A monolithic pink-pale plaster counter dominates the interior of this cafe in the oasis city of Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, which has been recently revamped by design studio Bone. La Petite is located in Al Ain’s Al Tiwayyah neighborhood and has been a popular food and drink spot amongst locals for several years.
Bone‘s design intent was to redefine 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. 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 coarse 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.
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.