Bringing fantasy to life
Designed by Bishop Design
Designs used: King Edison pendant lamp
Torno Subito, the newest addition to the renowned W Hotel brand upon the Palm Jumeirah Dubai, is a visual celebration for the famed World’s number one chef and 3-star Michelin Holder Massimo Bottura.
The chef known for passion, creativity and even his quirky sense of style saw a unique opportunity with this venture, in that he could recreate his childhood memories through intelligent design and an innovative food offering.
The brief was quite simply to realize the sentiment of Massimo having fun. It was to be a metaphysical manifestation of beachside days reminiscent of Rimini’s coastal playground of the 1950s and 60s. Fun-filled days enjoying amazing food, drinks and ultimate relaxation.
The interiors were to bring fantasy to life and transport you to destinations you couldn’t possibly imagine through an utterly intoxicating reflection of Massimo’s affection with the past. Film was to be an integral expression throughout as inspiration from Fellini films took precedent. The venue in its entirety was to be a beautiful fusion, bringing together the design, food and influences from the golden days into one harmonious offering.
Massimo desired to create something entirely nostalgic with his restaurant, reflective of his innovative approach to food. His sentiments of “tradition in evolution” enticed the design direction to inherit the best of the past and carry it forward to the future. Days of Italian pop culture were to be relieved in a bewitching series of pure memoirs, satisfying Dubai’s crave for an authentic experience in its absence of nostalgia.
The desired narrative in itself was the key driving force behind the interior, and has been captured through every single element of the design. Ultimately La Dolce Vita, with its crazed colour bombs and beachside terrace, “Torno Subito” is an explosion of utterly beautiful reminiscence.
The language achieved was enhanced through the use of physically diversifying materials and interior installations evoking a recollection of memory and re-collection of object. Pastel tones are complimented with a bold mélange of color in turn contrasting against a morphing monochromatic floor dynamic which seamlessly blends into a unique, three-dimensional agitated sand print flooring. Suspended from the ceiling hang an eclectic array of black and white Polaroid photos from the 1960s era, many from the films of Fellini to Massimo’s very own collection of nostalgic Italian summers. Cinematic ideologies evolve through the form of corrugated iron representative of a red curtain which surrounds the WC entrance. Animated graphic stamped ceiling panels float in irregular lines representing the canopies of old Italian food market tents that Massimo has been visiting since he was a child. Furniture is eclectic, thoughtfully developed and sought from the design classics of Paola Lenti, whilst lighting is playful yet adds a significant refinement to the space through the likes of Mineheart.
It is the intoxicating narrative of bygone days that sets Torno Subito far beyond alternate offerings in the region, elevating the design as one of the most revolutionary in the country.
So far beyond just solely an F&B venue, the walls tell a beautiful story inspired by Massimo’s memories, enabling guests to relive these experiences of Italian food markets and the 1950s/60s beachside days on the Rimini coast. Serving emotion as the main ingredient in every dish is mirrored through each element of the design. Even the name itself “Torno Subito,” translating to “I’ll be back soon,” reflective of signs hung in Italian shopkeepers’ windows during lunchtime, perfectly captures the sentiments of the entire venues story, and also plays a tongue in cheek reference to Massimo’s presence at the restaurant.
Interaction remains at the heart of the venue’s sentiments by establishing a natural connection between guests and the all-embracing narrative. Polaroids are taken from the photobooth situated at the entrance and displayed within the suspended ceiling feature so one becomes an inherent part of the venue’s identity, and outside pedalo’s invite patrons on a leisurely pursuit across the Arabian gulf; all evolving the venue as a completely immersive experience.
The interior perfectly captures Massimo’s view of the world, which is complex, profound and often filtered through a child-like wonder and enthusiasm. Aesthetics achieve a bright welcoming and ultimately engaging venue offering high-end food and beverage yet enjoyed within a casual setting. The venue encourages its clientele to venture in for a meal, a drink or even a dessert allowing the patrons to interact with its interior and external dynamic as the day transcends into night willfully relaxing as the sun sets and the beachfront takes precedent.
In a demographic that has become somewhat saturated over recent years encompassing resembling concepts, Torno brings a playful charm to the heart of the desert with its distinctive storyline. Ahead of its time, Torno Subito engages guests with its story, taking them on a sensory journey through Massimo’s mind. Perfectly interactive in every way as guests become an inherent part of the design, the venue revolutionizes the F&B landscape as a pioneer of immersive dining, immediately setting the precedent of future venues within the region to follow.
Bespoke custom-made beach balls illuminate the dolce counter as a playful contribution to the beach-side essence that was desired. Boldy colored beach balls adorned with Italian punk inspired pink banana artwork are situated upon the white-washed sand surrounding the external terrace and have been crafted by hand utilizing waste plastic, reflective of Massimo’s own passion for sustainable initiatives and attention to detail.
Every element from the bold monochromatic striped flooring, to the sunshine yellow tiles, glossy teal counters and graphic-infused ceilings, the entire venue is an enchanting fusion of perky hues that shouldn’t work together, but somehow do. A bit, it could be said, like Massimo himself. To capture Massimo’s vision so eloquently, with the final design superseding his expectations, the project in its entirety has been a truly inspiring and amazing chapter for the studio. When speaking with leading food & beverage magazine Caterer News Middle East he expressed “the result is unbelievable. I’m very critical on myself, on my team – nothing is good enough for me, never. But I have to say when I walked in, it’s unbelievable.”