Project Name: Waka
Location: The Oberoi Hotel, Dubai, UAE
Date Completed: March 2017
Interior Designer: Paul Bishop

A contemporary and unique Peruvian dining experience brought to Dubai. The client brief was to create an original and contemporary Peruvian dining experience with its own identity and familiarity – a place where people can be immersed in exquisite cuisine, heavenly drinks and visually engaging interiors, all originating and inspired by Peru. One of the biggest challenges Bishop Design faced was that the inherited plot consisted of a combination of various un-used spaces such as back of house areas, store rooms, meeting rooms, etc. These spaces were not built with the necessary requirements to hold a restaurant and kitchen area and had to be completely demolished and the MEP works had to be re-worked in order to allow for the technical and functional requirements of a full restaurant kitchen.

Once this was overcome, the objective was to create two independent spaces consisting of a bar/lounge opening up into a dining area. The bar was to be situated near the entrance where guests would be welcomed with a beautifully diverse cocktail menu. This area as a whole was to set the desired tone for the dining environment waiting to be experienced, therefore materials, colours, textures, and furniture were to be carefully and thoughtfully approached. It was also understood from the onset that lighting was to be an important element of the design aesthetics as it was key in setting an intimate atmosphere around the bar area which would contrast with the desired open and spacious feel of the dining space.

The main entrance is composed of an impressive and authentic wooden door leading into the casual bar/lounge area adorned with traditional Peruvian accessories, patterned fabrics and tapestries with natural rustic wall claddings. The space features an impressive ceviche counter that opens up into a visually dynamic kitchen. Ornate wrought-iron bi-folding panels divide the lounge and dining area, giving them their own identity. The dining area features artwork with strong visual connectivity, bespoke furniture, and authentic materials such as weathered bricks and patina copper. Colourful mesh light pendants hang from a dynamic timber-clad ceiling over the eclectic mix of patterns and textures. The numerous ceiling designs running through the space, such as tapered panels and double reclaimed vaulted brick claddings, create a tasteful authenticity that is rare in Dubai, as opposed to a themed experience.

The design of this venue is visually dynamic and culminates in a multitude of traditional and authentic Peruvian features enveloped in a contemporary narrative featuring a distinctive approach to elegance and comfort. Since its recent opening in March 2017 Waka has already proved an internet sensation with thanks to its unique and completely Instagram-worthy food offering curated by local renowned Chef Roberto Segura along with the diverse selection of materials and design aesthetics. This beautiful harmonization of these differing elements has culminated in a memorable space where its guests are immersed into a different culture and intriguingly unique experience. Bishop Design feel that this project is a successful embodiment of the client’s brief along with the challenges that were faced and resolved during the spatial planning phase of turning obsolete BOH areas into a functional and operational restaurant with its own spirit and charm.