A bright, fun, quirky and comfy eatery in August opened its intriguing vending machine-shaped doors in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, offering an international breakfast menu in a highly Instagrammable space.
Kactus Foodcraft is a 120-sq-m cafe that features a chic and contemporary design where cacti hold centre stage. An expression of international and contemporary lifestyles that celebrate youthfulness and culinary abundance, the eatery has been designed by Dubai-based design studio 4Space in a nod to the 1950s, cleverly blending industrial touches with corrugated wooden walls and pipe lighting.
4Space has designed Kactus in highly Instagrammable colours of vintage pinks and greens. The textures and fabrics used to create interest are oak, steel, leather, terrazzo, bold curved mirrors, a wall full of letters, and plenty of cacti.
“The client’s brief was simple. They wanted Kactus to look bright, fun, lively, quirky, inviting and comfortable,” says Firas Alsahin, Co-Founder and Architect, 4Space. “The use of various textures allows a sense of depth and discovery to keep diners coming back to their favourite city spot. Cactus plants are used throughout the design and are the central focus of desert biophilic living.”
“Kactus has a modern, chic, tasteful, and contemporary design and was wholly inspired by the fascinating xerophytes.
“Xerophytes have curious, almost animated features to prevent water loss, including thick, fleshy leaves covered in waxy, spiky and hairy coatings. Kactus allows patrons to connect to nature within a city environment,” he explains.
4Space has paid attention to the unique requirements of desert biophilic design to create a refreshing atmosphere. In fact, the saguaros are positioned in the centre of café reminiscent of the towering green desert sentinels that pepper endless landscapes under flushed pink skies at Saguaro National Park in Arizona, US.
4Space has highlighted an open ceiling concept with beams, hanging plants, and linear lighting at the mezzanine level. The walls and ceiling are kept clean and white and provide an unadorned backdrop for strong accent colours. A seemingly haphazardly placed lens mirror installation provides a central focus, while other highlights of the space include the pink vending machine door, the expansive crossword wall and cacti of various heights, shapes and sizes.
“The mirror-clad ceilings create playful reflections whilst the crossword wall allows patrons to find their names in the pools of letters on the walls. Neon cacti lights adorn the walls of the café. The café entrance is designed as a pink vending machine door that provides an element of excitement and joy upon arrival,” Alsahin explains.
To carry out the works, 4Space carefully selected expert artisans to fit out Kactus; it communicated frequently with the contractors to ensure a snag-free delivery.
The pandemic gave 4Space various challenges to overcome.
“Long-distance communication was necessary to manage contractors in Saudi Arabia. International product deliveries were also a challenge due to reduced shipping and logistics,” Alsahin says.
MATERIAL & FURNITURE
4Space has chosen multi-texture materials and used polished oakwood, steel, leather, and terrazzo throughout. The colours chosen are calm vintage hues of pink and green. Various complementary-coloured neon signs adorn the walls, and verdant plants hang fluidly from the beamed ceilings.
The furniture is minimalistic, and much has been taken from the collection of Interior360 General Trading, a Dubai-based specialist in quality indoor and outdoor hospitality furniture. Two handcrafted banquette seating arrangements are shaped like oversized bunny-ears cacti in pink leather.
The contemporary and ultra-modern design encourages interaction between people and on social media. The eye-catching façade and retro branding which was designed by the 4Space branding team is a significant statement on a busy sand-coloured Riyadh street.