By Catherine Belbin

The inviting ambiance of the café, operated by the renowned Dubai District restaurant The Lighthouse and created by prominent Dubai-based practice Lulie Fisher Design Studio, will be the perfect place to dine and mingle with the regional design community as they converge at Downtown Design 2021.

The design of the cafe is Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s novel ‘To the Lighthouse’ and her Bloomsbury Set contemporaries, who met over ‘lingering breakfasts’ and ‘painting lunches’. “We wanted to create an environment where the design encourages the diner to linger and socialise whilst embracing the senses [through] colour, pattern and texture,” says Fisher, who leads her eponymously named practice.

The interior will feature a large, boldly patterned and richly coloured mosaic feature wall by Trend that acts as a backdrop to the servery counter. Architect Fisher says: “Its rich colour palette complements the innovative Mediterranean-inspired dishes that The Lighthouse is renowned for. Against a backdrop of navy blue, a kaleidoscope of colours inspired by the fresh ingredients – watermelon, carrot, sweet potato, mint, golden honey, roasted root vegetables and red lentils – has been layered in with dramatic effect. 

The custom-built bar counter is clad in matching mosaics and topped by a timber canopy that sits beneath the tented exhibition roof. A loosely stacked configuration of retail display boxes forms a sculptural piece, while the central seating feature – a large central tiled and upholstered banquette island unit – is mirrored outside, providing design continuity and a shaded island for diners to congregate at.

Fisher says, “A proliferation of suspended elements, including highly polished and reflective angled metal surfaces, pendant lighting and planters, forms a ‘ceiling’ zone within the space. This transports the diner into a magical and surreal environment.” Curtains layered at various heights provide intrigue as well as subtle zoning and privacy. 

“The nature of the design task – ‘beg, borrow, steal’ – is complementary to our already playful, eclectic and colourful approach to design and has enabled us to create an exciting design experience comprising a series of playful moments for spontaneous retail, casual yet indulgent dining and a haven for the resting of exhibition-weary feet,” comments Fisher.

Materials selected by the design team include colourful glass mosaics from glazed porcelain tiles, textured fabrics, pale oak, highly reflective metals terrazzo and reconstituted stones. Partners and suppliers include MNK Interiors (fit-out), Studio Mark (lighting design), Trend Mosaics (feature wall and bar counter fascia), Kvadrat Middle East (upholstery fabrics) and Planters Group (plants).

Register for your free visitor ticket now - we look forward to seeing you there from November 8-12.