The Brewer Smith Brewer Group (BSBG)-designed 5-star JA Lake View Hotel is the focal point of our Hotel Design series. The second part of this series focuses on another F&B outlet – the Gastro Lounge, located on the first floor level within the south wing of the hotel. Central to the design concept for this lounge is an aspirational notion that seeks to dissolve the boundary between interior designed space and the outdoors; achieved through the flow and continuity of architectural elements, materiality and features. Senior Interior Designer Alia Soufan guides us through the concept in this second installment of our Hotel Design series.
JA Lake View Hotel’s natural setting makes for a unique context in Dubai, where guests immediately feel connected with their surroundings and the natural world – the adjacent verdant greens, fairways, trees and lakes of the golf course, and the ocean backdrop complete with uninterrupted views towards the horizon. This tranquil and authentic setting provided the inspiration for the language of design and the narrative throughout the hotel development. A connection with the outdoors reiterates as a constant theme within the architectural detailing of JA Lake View Hotel, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Gastro Lounge.First and foremost, the design serves to accomplish the client’s objective of creating a stylish, social bar, and a relaxed family friendly environment that is flexible, welcoming and comfortable. But also, as the Gastro Lounge opens up on to the hotel’s terrace, beyond which is the swimming pool, landscaping, golf course, and finally the ocean, we were compelled to explore the way in which we could create an authentic flow between these elements and the venue itself. We achieved this using materiality and colour.
When looking out from this remarkable location, an array of colours, a feeling of serenity and a sentimentality for nature penetrate the senses all at once. We accommodate these powerful impressions by introducing and connecting the guest to them. Subtle earth tones provide the basis for the scheme, with a selection of accent colours, such as shades of blue and green, chosen because of their connection to the immediate environment.
The Gastro Lounge is divided into three emotive spaces. Although these spaces are divergent, the end user perception is one of continuity, stimulated by a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor areas. This is defined by an intricately staged flow and cohesion between these three main areas: the interior restaurant and bar, the outdoor terrace, and the secondary ‘overflow area’ – which effectively serves as an extension of the outdoor terrace, further enhanced by landscaping components.
“Although the spaces are divergent, the end user perception is one of continuity, stimulated by a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor areas.”
The three areas are architecturally wrapped – from ceiling, to wall, to floor. The wrap begins as an outdoor aluminium canopy element, flowing into a timber ceiling as it moves inside, continuing through the walls and moving to the floor in the form of natural stone. The architectural flow of this wrapping element is communicated through divergent materiality that depends upon the location.
The interior space contains the bar area, a feature wall (complete with recessed television screens) and restaurant seating space flooded with natural light. The use of a variety of natural materials and raw elements portrays a very honest form of architecture – authentic, welcoming and warm.The bar becomes the focal point of the space as the end user enters from the hotel lobby. The journey from the entry point is a key feature of the design here. We emphasise the bar as a standout decorative element for the guest as they move past a crafted display cabinet along the corridor, which then transitions into the open restaurant space. The bar provides an immediately eye-catching backdrop and becomes the inviting final destination.We incorporate plants and greenery throughout the predominantly timber interior space, combining with wicker furniture and natural stone flooring to provide a rustic and homely quality, adding clarity to the indoor/outdoor connection. As the interior transitions to the terrace, the depth of this connection develops further…
A boundary between indoors and outside is marked by full-height glazed folding doors. These allow air flow and an abundance of natural light inside, and are fully retractable for the cooler months – allowing the architectural language to extend outdoors. As one ventures across this delicate boundary to the terrace, a sense of natural continuity is communicated through the aforementioned wrapping. The timber backlit ceiling immediately transitions into an aluminium canopy; the unique grid pattern preserved with its irregular arrangement of rectangular and square configurations – with change only through materiality.*Reference imagery from research/development phase
“An exquisite setting for social occasions – shaded and enclosed, but inviting and comfortable.”
This canopy provides shading to the terrace from the Sun, and as the dappled shadows cast across the stone flooring, attention is drawn immediately to the tile grid arrangement, which mirrors the pattern from above with flawless precision. A subtle touch, but this expression of continuity reinforces the distinctive flow between spaces. The terrace, while retaining a visual connection with the interior, is botanical and intimate – an exquisite setting for social occasions – shaded and enclosed, but inviting and comfortable.
This extended area has been crafted in such a way that the surrounding landscape becomes part of the design through integration. Trees are incorporated into the design by the wrapped high tables and seating, which creates a unique feature. The third space rests beyond the terrace and acts as the confluence between the venue, the landscape and swimming pool beyond.This space creates a point of interest and a welcoming entry point to the venue for guests from the pool area, while simultaneously encouraging guests from the interior space to move outside – the final expression of the aspirational flow and fundamental connection between indoors and outside.