The Lighthouse Café in Dubai served as the ultimate dining hub at Downtown Design 2021
Lighthouse Café
Photo Credit: Alex Jeffries

The Lighthouse Café in Dubai served as the ultimate dining hub at Downtown Design 2021

The café seeks inspiration from Virgina Woolf’s popular novel, To the Lighthouse

by STIRpad
Published on : Nov 15, 2021

Operated by the prominent Dubai District, The Lighthouse Cafe created by Lulie Fisher was a point of convergence for the design community to unwind and network at Downtown Design 2021. Set across the scenic waterfront, the welcoming interiors encourages one to linger and socialise whilst rousing the senses by the use of colour, patterns and texture. “The exhibition stands tend to focus on what sits on the floor. We focused on what happens above the floor,” says the Design Director & Founder of her eponymous design studio. A proliferation of suspended elements including reflective metal discs, pendant lighting and planters transforms the 160sqm restaurant into a magical and kaleidoscopic environment and curtains layered at various heights provide intrigue and subtle zoning.

Interior view of Lighthouse Café Image:Alex Jeffries

The café, inspired by Virgina Woolf’s novel 'To the Lighthouse' and her Bloomsbury Set contemporaries who met over ‘lingering breakfasts’ and ‘painting lunches.’ The nature of the design task – ‘beg, borrow, steal’, is complementary to the studio’s playful, eclectic and colourful approach to design enabled them to create an exciting design experience comprised of a series of playful moments for spontaneous retail, casual yet indulgent dining and a haven for the exhibition-goer’s weary feet.

A tall, patterned and coloured mosaic feature wall acts as a backdrop to the servery counter and is designed to be seen from a distance and to pack a punch. It's rich colour palette complements the innovative Mediterranean-inspired dishes that The Lighthouse is renowned for.

Lighthouse Café Image:Alex Jeffries

Key joinery items include a 6m long bar counter clad in matching mosaics and topped by a timber canopy providing a zone for suspending the menu and lighting and anchoring the bar in place under the voluminous tented exhibition roof; a loosely stacked configuration of retail display boxes designed as a sculptural piece and to be accessed from all sides, and a large central tiled and upholstered banquette island unit as a central seating feature.

Mirrors layered along the ceiling at the Lighthouse Café Image:Alex Jeffries

“You cannot light a mirror, you must light what the mirror sees,” says Courtney Mark, Design Director & Founder of Studio Mark. Lighting layers work collectively in the background and create a sense of visual hierarchy and modelling of forms. “As the day moves into night, diners look up and transcend into a world of infinite reflective viewing angles,” she says. Additional layers of light are provided by grazer mounted to the top of the truss that focuses the light on the ceiling of the tent above. Creating a subtle visual beacon within the tent; reminiscent of the light of a “lighthouse”. “Decorative pendants and table lamps provide a human scale and tactile touch that reinforces a sense of gathering,” shares the designer.


The Lighthouse Café Downtown Design 2021 Designed by Lulie Fisher Design Studio; Studio Mark Lighting Design, Constructed by MNK Interiors

Manufacturers and suppliers: Trend, Kvadrat, Planters, Pegasus, Consentino

Forms and Surfaces: Huda Lighting, Interior 360, Superstudio, Next space, Jotun and Squisito.


Comments Added Successfully!

Sign up for our newsletter

Know all that's NEW in the world of Design, Architecture and Art.

Get your own newsroom

Brands, Galleries, Designers and Event organisers, write in!