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The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton

The approach to the design of The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton was guided by Miral and Warner Bros. Discovery Global Themed Entertainment’s drive to create a themed hotel as a follow up to the great success of the award-winning theme park steps away, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. The approach was also guided by Warner Bros.’ desire to engage its audience in a new way and take guests on a journey through the world of Warner Bros.’ most iconic films and television series. Collectively, we wanted to capture the Warner Bros. ethos rather than state the obvious.

The starting point was the lobby which was tackled from a contemporary approach while incorporating a number of retro elements. Here, the idea was to create a space reminiscent of an old cinema but in an unobtrusive way with old style phone booths, red carpet and memorabilia artfully incorporated into the fabric of the design. Behind the concierge desk is old style fretwork reminiscent of the old-style cinemas.

The rich history and storied legacy of Warner Bros. was the driver for the design, and we had to ensure the narrative flowed from space to space and floor to floor. One clever way of doing this was the creation of the living archive – an open and closed display that elegantly winds around a central column encapsulating an iconic helical staircase and housing an evolving collection of items dedicated to the vast depth and history of WB’s role in entertainment, from Michael Keaton’s 1989 Batman cowl to an original drawing from The Great Gatsby and a range of recognisable props from Warner Bros. different films. The pieces were all chosen so they linked with each other to contribute to the story.

From guest arrival it was important to us to create a sense of story which we did through a long sweeping drive and a stunning facade. While the façade has been deliberately kept minimal it is nonetheless imposing in its simplicity.

An elegant dining experience, The Directors Club was designed to be moody and sophisticated. With this restaurant we wanted to create a raw space much like a movie set where we used natural elements such as a striking brick wall at the back of the restaurant, leather banquet seating and oak flooring. Above the long director’s style table, rather than a standard light fixture, we decided to add a dynamic element through the concept of flying scripts suspended above the table. Initially we used blank pieces of paper but then the idea of creating scripts were used instead, to symbolise discussions between the scriptwriter and the director.

In stark contrast the family restaurant Sidekicks was designed to shine a spotlight on everyone’s favourite supporting cast, gloriously captured through colourful graphics and oversized ceiling visuals. Through clever orientation by the architects, this restaurant was deliberately positioned to take full advantage of the natural daylight streaming in through the floor to ceiling windows making the area light, bright and welcoming.

We continued the narrative through the guest floors with nods to Warner Bros.’ legacy of rich story telling becoming apparent throughout the rooms. From a base of old-style wood, we added retro items including throw cushions, coloured refrigerators in red or blue and old-style telephones. We also added bespoke vanity units featuring old-style lighted mirrors in each of the guest rooms.

The intent for The WB Abu Dhabi by Hilton was a journey of discovery through film and television, with guests enjoying Warner Bros.’ rich history and library of timeless productions at every touchpoint from arrival to check-out, and the final design is a perfectly meshed eclectic Warner Bros. experience.