Pallavi Dean Interiors’ first restaurant in Sharjah combines European designs with local craftsmanship

Pallavi Dean Interiors has designed its first restaurant concept, fusing local craftsmanship with European design sensibility.

Located in Sharjah’s Al Qasba area, the design of the 500m2 Lebanese restaurant Shababeek, is created using a ‘fusion’ concept that combines a variety of styles and elements, with influences ranging from the Gulf’s wildlife, French fashion, to Roman and Islamic architecture.

The design firm was commissioned by Her Highness Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, to refurbish the existing space into an outlet that would raise the bar for the restaurant scene across the northern emirate.

While the existing Lebanese restaurant was already an established dining venue in the city, the design had become outdated. Pallavi Dean Interiors worked  in close collaboration with Lebanese celebrity chef Maroun Chedid; Sheikha Bodour’s hospitality consultant Zohra Qureish, and graphic designers Two Thirds to create a comprehensive design that integrated all parts of the restaurant, including the interiors, the menus, uniforms, tableware, and branding.

The space features a neutral colour palette with bursts of lush green, with brushed brass accents.

“Of all the elements I love about this restaurant, it’s the quality of the work produced by local artists
and craftsmen that gives me the most joy,” said Pallavi Dean, founder and design director.

“There’s always a danger when you put European designer furniture such as Vitra, Mooi and so on next
to locally made pieces that the void in quality sticks out like a sore thumb. Not in Shababeek.

She continued: “Much of the joinery is by a third-generation carpenter from Rajasthan who’s based in Sharjah; the trolley was partly designed in our studio with the help of an Emirati intern called Alya, and custom made right here in Sharjah.”

An olive tree dominates the restaurant lobby – a nod to the importance of olives and olive oil in Lebanese culinary- and stands beside a street-vending trolley, inspired by traditional traders in Beirut.

A series of birds flock towards the olive tree, represented in the custom-designed wallpaper . The digital collage, created by Dubai-based art collective, The Attic, also includes images of plants and trees found in the Levant and the Gulf region.

Other nods to nature are included in the flamingo lights by Vibia which allude to the abstract forms of birds in flight, as well as the perch floor lights by Moooi that flanks the booths.

The main dining area contrasts European designer furniture from brands, such as Vitra and Thonet, and custom-made benches and tables by local carpenters, which have been upholstered in a workshop in Sharjah.

Roman and Islamic architectural elements can also be found within the design, both of which have been prevalent in Lebanon for 2,000 years. The arched windows are inspired by classical Roman architecture, while the delicate plaster moulding patterns utilise abstract Islamic geometry.

French ceramicists Faiencerie Georges were commissioned to create a series of 20 plates featuring hand-painted window illustrations, depicting typical window designs found across the Arab world.

Natural materials that form the base palette, such as rattan, wood and local aggregate in the terrazzo flooring, reference Chef Maroun’s artisanal approach to the menu.

Finally, a Parisian style is injected through the ornately bevelled rows of mirrors and patterned terrazzo
flooring. Both are a used as a subtle nod to the Parisian style of the 1920s Art Deco era.

In the bathrooms, the patterned wallpaper matches the upholstery found in the main dining room. It also features a curved mirror which wraps around the floor-standing wash basin.

In the below video, designMENA caught up with Pallavi Dean Interiors’ all-girl team.

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