Fire of Brazil

Inoui's restaurant design exudes warmth, cosiness and an elegant interpretation of nature's finest materials.

Bamboo poles add interest to the ceiling.
Bamboo poles add interest to the ceiling.

Packed with natural materials and heavy textures, the interior design of restaurant Fire of Brazil in Bahrain's Seef Mall provides a sensory overload. Adapted from the existing Fire of Brazil concept restaurant in the USA, Inoui Designs was asked by the client to take the original design and inject an upmarket feel into it. Hamad Janahi, general manager, Inoui, tells CID: "The idea was to turn a casual style restaurant to a 5 star quality dining experience by making it more lavish."

The 650m² space was divided up into different areas to visually segregate the floor area and make the restaurant appear larger through a clever use of islands and raised areas.

The entrance and waiting lounge accounts for 40m², while the kitchen takes up almost 30% of the floorplan, with 170m² allocated to it. A raised dining area of 65m² sits above the remainder of the general dining space and bar area.

Once the space was divided up, Janahi explains the next challenge lay in the logistics of retaining the same feel of the restaurant's American counterpart in terms of the types of materials used, overall style and atmosphere while consciously upgrading the design to a higher level.

He says: "The original Fire of Brazil design used a lot of bamboo and stones giving it a more casual atmosphere in the space. The challenge was in using the same materials to create a different ambiance where cosy, dimmed and elegant dining is experienced."

A striking ceiling installation uses branches of bamboo laid between sturdy dark stained beams, uplit at irregular intervals with spotlights. The naturally knotted wood adds depth and a warm hue to the ceiling as the light bounces off the beige and brown poles.

Inoui complemented the bamboo ceiling with a range of natural materials such as jute and rattan furniture teamed with a light cream upholstery. All the furniture, chairs, the waiting-lounge sofas, in addition to the bar lighting, floor lighting and corner hanging lights were all custom-made in Indonesia by a company called Pronabon.

Inoui provided the manufacturers with the materials, finishes and size specifications for every item and despite the distance between designer, project and artisans, the finished imported products were all perfect for the space.

Other light fittings for the space were supplied and custom made in Bahrain by Lightex exclusively for Fire of Brazil. Bulbs placed in circular balls of twine make interesting light fixtures as do the curved light installations fixed to the pillars that are designed to look like tree trunks. The lighting concept is deliberately subdued and conducive to fine dining, rather than the harsh glare so often attributed to mall eateries.

The flooring is predominantly a vinyl rough timber finish flooring, while the rest of the dining area is clad in rough finish porcelain tiles. Janahi adds: "We also used decorative concrete flooring in the central area. We were fortunate to be able to locally source all the flooring from regional suppliers."

In keeping with its American sibling, and to ensure that the design lived upto the restaurant's name, fire is a key element in the design as Janahi explains: "Fire itself is used to create a special effect and the fireplace is positioned in the central area as a main feature and important element in the restaurant."

Domed extractors are placed above the individual fire islands and the same finishing effect is echoed in the design of all elements, such as the pendant and wall lights to guarantee harmony within the interior design.

Another way Inoui ensured design consistency is by using circles throughout. From the domes, to the twine ball lights, to the large light rings above certain circular dining tables, by repeating the same shape the design is pulled tightly together.

Inoui started its first drafts of the design in January 2007 and the construction started in June 2007 and was completed just three months later in September 2007. The budget for the whole construction, furniture and accessories is in the region of AED2million.

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