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Designing SA restaurant to fit Dubai lifestyle

Specialist hospitality interior design agency, Design Partnership, recently worked on the new Tashas store in Dubai - the first Tashas restaurant to open internationally.
An example of Tashas interior design and decor.<br>Image:
An example of Tashas interior design and decor.
Image: Design Partnership
"The idea was to replicate the South African inspired interior for the first international store," says Neydine Bak, lead designer on the project. "The feel we are going for is warm, friendly, comfortable, light and breezy, but with a slight local twist. The colonial style of the Gateway branch will be a benchmark for the store in suburban Dubai."

Although the South African inspired interior is what drives the design for Tashas Dubai, the style needs to be localised just enough to meet the lifestyle and aesthetic expectations of the local market. Design Partnership's solution was to preserve brand authenticity through the soft and neutral pallet, whilst introducing minor tasteful design adaptations.

"The look and feel of the interior will remain true to the sophistication of the brand, but we will need to introduce just the right amount of glamour," observes Bak. The expatriate lifestyle that focuses heavily on high-end consumables and products, needed to be considered and accommodated accordingly. "Dubai does nothing in half measures and it is important that the display and style of the store reflects this."

In order to survive in the extremely competitive hospitality industry of Dubai, the store needed to be both a daytime café and a nighttime dining venue and Design Partnership had to factor this into their layout and colour scheme. Bak hopes to appeal to the aesthetic aspirations of the local target market, which will be suburban mothers and executives, as is the case in South Africa.

In doing so, and in staying true to brand authenticity, Adrian Morris, COO of Design Partnership, ensured that the primary material selection remained consistent with solid timbre, brass, greenery and marble, all of which was shipped in from South Africa. Functional objects such as cutlery and crockery were locally sourced. The intention is to introduce a hint of South African flare to Dubai and as a result, the works of unique South African designers are showcased in the interior.

The Design Partnership team is impressed by the workmanship of local shopfitters and builders. Morris notes that if Famous Brands opens more Tashas stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the intention would be to procure local UAE shop fitters and builders.

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