as the artwork and feature light design, with this, Studio EM has captured the true essence of Marco’s New York Italian.