Project Name: Cubano Lito
Location: DWTC, Dubai
Date Completed: October 2016
Interior Designer: Paul Bishop

A casual, comfortable yet exciting and diverse addition to Dubai’s nightlife scene, thoroughly enjoyed by all who experience it. The client brief, as set out by the Accor group in collaboration with DWTC, was to create and establish a casual bar offering that would appeal to its immediate established clientele staying within the hotel and in addition frequented and popularized by an external dedicated patronage. The venue is located in DWTC (Dubai World Trade Centre Area) which is the country’s leading event venue and the largest event and exhibition centre in the region. Cubano Lito provides a welcoming, comfortable, and enjoyable escape from the busy location in which it is set. A place that both the local workers and tourists can relax and refuel.

As per the brief the venue was to be casual, comfortable, visually dynamic yet approachable and understated. It was to embrace the narrative of a dishevelled Cuban interior harkening the language and sentiments of this vibrant culture and its people, however avoiding becoming faux and thematic. Music and dance was to be a focal point for the venue, therefore a stage and dance floor became main considerations. This also meant that internal layouts had to be thoughtfully approached in order to meet these requirements. It was made clear from the onset that the venue was to have a high degree of sound-proofing therefore ceilings and walls were to be carefully treated as the venue required acoustic ceiling tiles to cover over 80% of its surface finishing. Bishop Design’s solution was to intelligently disguise and enhance this through the application of a tea-washed stain, creating an authentic worn out look.

The space required planning to ultimately allow for maximum interaction between guests accommodating various dining and bar experiences which would cater to the end user’s needs. The differing areas were to maintain a synergy between them, allowing each space to be physically and visually connected so as to ultimately enhance the guest experience. It was also required to have an eclectic array of furnishings and interior styling offering up a relaxed yet fun and sophisticated environment celebrating all that is Cuban achieved through its cuisine, music, drinks and ultimately its interior – offering its Clientele to experience nightlife in a new and unique atmosphere.

The main bar takes centre stage becoming the designs focal point as one enters through the threshold. Visual layers were achieved through the use of differing seating scenarios and furniture types from high-tops, dining, through to lounge arrangements allowing for the dynamic sight lines to be established. The space was carefully and thoughtfully conceived not only in the variety of seating types and spatial layers, however it managed to incorporate all requirements desired such as performance stage, rum library, and a versatile spontaneous dance area.

Cubano Lito is approachable, versatile, visually dynamic, colourful yet possesses a charming feel achieved by its intelligent interior styling, decorative array of lighting and furniture all enhanced and possessing an inherent Cuban celebration. The space allows for a beautiful interaction of visual, physical, and virtual scenarios as the space is also animated through the performance of a live Cuban three piece allowing the clientele to use every millimetre of the space to interact and express themselves within. Colour dominates within creating a myriad of tonal shades and differing colour palettes from the hard material finishing, decorative surfaces and upholstery. All lighting and fans were sourced from origin and perfectly harmonize the interior. The dominating red and blue throughout the space represent the national colours of Cuba.