Now that Dubai's social life is starting to strut towards nearer normal, we have a favourite interior in which to celebrate.
Surrealist speakeasy The Secret Room has returned to Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai Hotel.Designed by Toronto-based Paolo Ferrari, the club in the hotel's basement allows one ultra VIP guest the chance to drive on to, if not the dancefloor, the into the venue itself.
As you'd expect, the inspiration for the project is equally lavish, blending together "bacchanalian decadence with a feeling of noble restraint" like a fancy mixed drink with the concept of duality.“We articulated this as the duality of history (the past) and invention (the future),” explains Ferrari. “It’s about creating a kind of ambiguity of time and place.”
There's a nod to feted public sculpture Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in the fluid Dalí-esque bronze-coloured arched bar, which was modelled from fibreglass.Soft furnishings in homage to the ’60s and ’70s and wooden walls and smoked oak flooring contrast with artwork inspired by classic Italian bacchanal, which was hand-painted in Canada over a series of six months.
Interior architecture borrows further from the 20th century - sci-fi lovers should know that it's inspired by the climax of Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey, set in a Louis XIV-era French bedroom.“That scene has always resonated for me,” Ferrari says. “There is an incredible tension between the interior architecture, but at the same time it feels uncomplicated.”
Retrofuturism abounds in the mirrored underground lair, even extending to the bathroom, which Ferrari calls the bar's "most experimental area."He adds: “The reference point, also from Kubrick, is like looking into outer space.
"The execution of the floor’s glass finish was a particular challenge, as it had to take into account texture and slip resistance while not dulling its striking visual impact."Access to the club has a typically dramatic and personalised flourish - via fingerprint.
“For us, The Secret Room is a unicorn in our portfolio. It is a reminder that a great club pulls on your alter ego,” says Ferrari. “And, whether you’re going to Berghain in Berlin or recalling the days of Studio 54, it’s all about theatre.”