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Aji restaurant, an intimate 1300 square-feet bar, and restaurant interior design that showcases Nikkei cuisine and hospitality were shortlisted for Restaurant Global Award in “The International Hotel and Property Awards 2018”. Celebrating the crossing of two cultures with reference to heritage and presenting them in a contemporary, relevant scheme, Keane Brands captured the mixed DNA of the centuries-old Nikkei tradition and blending quintessentially Japanese and unmistakably Peruvian elements.
Aji is a large restaurant taking up units 6 & 7 of the Club Vista Mare project with a Peruvian theme, separate lounge, private dining room area, large terrace with external lounge bar and Ceviche counter for preparing & serving Sushi. Designed by Keane Brands, engineered by Ted Jacobs and project managed by Compass Project Management, a dedicated team worked together to deliver the finished space incorporating the Design changes achieving the desired quality level.
There were numerous challenges which ISG overcame with Nakheel including close coordination with the main contractor to plan the roof works given the limited space. In particular, the air handling units had to be re-designed into the ceiling void as well as sharing the risers with the neighboring restaurants being fitted out at the same time.
Alongside the spacious terrace with external bar, the 940m2 restaurant comprises separate bar and lounge, and main dining area with an open-plan ceviche and sushi counter and private dining room.
One of the most looked forward features in the restaurant is a colorful mural in the bar area portraying a Peruvian woman. There is a second similar mural in the main dining area, which acts as a statement piece seen from a private dining room.
Besides the wall art, Keane Brands came up with brilliant lighting features ideas. with 3 custom made glass chandeliers in the middle of the bar room, in a way to give more vertical space and reinforce the height by dropping the lower furniture in the center and higher booths on the sides.
The upholstery selected for the restaurant seating area has a mix of different levels of textures, such as metallic leathers and patterned upholstery, in a response to match the FF&E requested.
Throughout the restaurant interior decor, Keane Brands combined timber flooring with simple Japanese engravings. The main floor tiles throughout the restaurant have an elaborate pattern inspired by Latin America and were manufactured locally, in Dubai’s Al Quoz industrial area.
The lounge is situated between the bar and the main restaurant, connecting the two spaces. Ají is also fitted out with a glass-enclosed private dining room area, overlooking the main restaurant. To create a more secluded and intimate ambiance in this room, Keane Brands specifically focused on the lighting.
The spacious dining area features long tables with wooden tops and industrial-looking benches with black metal frames, which are contrasted by ornate upholstery. With different seating and dining arrangements, space can accommodate various groups of diners.
The outdoor area is shared with six other restaurants, and the designers were fairly restricted regarding what could be done. They demarked the area with planters and furniture, incorporating the upholstery with a traditional Peruvian feel to it.
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