Industry Update
Press Release15 December 2009

Rockwell Group Europe Completes Redesign for World-Renowned Wasabi by Morimoto and Harbour Bar at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel in Mumbai

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Rockwell Group

Rockwell Group Europe ("RGe"), the Madrid-based architecture and design firm, has completed the redesign of two popular dining destinations at the world famous Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel in Mumbai, India. The Wasabi by Morimoto restaurant and the historic Harbour Bar boast new and contemporary interiors by the talented team led by Diego Gronda, Managing and Creative Director of RGe.


Explaining RGe's design approach, Diego Gronda states: "We were so excited about the opportunity to redesign Wasabi by Morimoto and the Harbour bar in such an iconic hotel. I have always been fascinated by Indian culture and craftsmanship, both of which were great inspirations for our vision. Our designs blur the boundaries between modern and traditional to create a sophisticated, cosmopolitan environment."

Since opening in 1903, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel has become internationally renowned as one of the premier hotels in India and the world. The original hotel was commissioned by the famous Indian industrialist Jamsedji Tata and designed by Indian architects.

According to David Rockwell, founder and CEO of Rockwell Group, "This was a fantastic opportunity for Rockwell Group Europe to bring their extensive experience and expertise in hospitality design to this magnificent Indian landmark."

The Harbour Bar's rich history inspired RGe's design, with echoes of its Art Deco legacy seen in the furniture and finishes. Since receiving the first liquor license in India, the Harbour Bar has hosted high-powered meetings and gatherings for decades. Its historical prestige is manifested in the center bar, a solid carved piece of white marble that denotes the potency of a bygone era but boasts a fresh face for Mumbai's new generation of movers and shakers. The back bar is framed in cut glass and provides an inviting light and glow. The renovation also uncovered two historic windows overlooking the harbor, where RGe installed a raised seating area to juxtapose the vivacity of Apollo Bunder Road outside with the intimacy of a classic bar setting. Art continues to be a distinctive feature of the space, with oversized carved wood pieces at the entrance that define the room with elegant applique elements.

Just upstairs from the Harbour Bar is the Wasabi by Morimoto restaurant, where guests are transported into a 'magic box' of red lacquer that wraps all the way from the staircase to the entrance of the restaurant. Traditional Japanese motifs pervade the space, such as an installation of drifting cherry blossoms behind the host stand, and crafted joinery on the restaurant walls. The focal points of activity are the freestanding sushi counter and teppanyaki kitchen defined by a large art piece by Indian artist Sadanand Shirke. The exquisite private dining room for which Wasabi is renowned now centers on a sculptural round table lit by an overscale custom fixture of hammered metal. Eight guests are able to take part in this intimate private dining experience complete with a personal chef and exclusive sushi preparation.

Harbour Bar and Wasabi by Morimoto both opened December 2009.

About Rockwell Group Europe - | Unique design narratives shape the look, feel and bold concepts of all Rockwell Group Europe's projects. Led by Diego Gronda, Managing and Creative Director, Rockwell Group Europe explores new territories with an extraordinary team of artists, architects, interior, graphic and industrial designers who help create connections between varied disciplines, ideas and cultural landscapes. Building upon the energy and eclecticism of the Rockwell Group's main office in New York (founded more than 25 years ago by David Rockwell), and Diego Gronda's extensive work in all five continents, Rockwell Group Europe focuses on designing hotels, restaurants, retail centers and spas with a unique and refined aesthetic. Their current work includes a W Retreat & Spa in Vieques, Puerto Rico; W Paris-Opera in France, a restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, and a Le Meridien hotel in Oran, Algeria.

About Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces - | Established in 1903, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia's largest and finest group of hotels, comprising 65 hotels in 45 locations across India with an additional 15 international hotels in the Maldives, Malaysia, Australia, UK, USA, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East. From world-renowned landmarks to modern business hotels, idyllic beach resorts to authentic Rajput palaces, each Taj hotel offers an unrivalled fusion of warm Indian hospitality, world-class service and modern luxury. The Taj, a symbol of Indian hospitality, completed the centenary of its landmark hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Mumbai. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is part of the Tata Group, India's premier business house.

Joan MacKeith
Rockwell Group
Phone: +1-212-463-0334
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