July 20, 2024
Serene Zen Modernity Welcomes Visitors on the Nobu Lodge Palo Alto
Serene Zen Modernity Welcomes Visitors on the Nobu Lodge Palo Alto

Montalba Architects’ redesign of the Nobu Lodge Palo Alto is an architectural undertaking that could possibly be characterised by a way of delayed gratification – however one definitely worth the wait. Whereas the property opened its doorways to welcome visitors into the retreat’s ryokan-inspired lodging appointed in Nobu Matsuhisa’s modern-meets-traditional-Japanese serene aesthetics again in 2020, the structure follow has solely now been in a position to unveil a centerpiece addition, one notable as a lot for its lively sustainability as its poetically serene ambiance.

View from Nobu Hotel Palo Alto Japanese garden looking into dining area, with two dining tables visible in the background and a Japanese bamboo water fountain in the foreground.

The Nobu Palo Alto Backyard Restaurant is a 4,100-square-foot complementary element to the Nobu Lodge Palo Alto, but in addition exists wholly impartial as soon as visitors cross into its zen-like confines. Accessible from the lodge’s foyer, surrounding convention rooms and from its frontage on Emerson Road, the indoor–outside eating expertise is assured in its distinction between conventional Japanese landscaping and modern inside structure and furnishings.

View from Nobu Hotel Palo Alto restaurant interior behind frameless glass windows, out into the Japanese garden.

Detail of Japanese rock garden landscaped with California native plants.

“Distinction” could also be a misnomer of an outline, besides regarding the span of intervals from which every aspect references. The warmly appointed inside is furnished with seating and tables not dissimilar to the modernity for lots of Richard Meier’s Getty Middle or Apple’s greatest efforts inside their retail areas. Which means, there’s an unobtrusive air to Montalba Architects’ work allowing the backyard to breathe because the centerpiece expertise for diners and visitors alike.

Japanese rock garden landscaped with California native plants illuminated at dusk with dining area to the right.

Overhead view of Japanese rock garden landscaped with California native plants illuminated at dusk with dining tables lined up along the right against hotel wall.

“Total the design was pushed by concepts of composition and heat of materiality – eager about how we think about air, water, mild, nourishment, consolation and tranquility of thoughts when searching for a retreat in an city setting,” says David Montalba, Founding Principal, Montalba Architects.

Man leaning over railing surveying Nobu Hotel's Japanese rock garden landscaped with California native plants and outdoor dining furniture.

Massive-format stone tiles extending into the outside patio are used as literal stepping stones to attach the structure to the complementing landscaping. The seating is echoed spatially by vertically organized boulders sourced from Japan, positioned as an clever backyard repose.

Nobu Hotel restaurant's Japanese rock garden landscaped with California native plants and outdoor dining furniture, with stone pagoda statue and large landscape rock in foreground with maple planted in between.

Nobu Hotel restaurant's Japanese rock garden landscaped with California native plants, with small gravel footpath near large landscape rock in foreground and red maple tree behind it.

Whereas Japanese gardens are historically planted with species advanced for plentiful rain, like the remainder of California, town of Palo Alto is struggling to adapt underneath the duress of drought. Montalba Architects thoughtfully selected to reinterpret their Japanese backyard planted with California’s native floor cowl. The result’s a Japanese aesthetic advanced to flourish with much less water and upkeep. The backyard planting is designed to vary all year long to mirror the seasonality of the pure panorama.

Overhead drone photo of gravel footpath winding through Nobu Hotel Palo Alto's restaurant Japanese style garden, showing various planting zones and rock placement.

Overhead drone photo of gravel footpath winding through Nobu Hotel Palo Alto's restaurant Japanese style garden, showing various planting zones and rock placement, with four dining tables situated at the bottom.

“We developed the concept of an built-in backyard eating expertise effectively earlier than the pandemic,” added Montalba. “The design was pushed by a want to facilitate pure moments of pause and psychological relaxation. It was vital to us that non-patrons have the ability to expertise the house, too – that they arrive upon this surprising backyard scene whereas strolling alongside the road.”

Front entrance of the Nobu Palo Alto Garden Restaurant illuminated at dusk.

Montalba Architects’ design is inviting and stress-free, a lush micro habitat designed to evolve seasonally, an instance of latest biophilic design integrated into the sum of an expertise moderately than a easy window dressing.

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, mountain climbing, tide swimming pools, and street journeys, a collection of his adventures and musings may be discovered at gregoryhan.com.