Natural and Raw: Erth Restaurant in Abu Dhabi by BONE.
Erth Restaurant can be found along the glittering coastline of Abu Dhabi, in the most unlikely of places. Located in Qasr al-Hosn, a historical landmark and the oldest stone building in the city, Bone Studio was directly influenced by Emirati culinary and cultural practices.
With a wealth of architectural and cultural significance at their fingertips, the studio looked to reinterpret the conventional restaurant typology into one that accommodates the dynamic nature of the local cuisine. The approach was to create a space that celebrates cooking as performance.
The kitchen is introduced into the space as a volume with pockets revealing the inner workings and framing moments of food preparation, from baking of the tanoor bread to the preparation of traditional Emirati coffee. The volume also exhibits the essential spices and ingredients, foregrounding elements that make up the restaurant’s menu.
In the dining area, Bone revisited the traditional “sitting room” seating and reintroduced it in an elevated dining context. Spaces are carved out of a raised floor to contain seating areas, creating an experience reminiscent of this old majlis seating typology.
The choice of materials celebrates the natural and raw. The material intervention remained minimal by maintaining the site’s original concrete skeleton in the interior. The raised floor was treated as a thickened slab finished with natural clay from which seating spaces were carved out.
The kitchen volume was made with acid-washed steel and natural cut travertine; further enhancing the raw approach to composing the space. Softer elements such as fabric and plants were utilised to augment the intimacy of the space by creating areas of enclosure. In order to celebrate these elements working together, lighting was carefully curated to orchestrate ephemeral moments that allow the users to experience the subtlety of the design from daytime to evening.
In order to celebrate these elements working together, lighting was carefully curated to orchestrate ephemeral moments that allow the users to experience the subtlety of the design from daytime to evening.
The studio collaborated with local designers Aljoud Lootah, Khalid Shafar, Zuleya, Toru and Bahraini Danish to furnish the space. Pieces from these regional designers feature a playfulness that contrasts the sharp and linear nature of the site. The eclectic selection enhanced the character of the space with the use of timbers, woven fabrics and leathers.
[Images courtesy of Bone Studio.]