Museum Quality

In collaboration with Tom Dixon, Atlanta’s favorite Japanese restaurant UMI introduces a chic new private dining experience

Look no further for your next evening soirée. Art aficionados and culinary connoisseurs alike will be dazzled by the highly anticipated new private dining room at Buckhead Japanese restaurant Umi. Named The Murphy Room in honor of prolific artist Todd Murphy, the design stimulus for the space’s moody and sophisticated setting surrounds the artist’s 1994 painting The Swimmer.

“In partnership with designer Tom Dixon and his team, we designed the space with elegance, decadence and refinement in mind,” says Umi co-owner Farshid Arshid, who also worked with Dixon on the restaurant’s high-profile cocktail lounge, Himitsu. “The interiors, combined with a curated wine and sake list, a best-in-class cocktail program and myriad of exquisite dishes from Umi’s kitchen and sushi bar makes every gathering in the space feel exceptional.”

With both Arshid’s and Dixon’s visions woven into the brand’s overall identity, it was an obvious choice to tap the designer again to assist with the new space. “We were skeptical a few years ago with Farshid’s original brief on Himitsu, which incorporated a Todd Murphy painting as the departure point,” says Dixon. “We subsequently realized that it is actually a brilliant way to design spaces—art first. We learned a lot from that project and it made sense to continue along the same vein.”

When guests make a reservation for The Murphy Room, they are escorted up a sleek, custom-designed staircase leading into the private space. To harmonize the rest of the interiors with the painting, Arshid commissioned a black wavy mirrored ceiling by G-Tex to imitate the feeling of being underwater. A collection of 40-plus Tom Dixon Void LED Pendants illuminate the 20-foot live-edge walnut dining table that can sit up to 25 people. “It’s ideal for everything from corporate gatherings to rehearsal dinners and birthday parties,” says Arshid. “Our space offers complete discretion.”

Guests of The Murphy Room work alongside Umi’s food and beverage team to curate a customized menu for the occasion, selected from Umi’s various fixed menu items including the assorted Nigiri, Aburi, hot dishes and even vegan sushi options. If you’re feeling extra creative, describe your vision to the Umi chefs for a more personalized tasting menu.

And with its exceptional fare and attention-commanding design, the dining experience is a true escape from reality. “The Murphy Room was destined to be more elevated and intimate,” says Dixon. “We were keen for it to be minimal and didn’t want anything to distract too much from the food—the absolute hero of the space.”