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Online Exclusive - SUSHISAMBA, London

Sep 25, 2012

By Ashleigh VanHouten

In true SUSHISAMBA style, the restaurant brand makes a colorful entrance into Europe occupying the top three floors of the Heron Tower, London’s tallest building. According to Nancy Ruddy, principal with design firm CetraRuddy, there was enormous competition for the design of this London debut; but as they had just worked with Samba Brands Management (including managing partner and founder, Shimon Bokovza) on the Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill in Miami, CetraRuddy “understood their DNA” and were approached to collaborate on the 18,000-square-foot project.

A SUSHISAMBA restaurant and lounge occupy the 38th and 39th floors, while new 24/7 concept Duck & Waffle inhabits the 40th floor. The common thread running through all three levels: a melding of Japanese and Brazilian themes combined with British influences.

The main dining room, with its dramatic 24-foot-high ceiling of asymmetrical arched lattice bamboo with a strong geometric pattern expresses the tropical textures of Brazil; Japanese elements are reflected in a black and white geometric-patterned floor, calligraphy details, and hand-wrought wooden shelves displaying ceramics and pottery; and a British sensibility is incorporated in Duck & Waffle, where warm materials include antiqued crackle wall tiles, darkened bronze and textured glass walls, and block-ended wood floors. The dining experience continues outdoors thanks to terraces with panoramic views to the east and west.

Continuity throughout the large, multi-cultural space is achieved via a sweeping, three-story sculptural orange glass and metal staircase, complemented by a multi-color reclaimed wood wall, hanging greenery, and 70 antique chandeliers.  A 30-foot-high orange tree sculpture, and street art created by Brazilian graffiti artist Felipe Yung aka Flip, also weave throughout the space.

“One of the design challenges of the space was a lack of solid walls,” Ruddy adds. “SUSHISAMBA has a gridded Mondrian wall in all of their properties; it’s part of their DNA. Our challenge in London was to create a next-generation version of this element that also maximized the dramatic city views.” The answer? A 25-foot-long three-dimensional glass sculpture of translucent variegated glass boxes in the brand’s signature colors (red, yellow, orange, and green) to filter the London skyline.


hdtalks: the interviews

During HD Expo 2014, Hospitality Design’s Michael Adams sat down with HBA’s Michael Bedner to talk about his half-century in the hospitality design industry. View the video.



Produced by: Emerald Expositions
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