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
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.
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.