Not Just Architecture, But Artitechture
We love the idea of dining underwater, so we thought all you mermaid wanna-bes would enjoy a look at some fantastic venues around the world. Time to flex those fins!
First up, is a glittering marvel in the middle of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai’s Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah. It is located on an artificial island off the coast of Dubai.
Construction of Burj Al Arab began in 1994, built to resemble the sail of a dhow, a type of Arabian vessel. Two “wings” spread in a V to form a vast “mast”, while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium. Architect Tom Wright said “The client wanted a building that would become an iconic or symbolic statement for Dubai; this is very similar to Sydney with its Opera House, or Paris with the Eiffel Tower. It needed to be a building that would become synonymous with the name of the country.”
Enclosed by a Teflon-coated fibreglass sail, curving across the front of the building and creating an atrium inside. The fabric is coated with DuPont Teflon to protect it from harsh desert heat, wind, and dirt – “The fabricators estimate that it will hold up for up to 50 years.” - not sure what happens then…
The restaurant in the hotel Al Mahara (Oyster Shell) is accessed by a gold-plated elevator (above) located in the upper lobby. Exit the elevator and you will be greeted by a golden entrance revealing a stunning floor-to-ceiling aquarium, The Oval, around which all of the dining tables are arranged. The huge jaw-dropping aquarium is home to many species of fish and marine life.
The images below show that the interior design, suites and decor within the hotel are just as stunning. The Royal Suite (middle, below) is billed at $18,716 per night, listed at number 12 on World’s 15 most expensive hotel suites! Suites feature design details that juxtapose east and west. White Tuscan columns and a spiral staircase covered in marble with a wrought-iron gold leaf railing show influence from classicism and art nouveau. Spa-like bathrooms are accented by mosaic tile patterns on the floors and walls, with Arabian-influenced geometries, which are also found elsewhere in the building.
Second up, lucky vacationers can dine under the waves at the Conrad Maldives Hotel in the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. This restaurant is situated 16 feet below sea level and has 180° views of reef and marine life. The hotel also has a three-person mini-sub nicknamed “Nemo”. It takes 2 passengers + a pilot on a 30 minute dive in the Indian Ocean. Ithaa was designed by the New Zealand based design firm M.J. Murphy Ltd, specializing in large aquarium works.
The structure was constructed and assembled in Singapore and shipped to Maldives in one, 275-ton piece, on a huge ocean-going barge (with its own 300t-capacity crane on board). The whole thing was then lowered, stabilized with sand ballast and fixed into position near Conrad’s Sunset Grill Restaurant, five meters below the sea level.
Lastly and closer to home in Nashville, is the Aquarium Restaurant, located in the Opry Mills Mall, across from the Grand Old Opry and Opryland Hotel. Guests dine while seated around a 200,000-gallon tank, home to a wide variety of fish, sharks, stingrays and more, accompanied by bottom of the sea décor. Hand-made acrylic sea grass, column capitals, translucent fish forms for pendant lighting, carpet and terrazzo flooring containing colored glass and abalone chips are just a few of the specialty features utilized for this restaurant.