Kawasaki Café, Dubai: Vec­tor De­sign LLC

Napoleon D’souza, CEO, Vec­tor De­sign LLC, dis­cusses the de­sign con­cept of Kawasaki Cafe and chal­lenges of con­vert­ing an of­fice premise into a re­tail out­let-cum-café

MGS Architecture - - Restaurant Design & Lighting -

The idea of Kawasaki café came about af­ter the own­ers of Lib­erty mo­tors (who have the agency for Kawasaki bikes) saw the bik­ers’ café at Jumeirah as a suc­cess­ful busi­ness ven­ture. Hav­ing the agency for the Kawasaki bike in the UAE, they set out on es­tab­lish­ing the Kawasaki café. Ini­tially there was a de­signer (con­sul­tant) who came up with ba­sic con­cep­tual plans, af­ter many rounds of dis­cus­sions, we came up with 3D ren­dered plans get­ting the con­cept to re­al­ity

The ini­tial de­sign and con­cept was pro­vided by the client and we mod­i­fied and fine-tuned the de­sign from our end. The com­plete ex­e­cu­tion was done by Vec­tor De­sign LLC, only kitchen equip­ment was sup­plied and in­stalled by another com­pany.

Ma­te­ri­als used in the in­te­ri­ors

The ma­te­ri­als used are mainly Gyp­sum (pop) glass par­ti­tions, Feno­mas­tic paint, Mdf wood, chrome frames for fur­ni­ture, ce­ment screed with mi­cro top­ping and tiles in the kitchen and wash­room. The big­gest chal­lenge in the whole project was the screed­ing as it is on the first floor with big show­room on the lower level which was op­er­a­tional while ex­e­cut­ing this project. The screed had to be pumped with spe­cial trucks from the back side of the build­ing as the front is the main road with an op­er­a­tional auto show­room. Be­sides this the ex­ist­ing slab is post ten­sion slab so the screed had to be of a par­tic­u­lar weight and thick­ness.

Shop fit outs

The shop fit outs are mainly dis­play cab­i­nets for the Kawasaki hel­mets, jack­ets and ac­ces­sories. The cen­ter dis­play units have a float­ing ef­fect us­ing a raised plat­form and LED strip lights. For the café area, we have made dis­play and kitchen coun­ters. All fur­ni­ture in the café area is cus­tom-built to fit in with the theme of Bik­ers café us­ing a lot of chrome and wood. The wall and win­dow graph­ics add the fin­ish­ing touch to the whole café.

For the floor­ing we used light­weight ce­ment screed with a mi­cro top­ping epoxy. This is a spe­cial type of epoxy which gives the floor an in­dus­trial look but with a sheen on top to give it an ex­pen­sive look

All fix­tures were done in our own join­ery keep­ing the Kawasaki colour and theme in mind and per the fi­nal ren­dered de­sign. This in­volved hel­met dis­plays / cloth­ing dis­play units / cen­tre dis­play stands/ cus­tom café seat­ing / café coun­ters etc.

Im­por­tance of Light­ing

The light­ing we have used is a Euro­pean make LED track lights to high­light cer­tain facets of the in­te­ri­ors like the mer­chan­dised dis­plays etc. These track and spot lights have been used over all in the café area as well to keep with the con­sis­tency and theme of the place.

For cre­at­ing the de­sired am­biance we mainly used pen­dant and track light­ing. The color of light is a

com­bi­na­tion of day­light and warm lights. The ex­te­rior, of­ten, is a ne­glected area of an es­tab­lish­ment. More of­ten than not clients just use huge halo­gen lamps which do not do any jus­tice to the ex­te­ri­ors. Nowa­days, lights are used to do a white wash of the build­ing which re­ally make the build­ing stand out.

Not only for restau­rants but in any place light­ing plays a stel­lar role in bring­ing out the best in the in­te­ri­ors. Dif­fer­ent color of lights (warm, white or day light etc.) tend to high­light ar­eas that one would like to fo­cus on. In fact, I would con­fi­dently state that light­ing can also down­play and de­stroy a very well done in­te­rior set­ting if not prop­erly ad­dressed.

Chal­lenges

The chal­lenges we had on this project were mainly the lo­ca­tion of the build­ing, as well as the per­mis­sions. As the build­ing is orig­i­nally an of­fice premise and to con­vert that into a café with a re­tail store was a chal­lenge, this per­mis­sion was the sole re­spon­si­bil­ity of the own­ers and be­ing In­te­rior De­sign­ers/ fit out con­trac­tors that does not fall in our scope of work.

Once the ap­provals were ob­tained by the own­ers which took a good 4-5 months, we then had to go through other for­mal­i­ties of get­ting the Civil de­fence and other nec­es­sary reg­u­la­tory ap­provals. The au­thor­i­ties had to come and do a build­ing in­spec­tion as the build­ing was an old one and the slab was a post ten­sion slab which needs more at­ten­tion due to weight bear­ing re­stric­tions

The big­gest chal­lenge we had at the site was to do the screed­ing, as the lo­ca­tion of the café is on the first floor and the build­ing is within 50 mts of the metro line, which means that no heavy duty con­struc­tion ve­hi­cles are al­lowed to park on the front side (RTA re­stric­tions). We now had to get the ce­ment mix­ers and pour the ce­ment from the back side of the build­ing, and this was another is­sue, as the back side is not open and is con­nected to some other build­ing’s park­ing lot. Af­ter sev­eral rounds of re­quests with the other land­lord, we fi­nally got ap­proval to use his park­ing but only af­ter 9.00 PM. A huge open­ing was made on the win­dow side and we man­aged to get the ce­ment screed poured. Once screed­ing was done, the job took more or less 90 days to com­plete as this in­volved the re­tail side of the show­room (Kawasaki ac­ces­sories) and also the café side of the busi­ness

Dur­ing the ex­e­cu­tion we had to mod­ify and make sev­eral changes to the orig­i­nal plans based on re­quests from the clients and also reg­u­la­tory au­thor­i­ties.

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