La Petite Cafe: an Emphasis on the Inner and Outer Spaces

BONE Studio

La Petite, an intimate haven with a sense of coherence and an equal emphasis on the inner and outer spaces. 

After operating for several years, the neighborhood café — La Petite, situated in the oasis city of Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, intended on reinventing itself to organically integrate the brand, offerings, and space to its environment. 

Redeveloping its purpose and identity with Hint Creative, translating the concept through its menu with chef consultant Ashley Wentling, the transformation began. 

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 the course 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. 

Project info:

Location: Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Typology: Commercial
Usage: Café
Outdoor Area: 100 sqm
Completion Date: March 2019 Contractor: Fusion 

About the Designer: Bone Studio

Bone is a nomadic studio, blurring the threshold between form and function. The team starts by rejecting all conventional design stereotypes, freely exploring, yet methodically studying every theoretical and tangible aspect of design.
The approach breaks away from the expected and perceived function, as Bone designs novel spaces that can functionally and aesthetically serve different functions – reinterpreting the way common spaces are defined.

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