THE newest addition to Dubai’s nightlife, the Iris restaurant and lounge, is already making its mark in the UAE city.
Located on the 27th floor of the Oberoi, Dubai, this open-air restaurant offers breathtaking views with the backdrop of the Burj Khalifa and the city skyline.
Iris is spread over 450 sq m and combines the elements of both an upscale restaurant and trendy lounge, according to Suzy Nasr, the Lebanese designer and visionary behind all of Iris’ interiors, from its conception to the perfect finishing touches.
Showcasing a contemporary Mediterranean-inspired food menu, created by executive chef Olivier Dechaise, Iris stands out as an open-air city retreat, offering guests a relaxed ambiance in a refined setting.
Work on the outlet began in mid-October and Iris Dubai officially opened its doors on December 1, 2013.
The initial brief was to mainly make use of Iris Dubai’s airiness while also maintaining Iris’ traditional design with a combination of an occasional burst of unexpected colour, the use of vibrant hues and tranquil earthy tones, says Nasr, commenting on the design concept of the new outlet.
“I loved mixing the raw and the refined; mixing high and low, so things don’t feel too precious or over-thought and remain understated and modest.
“The idea behind the original Iris concept was to create a tropical yet modern getaway, an environment that exudes a sense of harmony and balance, simultaneously being trendy yet cozy, and comfortable with an edge,” she says.
Nasr continues: “I was living in Nepal when I was called to design the project. With its breathtaking and stunning surroundings, Nepal became my muse and a fundamental theme for my visual diary. Iris Dubai became my creative outlet, a means to share my little sparks of inspiration and to see how the space incites a journey for others.
“I am an explorer at heart and being exposed to travel, different cultures, countries, architecture, food, and beauty, and surrounded by creative people made its mark on me. Ultimately, Iris Dubai possesses the unique balance of an inviting, serene retreat that radiates casual glam.”
The Dubai location has definitely influenced the materials she has used in the designs. The heat and humidity can affect the durability of the furniture so special outdoor materials like thermo wood for the bars have been used in order to withstand warm weather conditions.
The indoor with the outdoor spaces have been integrated in order to maximise and utilise the cooling effect of artificial air-conditioners, according to Nasr.
“The use of steel partitions outlining the top of Iris creates shaded areas that narrow down the intensity of direct sunlight. However, the location itself, in Dubai and on the 27th floor of The Oberoi, Dubai, is truly magnificent. It has a certain charm with the morning light streaming in through the double-height windows, the twinkle of city lights, and the views of Dubai from every vantage point,” she says.
Fittings & finishes
Sustainable wood and glass were used for the flooring and the entire foothold of the space. The furniture is an intricate yet durable mixture of wood and fabric. All the light fittings were custom-made with black steel for a rough texture. For the bar, glass and wood were used for its sturdy structure.
“Lighting plays an important role in any space since it sets the overall mood. One of Iris’ icons is the lighting fixtures with bright bulbs installed atop of the bar. They’re sleek yet cutting edge,” she says.
“Inviting and comfortable furniture is vital for a space such as Iris, where an Iris-goer can literally relax on a chill patio or roof deck. Thanks to Maison Cle, our exclusive manufacturing company, every piece of furniture was not only practical but was also aesthetically appealing and perfectly reflected Iris’ identity.
“I am extremely proud that the overall design scheme did not follow any strict rules and did not strike just one note. I love the space’s fluidity yet, at its core, it is all about mixing and contrasting elements. It creates a tension that brings intrigue and curiosity to the space. A clean environment with eclectic oddities, luxurious textures next to raw ones, old pieces with new ones, is what gives a room character and depth.
“Another design scheme that I’m proud of is the presence of another of Iris’ icons, the signature tree. Every space deserves a focal point that makes a statement and the tree communicates serenity and beauty,” she says.
Commenting on the challenges faced while executing the project, Nasr says: “Besides figuring out the appropriate and durable materials for the structures within the design, time itself was a challenge when it came to the final execution stage of the project. Every hour was utilised in order to present the final design well-crafted, refined and complete, to make sure that the overall space feels unique and fashioned with high integrity, yet also feel welcoming and accessible.”