Well aware that social media plays a huge role in the Emirati community, Dubai-based Bishop Design focused on creating cool, avant garde interiors when designing Falla, a new food and beverage (F&B) destination in Dubai, UAE.
Falla opened its doors within an inherited space in a villa along Jumeirah Beach Road last year. The client Qanawat Group entrusted Bishop Design with creating the ambiance for its latest F&B destination Falla, having previously worked with the design firm a decade earlier for its Falla & Al Mallas Restaurants on Jumeirah Beach Road.
Qanawat’s major focus is on media and animation, and while food was never fundamental to the brand, its latest venture was close to its heart and represented an immensely bold evolution for the group.
“Falla venues have existed across the region for years, but they didn’t speak the language of what the client desired, or accurately capture their personalities nor the unique food offering,” Paul Bishop, Owner and Founder of Bishop Design, remarks. “The client was the developer of an Emirati classic cartoon series named Shaabiat Al Cartoon, which perfectly represents everything it stands for – amusement, innovation and unexpected experiences.
“What they had created previously in the form of media had been utterly revolutionary among locals and expats alike, so it was integral that these ideologies continued to evolve in this new venture.”
Aimed to be fresh, dynamic, urban and approachable, the new stand-alone Jumeirah outlet of Falla was expected to attract a huge local Emirati following, so it had to reflect this culture in the offering.
Bishop Design says it has intelligently catered to the Emirati appetite for social media through an incredibly graphic-oriented approach, with a strong visual connectivity exuding through the space.
“Colour waves, striking art and enticing design speak volumes. Playful elements are also introduced through a TV feature which masks off the kitchen area, but more so in the Russian doll peg wall as one moves from ground to the upper level. The installation boasts an assorted array of international representations and becomes an immersive and fun experience, also reflecting the diverse culture that the venue attracts,” he elaborates.
Dynamic lines created through the flooring solutions are mirrored in the ceilings and vertically through the stairwell, encompassing clientele in an avant-garde soul and character. Furniture comprises a combination of loose tables and banquette seating scenarios which spread across the two levels and the exterior, with each space being visually connected. “The idea behind the multiple intriguing artworks was to merge cultures and create a humorous light hearted direction that bring people of different cultures together,” Bishop explains. “FidaArt, a champion Kuwaiti illustrator, was commissioned to create this merge of Emirati culture and American pop art. It is an explorational blend of culture and youthful contemporary feel. The artwork was then executed by the homegrown team of artists at ArtPaintingLAB.”
All the artworks are hand-painted murals and bring an organic and human touch to the ambient experience. The strokes are natural and wall elements such as corrugations are incorporated and become part of the mural. The art lifts the energy of the restaurant and unites the many aesthetic elements found in the space.
“Instagrammable moments are very much part of the restaurant experience. Murals that are colourful, thematic and unique become entertaining and shareable,” he says.
“Alongside the client, we have realised something that the Emirati culture loves is the creation of an instagrammable paradise and interesting food offering. The space also appeals to expats as it stands out from its surroundings and offers a memorable experience. A fun tongue-in-cheek reference is represented in the artworks, similar to how the client’s Shaabiat Al Cartoon animation was received,” he adds.
According to Bishop Design, work on the project required intense stripping back, both architecturally and internally.
“Challenges became apparent because of limitations in the existing space and the elements you become exposed to after demolitions, but through intelligent spatial planning we created a two-level space with a dedicated external dining area,” says the spokesman.
Ultimately a quick-service restaurant, with a strong ability to make you feel happy, comfortable and welcome – what has been created in Falla is light hearted but undeniably cool and stands out from its surroundings, attractive to all Emiratis and expats alike in its offering of something completely unexpected.
The space also reflects the client in its constant motivation to reinvent itself, realised through utterly innovative fabrics, furniture and styling which are not commonly seen to this extent across the region. Setting the precedent for future roll outs across the UAE, the design has also attracted the interest of international franchisees, and now this model outlet will be cast across the globe, says Bishop Design.
“It’s been a wonderful experience overall and has been a breath of fresh air with Bishop Design’s creativity and knowledge. The guys are true professionals and a pleasure to work with,” comments Esam Al Obthani, General Manager, Falla Group, an affiliate of Qawanat.