Tasked with delivering a new specialty coffee concept in the heart of the Al Wasl Road, Dubai-based design agency, Studio EM were appointed as the lead design consultant for both the interior and the brand identity for Alchemy.
Using the architecture of the villa premises, where it is located, as the backdrop, Studio EM sought to create an environment that was inspired by the tranquil, cosy and simplistic nature of the Danish concept of hygge.
Taking its cues from minimalist Scandinavian design, Studio EM interior design team led by Nicola Fahy and Jasmine Armaly, decided that the keyword for this project was, restraint and a pared down space.
Nicola Fahy, head of F&B design at Studio EM comments: “At Alchemy, the coffee is the hero, it’s a rare concept in that it only focuses on one single thing, great coffee. It’s the ultimate space for coffee aficionados and connoisseurs alike. With that in mind and the brief of creating a Scandinavian backdrop, we wanted to deliver a concept that was simple, clean and a space where the luxury component was the space available for the coffee to stand alone as the main attraction.”
Within the space, the central coffee counter in its geometric form stands out as the most dramatic design statement within the space. The sheer contrast of this element with its edges, form and boldness is juxtapositioned with the soft backdrop of the rest of the space.
The balance of the space is further emphasised by the herringbone floor, this element was created to connect the counter to the rest of the seating area, so as to avoid a disconnect of the space. Lighting was a big consideration. Fahy says: “With the predominant glass façade creating a bright and warm environment during the day, we created a lighting design that acted both as a design feature and one that would harness nature's gift of light during the day and yet compliment it during the evening, transforming the space from day to night.”
Studio EM branding director, Neil Baker, oversaw the development of the brand identity. “With the name, Alchemy, it was easy to fall into the realms of creating something cliché for the brand. Like the interiors, we sought the use of restraint, in order to give a nod to the concept of Alchemy and the Alchemist, but not to oversell the concept. The branding and interiors have to speak to each other and in the end, we think they do this beautifully. The conversation is calm, serene, delicate yet pronounced and bold”