Owners of Brunswick Sports Club discuss how functionality inspired the design

Following the launch of their first licensed venue in Dubai, Tom Arnel and Sergio Lopez discuss how functionality and the surroundings have inspired the pared-back design of their new sports bar.

Brunswick Sports Club is the latest opening by Bull & Roo Hospitality and Investments duo Tom Arnel and Sergio Lopez. Launched earlier this year in March 2016 at the Sheraton Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Brunswick Sports Club is also Arnel and Lopez’s first licensed venue.

The concept behind the 124-seat Brunswick Sports Club, Arnel and Lopez told Hotelier Middle East, is a laid-back, casual sports bar, where all feel comfortable, whether they are wearing shorts or a business suit.


“We both set out to create a licensed venue, where we would both like to go,” Arnel begins. “We are not really nightclub people. We don’t like to go to places that are too dark and dingy. We wanted to create a place that was inviting, casual, cool, light, airy, homey, laid-back. Somewhere we’d go to and fit in that isn’t pretentious or glamorous.”

Across their concepts, Arnel adds, the Bull & Roo design philosophy is “no gimmicks, nothing forced, and taking inspiration from the surroundings”.

The bar’s name comes from the Brunswick district in Melbourne, known for its independent retail and F&B venues. The Melbourne spot was also Arnel and Lopez’s initial inspiration for the concept and design.


“Brunswick”, Arnel tells us, “really epitomises the arty, foodie lifestyle culture. There’s not a franchise in sight.”

The design brief for Brunswick Sports Club fell to Melbourne-based design team The Residency Studios. “We looked for the best design team around Australia,” says Arnel. “These guys helped us come up with a concept, styled around an old-school Melbourne boxing gym.”

According to Lopez, the decision to employ an agency outside of Dubai was driven by the desire for “a different eye and a different perspective”. Inspiration also came from Brooklyn in New York.


Once The Residency Studios had created an initial concept and design, Arnel and Lopez employed locally-based designer Julian Floyd, founder and creative director of Yamjam Studio.

Talking to Commercial Interior Design magazine, Floyd said his aim was to create “a very effortless stripped, raw, urban interior that not only complimented the sports bar offer but continued Bull & Roo’s hipster style and brand. The key elements of the space were led by working with the existing potential of the site”.

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