Cocktail Kitchen, a new restaurant and bar concept has opened in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) with interior architecture rich in materiality, designed to enhance an ethos of detailed discretion and contemporary craft. Interior architect, Tarik Al Zaharna of t.zed architects sat down with Made Journal to tell us more.
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Can you introduce us to Cocktail Kitchen?

Cocktail Kitchen is the final project I completed with Jonathan Ashmore while I was director and co-founder at Anarchitect. It is a restaurant – bar that brings together the culinary skills of a chef as well as the specialist skills of a mixologist. The client’s vision for the venue revolved around the notion of ‘sharing’ – this included a more social dining experience but also sharing a platform of mixologists and chefs to fuse their creations seamlessly together. We responded to a brief that called for a social space that continually intrigues guests to return to the venue time and again.

web-Cocktail-Kitchen-Made-Journal-Sandra-Tinari-8893-2web-Cocktail-Kitchen-Made-Journal-Sandra-Tinari-8891-2You’ve said craftsmanship and materiality were a key focus of the project. Can you tell us more?

We have created a space that is rich in materiality and diversity of experiences. Through use of oak – both red and white, silestone quartz and bush-hammered light grey Piasentina stone, we created the main dining space of Cocktail Kitchen. Other more discrete areas use materials such as emerald onyx to create a feature bar in the ‘Backroom’, and a European walnut for the martini bar base and a domino larch floor to direct visitors to the amenities area. Details are consistent and an important challenge to tackle was the way in which to detail areas where two materials meet.

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It is a large venue but you seem to transfer seamlessly through the space. How was this achieved?

Materiality and craft details were crucial in ensuring that each area transitions seamlessly into the next, while offering different experiences without compromising craft.

The main 15me white quartz main bar is extended even further by a ‘cold prep’ counter near the main kitchen.  Although similar in materiality, they operate differently by offering two varied types of drinking and dining experiences. The brief required users to feel ‘at home’ at Cocktail Kitchen and so it was important to provide a hierarchy of spaces that allowed users to transition from very open and public areas, to more private, quieter spaces. To one side of the main bar is a martini bar where guests are able to enjoy a cocktail and martini-making experience, while on the opposite end a ‘domestic’ experience is provided as guests make their way to the ‘Backroom’ and toilets. The outdoor area is enclosed with red oak slats for privacy, however natural light enters through a glazed section at the top of the partition. For this reason, the long deep venue still receives an abundance of natural daylight during the day.

Despite the material change, the eclectic materiality is tied together through details and craft. These details, as well as visual vistas reveal themselves upon visiting the venue several times, and as the space ceremonially reveals itself to users accessing it through either of the two main entrances.
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What’s next for T-Zed Architects?

As always, the future is bright and we are preparing for it. We have recently grown the T.ZED Architects team and have relocated to larger offices to accommodate this. We have been working on exciting ventures with our friends at Fikra Design Studio and have decided to partner up as a result of aligned visions in both of our respective fields in Architecture, Interior Architecture and Graphic Design. One interesting project that came out of this collaboration is one that revolves around our current workspace. We look forward to revealing this at the end of 2016. At the same time, we have grown our list of international clients while maintaining firm involvement in the local market.

Photography by Sandra Tinari, Made Journal

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