Inspired by their mother’s cooking, three Emirati siblings have created ASMA, a new restaurant in Dubai Mall that evokes the nostalgia dining experience of their mother’s traditional Middle Eastern kitchen – but with a contemporary twist. They wanted to recreate no only the warmth of home, but also the feeling of their childhood foods.
H2R Design, who are also winners during the id Design Awards in 2018, was charged with the challenge of creating the ambience of an Arabic home, but in a timeless setting. Just as the kitchen is the heart of a traditional Arabic home, it is the focal point in ASMA. Copper pans, old-style utensil and, authentic Arabic coffee pots are displayed on open shelving, just as they are in Arabic childhood homes. The traditional copper detailing is used in a contemporary way in the pizza oven and as trim on the petrol blue tiles that clad the bar’s exterior. Terracotta tiles pay tribute to old-style Middle Eastern kitchen while wood elements connect the spaces.
Wooden wicker chairs add a contemporary flair while banquette seating in desert tones promote a relaxed experience. Scenes from Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and the UAE visually reinforce the cultural concepts. To suggest outdoor dining, one seating area gives the vibe of being in a sidewalk café where diners can watch shoppers passing by.
Enjoy a bit of comforting nostalgia in a modern heritage setting.
Photography: Nikola Stokanovic