Mahiki’s Tiki design ‘refined’ for Dubai elite social crowds
The opening of Mahiki in Jumeirah Beach Hotel earlier this year brought a whole new dimension to Dubai’s entertainment venues. With its London branch regularly frequented by celebrities and royals, Mahiki Dubai needed to exceed the expectations of an increasingly demanding, elite social crowd in Dubai. Consequently, “it had to be an equally unique version of its London counterpart,” said Claire Craig, design director of WA International, the interior design firm assigned to replicate Mahiki’s famous Tiki look in the emirates.
“Dubai’s expectations are very high when it comes to venues,” explains Craig. WA International’s design brief for Mahiki Dubai was based on the original Mahiki in London – a traditional Polynesian Tiki bar reminiscent of the casual beach bars found in an exotic Polynesian paradise, where it’s all about escaping to have fun in the sun.
Just as Mahiki in Mayfair has one of the most exclusive addresses in London, the iconic Jumeirah Beach Hotel provided an equally exclusive address for Mahiki Dubai. Once the 770 sq ft space in the basement of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel was selected, WA International was commissioned to transform it into the first branch outside of London, of this globally recognised entertainment outlet. Claire Craig and interior designer, Stephanie Blocher set to work designing the space to reflect a mix of “tropical jungles and balmy beaches”.
The impressive 12-m-long backlit Onyx bar is a prime example of WA’s interpretation of Mahiki, Dubai style. Craig said, “Friendly staff and great tropical drinks are also part of the key ingredients of Mahiki, and a key part of the brief was an emphasis on good service. We met this challenge head on by designing a dramatic, super long Onyx bar in the main lounge area.”
Mahiki Dibai: Unique version of its
Further into the space known as the Aloha room, WA International designed booth seats over two levels surrounding the dance floor. To achieve a centrally located dance floor, the team had to remove a major structural column from this area and add a second bar into this space, to ensure that Mahiki staff are always close by.
Throughout the space, bamboo lined walls, wicker furniture and exotic finishes are highlighted by the amber and red tones of Mahiki’s ambient lighting. Oversized Tiki masks and totems carved in wood are found throughout while Polynesian Tiki patterned prints fill the wall space. Lamps made of seashells and glass fishing floats further exemplify the fun-loving Polynesian theme. Most of the furniture was custom-made by AMBB Contractors with many of the artworks, sculptures and prints sourced from CheekyTiki London.
For the exterior entrance, WA International wanted to make a big statement. Craig said: “We designed a five-and-a-half-metre-high sunshine yellow canvas canopy supported on huge Tiki columns. The result is exactly the statement we wanted to announce Mahiki Dubai. Aloha!’’