Yachar Bouhaya and Sophia Sebti combine wood, stone, and greenery to create Zen-inspired interiors for Lily’s Cuisine in Casablanca

Facing the Atlantic Ocean, the restaurant formerly known as La Mer was regarded as a gastronomic institution in Casablanca. Moroccan-based architect and interior designer, Yachar Bouhaya, has teamed up with Sophia Sebti Architects to convert the iconic outlet into a high-end Asian restaurant, Lily’s Cuisine Asiatique.

Photo: Alessio Mei.

“Designing a trendy restaurant while avoiding literality in the Asian atmosphere was our golden thread,” says Bouhaya. “The client is a professional entrepreneur who worked in the hospitality field in the South of France and Shanghai before opening three restaurants on the Casablanca shoreline. His brief was to create a high-end restaurant specialised in Southwest Asian cuisine with Nobu or Hakkasan – the well-known Japanese restaurants – as benchmarks.”

Photo: Alessio Mei.

Bouhaya explains that the conversion of the restaurant was carried out almost as a “stage design”.

“We divided the space into cinematic sequences, as we wanted to create a memorable experience from the moment [guests] step in,” he says.

He explains that locally-sourced materials and local craftsmanship were integral to the design of Lily’s.

“Lily’s is spread over three plateaus similar to paddy fields, running down to the sea. Each elevation and roof connects with water, vegetation, and sky in a wooded, warm, and mineral space,” he says. “A radical redevelopment of this space was conceived in such a way as to fuse the vegetation with the views
towards the sky and the ocean.”

Photo by Doublespace Photography.

The team also took into consideration operational fundamentals, such as dimmable lighting to set the right ambience, seat and table heights in different areas, as well as a good workflow for the wait staff to and from the kitchen. Guest comfort was paramount to the design team, as Bohuya concludes.

 

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