Desert Café

Dubai, UAE / 2008

Dubai has constantly been unraveling projects that take pride in two things hard to come by in a desert- lush greenery and water. As a critique on this current trend, the proposed café is an attempt to celebrate the often neglected/forgotten natural setting of Dubai - the Desert.

The Desert Café follows the simplicity of the desert, by reducing its tectonic components to the absolute minimal - A pure square roof and a sunken plaza benefiting from the shade. The Plaza holds the café and exhibition space, immersed in a wonderful ambiance of light and shade, refreshed by the wind, like in old Arabic settlements. The approach to the café is through paths between the dunes, much like the trails of caravans leading to the oases. These paths lead through an inviting flight of steps into the plaza, kept cool because of its sunken nature and reduced exposure to sun.

The roof, much like the traditional Arabic cap, is perforated and dematerialized to allow wind and light to penetrate and becomes an active part of the spatial composition. Small auditoriums and curio shops spring in places where the roof meets the plaza creating specific programmatic concentrations in an otherwise un-programmed event space. The Desert Café is intended to be a mirage, a delicate and sensitive object which is both present and absent.

design team

Ahmed Al-Ali, Farid Esmaeil, Luca Vigliero, Laura Miorin

  • client

    Aldar Properties

  • program

    Café and Lounge

  • built up area

    3256 sqm

  • scope‎

    Architecture

  • status

    Proposal

Desert Café

Dubai, UAE / 2008

Dubai has constantly been unraveling projects that take pride in two things hard to come by in a desert- lush greenery and water. As a critique on this current trend, the proposed café is an attempt to celebrate the often neglected/forgotten natural setting of Dubai - the Desert.

The Desert Café follows the simplicity of the desert, by reducing its tectonic components to the absolute minimal - A pure square roof and a sunken plaza benefiting from the shade. The Plaza holds the café and exhibition space, immersed in a wonderful ambiance of light and shade, refreshed by the wind, like in old Arabic settlements. The approach to the café is through paths between the dunes, much like the trails of caravans leading to the oases. These paths lead through an inviting flight of steps into the plaza, kept cool because of its sunken nature and reduced exposure to sun.

The roof, much like the traditional Arabic cap, is perforated and dematerialized to allow wind and light to penetrate and becomes an active part of the spatial composition. Small auditoriums and curio shops spring in places where the roof meets the plaza creating specific programmatic concentrations in an otherwise un-programmed event space. The Desert Café is intended to be a mirage, a delicate and sensitive object which is both present and absent.

design team

Ahmed Al-Ali, Farid Esmaeil, Luca Vigliero, Laura Miorin

  • client

    Aldar Properties

  • program

    Café and Lounge

  • built up area

    3256 sqm

  • scope‎

    Architecture

  • status

    Proposal