Project name: Little Black Door
Category: Bar/Club/Lounge Award
Location: The Conrad Hotel, Dubai
Date completed: May 2016
Interior designer: Paul Bishop

Bishop Design were given a brief by their client to create an atmospheric destination as an ‘urban gentleman’s lounge’ with a touch of “What happens behind the Little Black Door, stays behind the Little Black Door”. The client’s brief was to create an “Urban Gentlemen’s Lounge” accessible to all, it was to be the contemporary evolution to what would otherwise be deemed a classic old-school watering hole if placed in another era. “The Lounge” is the true comprehensive manifestation of hospitality. It is not a bar, nor is it a restaurant, it is a merge of the two in one cohesive expression of an evening out. Little Black Door was to have an atmosphere, which is a combination of a multitude of social and hospitality variables. Its primary ethos both from an overall brand perspective and more specifically in relation to the interior design, product and service being a focus on “Urban Understated Elegance” – contemporary ideas based on historically successful hospitality foundations and social protocols.

It was required for the interior to be an expression of an Italian Milano’s Gentlemen’s living room with the soul of Kate Moss as its muse. She walks into the place, lights a cigarette and enjoys the libations of a Martini as she stares at the photography. The interior was to be a ‘gateway’ of expectation to the service and product expressing a quiet mix of classic and contemporary. “Speakeasy” has become a trendy term but “Living it Easy” even if only during the evenings is a source of refuelling. Comfort was to be a guarantee yet reflecting an original style. With a suggested colour palette of earthy tones such as brown, maroon red, olive green, greys and black, the colour scheme should afford a good connection with black and white photography required but at the same time also complement any art that provides a “colour bomb” to the room. Metals such as nickel, iron, dark rustic bronze and copper should predominate. The flooring is an intelligent use of contemporary innovative materials such as Lindura and Senso that allow for an enhanced visual experience.

The interior aesthetics are exciting and evocative whilst offering an eclectic intoxicating mix of comfort, intriguing surface textures and a diversifying use of materials urban and raw, yet elegantly sophisticated, all culminating in the creation of the venues ‘original style’. The interior oozes a ‘provocative exclusivity’ whilst full of atmosphere and a refreshing approach to the suggested “speakeasy”. Little Black Door is a place to ‘live it easy’ a source of refuelling, a consistent necessity to carry on with the upcoming rigours of the next day. “What happens behind the Little Black Door, stays behind the Little Black Door” however, what the interior looks like behind each door should have a different feeling worth being spoken about. The interiors aesthetics evoke a somewhat ‘steam punk’ dynamic. Little Black Door can remain in a state of intimate ambiance compliant for personal one-on-one dates and discrete business meetings or on the other hand it can morph into a higher state of party hedonism given the right circumstances and desires. “What happens behind Little Black Door can never be predicted but if you pass the threshold, the experience is worth remembering.’’