April 1, 2020

A specialty cafe in the oasis city of Al Ain | La Petite


Bone is a boutique interior architecture studio currently based in Dubai and designers of La Petite, a new specialty cafe in the oasis city of Al Ain in the U.A.E. I never posted a project or home from the United Arab Emirates on the blog, if you read on and look at the pictures , you will soon find out why I loved this project.

I emailed with Natalie one of the co-founders of Bone and asked her about the project and her studio. Bone is a nomadic studio, blurring the threshold between form and function, Natalie writes. "We begin by rejecting all conventional design stereotypes, freely exploring, yet methodically studying every theoretical and tangible aspect of design. The approach breaks away from the expected and perceived function, as Bone designs novel spaces that can functionally and aesthetically serve different purposes — reinterpreting the way common spaces are defined."

I came across the project after spotting some of Frama's furniture in a picture of the neighbourhood café — La Petite after the redesign by Bone studio. Bone redefined the coffee bar’s volume as a monolithic sculpture in a cubist approach, that serves multiple functions as well as emphasizes the essential role that one plays within a space. 




Some details of La Petite
The height of the bar is depressed from a customer’s standpoint — and serves as a coffee table for guests. From a barista’s position, the bar is at working height, this allows for a fluid dynamic and unification in one’s horizontal vision.

Inspired by Al Ain’s landscapes, desert topography, the space’s seating, and working height hierarchy was shaped - allowing a diversity in seating arrangements which accommodates a direct visual connection to the garden, creating privacy and eliminating obstruction of view. The seating arrangements were derived from traditional Emirati floor majlises as well as casual, laid back cafe seating.






The selection and tonality of the materiality and treatment of surfaces epitomize the surrounding abundant desert sand, allowing the space to remain grounded in its location’s origins and create a sense of space. Mineral plasters in course and smooth finishes, soft linens, clay table lamps are complemented with the use of untreated aluminum Rivet tables and black steel Trianglo Chairs from Frama. Other furniture used is from Gervasoni, Skargaarden, Ethnicraft Table lamps are from In Common With and PS Lab, while outdoors Flos lighting is used.

The use of bi-fold glass doors accentuates the connection, creating a dialogue between the inner space and surrounding landscaping while directional light fixtures in the shop and garden mimic soft theatrical lighting silhouettes. 



Photography: Oculis Project. Dubai, United Arab Emirates