March 2, 2020

Joyce Wang Studio Embraces East and West to Transform The Arts Club of London

Featuring a panoramic, hand-painted scene of Japanese fishermen on the Nagara River, Kyubi’s main dining area is also crowned with a sculptural chandelier representative of Japanese calligraphy. Photography courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio.

Founded in 1863 by a triad of inspired masterminds that included Charles Dickens, The Arts Club of London—one of the world’s most revered and exclusive private members’ clubs—has been growing steadily ever since. Its first international outpost is set to open in Dubai later this year, followed by a swanky new build on L.A.’s Sunset Boulevard. London’s glory days, however, are far from over, courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio, which recently transformed the Arts Club’s Mayfair location with a refined Japanese restaurant and a new cigar lounge.

In Kyubi, a Kintsugi palette of yellow, gold, ombre indigo, and currant flows throughout on Japanese historical woodblock and screen prints, while Yosegi timber flooring references traditional Japanese lacquer chest details. Photography courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio.

The Japanese restaurant, Kyubi, has migrated from the club’s second floor to its third, where it has been completely reconfigured. In its old footprint now lies Oscuro, an eclectic new venue for cigar collectors, where dark woods and bold florals brush shoulders with tobacco leaf motifs. The design also features a custom pewter and scallop leather-fronted bar, cocooning armchairs, and a lush terrace complete with a living wall.

A key feature of Kyubi is a purpose-built whiskey bar for 12 guests to enjoy a curated selection of sake and rare Japanese whiskies. Photography courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio.

In Kyubi, the look is more contemporary and infused with a refined Meiji period aesthetic. “The Meiji period marked the first time in history when western influences in design and culture flowed into Japan,” says studio founder Joyce Wang. This aesthetic is peppered throughout, with historical Japanese woodblock and screen prints, traditional Noren curtains, and Yosegi timber flooring. Says Wang: “I wanted to embrace the spirit of cultural exchange and interpret traditional Japanese craft with our signature take on materials that still felt authentic to The Arts Club.”

The bar in Oscuro is framed by bespoke Keeps, or temperature-controlled lockers, which are available for members to rent out and store their cigar collections. Photography courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio.
Cigars are displayed inside a bespoke humidor in Oscuro that was crafted by Cuban culture enthusiast and cigar connoisseur Massimo Busciolano. Photography courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio.
An onyx emerald bar back, an apple wood veneered timber “pillow” partition, and a table in Verde Antigua marble add to the luxurious appeal of Oscuro’s lounge. Photography courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio.
Feature tables in Oscuro are topped with a tobacco leaf ‘finish’ while antique frog and monkey lamps sit upon plinths finished in straw marquetry. Photography courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio.
With its verdant living wall, retractable glass ceiling and a marble-framed fireplace, Oscuro’s outdoor terrace was designed to feel like a permanent oasis in the city. Photography courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio.

Read next: M-Rad Gives the Social Club a Modern Update at Philadelphia’s Fitler Club

Recent Projects