Tucked away on the seventh floor of the Conrad Hotel, Vii is where Dubai’s urban skyline meets a green garden.
Surrounded by sleek glass-and-steel skyscrapers, Vii, the terrace bar and lounge located on the seventh floor of the Conrad Hotel, is the newest addition to Dubai’s nightlife scene. The design studio Creative Clinic was commissioned by the owner to transform this plain looking rooftop, spread across 370m2, into a modern and welcoming retreat.
Designers Ceebo Shah and Khalid Sharan talked to CID about the key points of inspiration behind its design. As they explained, the philosophy behind the design was to create an intimate space – a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city life.
“We were challenged with a very plain looking terrace surrounded by skyscrapers and lots of concrete. The first idea that came to our minds was to create a secret garden in the city that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Since the terrace itself has a long and rectangular shape, we had to create zones that would visually break this boring corridor,” explains Ceebo Shah.
The bar area, positioned in the middle and sheltered within a canopy of leaves, visually divides the place into three different zones. Besides the greenery, the design team opted for teak wood coverings, which provide a modern but also a more natural look. By mixing various old furniture pieces such as vintage crystal chandeliers, chairs and mirrors against sleek surfaces, the designers have created a balance of old meets new.
“Besides the arch, we’ve also added a green wall that we’ve accented with vintage mirrors. In all of our designs, we like mixing elements of different eras with modern pieces and making them belong. We have customised some signature chairs for Vii. We didn’t want to label them in any obvious way, so we designed individual coats of arms, which were printed on the fabrics. Many guests probably will not notice them the first time they visit,” says Sharan.
One of the main features is a baroque chair covered with artificial green grass that sits at the entrance against the teak wood wall. As Sharan explains, the chair was handpicked from a vintage market in Istanbul and brought to Dubai. Initially, it wasn’t part of the original design, but was added as a last-minute touch.
“The hand crafted chair is over 80 years old and the gold foil on the wooden frame is of its original design. The frame stayed untouched and we covered it with artificial grass, so it looks like the grass is growing out of it. The chair was not part of the design and yet it became the main feature,” says Shah.
Since the entrance to the terrace has a small door and the opening corridor is much wider, the duo had to think of way to blend this awkward combination in a more natural way.
“We created this facade of wooden rings that start large and keep getting smaller and smaller until the last one meets the size of the entrance door, like in Alice in Wonderland. When looking from the outside, you would never think this was a defect in the actual venue. In a way, the tunnel is inviting the guests to walk through it and get into this unexpected secret garden.”
Just before reaching the peak of summer, Vii has been covered with a transparent acrylic roof so guests can enjoy the view of the city inside a cooled and sheltered greenhouse.