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Light Up Your Imagination



The Chic Café 302 story

August - 2020
Dharmendra Patel

Lighting has a big role to play in providing a superior dining experience for restaurant customers. Lighting not only provides the right illumination at the right places, but also enhances the effect of unique architecture and provides visual comfort- in short, functionality with theatricality.

We are proud of the work we did at Café 302, Dubai along with the LW Design team to create a very welcoming and pleasant ambience.
Cafe 302 Logo
The Chic Café story
Project name: Café 302, Arjaan Rotana, BurJuman
Lead Designers: LW Design Group
Contractors: Khansaheb Interiors


Dressed up in earth tones, the newly opened chic and friendly Café 302 at Arjaan Rotana in BurJuman, shows off a casual and easygoing ambience. Its interiors take a leaf out of the popular Rotana café chain first launched in Abu Dhabi a few years ago.

At BurJuman’s Café 302, the talented duo from LW Design Group, Mr. Vinod Pillai and Ms. Lara Janessa Mateo tweaked this model to suit the local environs. The brand creates a casual milieu with a mix of urban café and a grab n’ go which also retails premium groceries, selection of coffee beans, kitchen utensils and accessories as well.

Cafe 302 Interiors 1

Creation supplied all the light fittings and lighting control systems for this project. However, plain delivery of specified items is not the end of the road. We have Mr. Dharmendra Patel, MD Creation explain the intricacies of the process.

But first, LW’s Lighting Designer, Vinod Pillai delves into the more interesting uptake on the many shades of developing the lighting plan for this compact café.

Q. What was the brief you received to create the light plan for Café 302 of Arjaan Rotana?
Vinod Pillai (VP) “Café 302 needed to retain the casualness of an urban café and yet display the class of brand Rotana. Whilst we have used spotlights as accents on the table, the decorative lighting is the dominant feature which lends the space a degree of classy casualness one would normally associate with the brand.
The café has many sections – albeit small, but all of them are unique entities in their own right. Apart from the café, the space packs in a Grab n’ Go, retail carts, a buffet area which is operational during the day but merges with the café after dark. This variety required a flexible lighting system to start with; and a light zoning that accented each area but in a cohesive manner.”

Q. How did you execute the ‘classy yet casual’ brief through Lighting Design?
VP: We did it by creating a hierarchy within the different zones in a cohesive manner. Architectural lighting truly plays a complementary role to the dominant decorative features. We resorted to a good amount of vertical illumination to accent the architecture; and accent lighting to highlight the tables and the retail. This was achieved with careful integration of lighting into the joinery and selection and location of fittings to render them discreet.

Q. What went into selecting light fixtures to create the hip, urban feel?
VP-The dominant lighting feature in the Café 302 are its pendants which are representative of the theme – casual, warm and urban. Rest of the lighting, whilst equally important, had to be discreet in all aspects--Starting with the robust spotlights that match the RAL of the ceiling to downlights with accessories to provide maximum visual comfort all of which are truly ‘hidden’ away.

Q. What hurdles/difficulties did you face if any?
VP-The hurdle, this time, was not the budget. With an exercise, we had done with the client there was clarity from the start as to what the budgets should be for the quality we were trying to achieve. Fortunately, it all went to plan. The hurdle, was of course, the Covid outbreak and the consequent lockdown which threw the spanner in the works. However, thanks to the excellent teamwork with the brilliant team at site, we were able to pull this through.

Q.What was your experience working with Team Creation?
VP-The team at Creation Gulf have always been a pleasure to work with. Proactive, cooperative and most all patient enough to work through the crazy hours (repetitively) the designers and the clients might push them through. These qualities came to the fore in this project too. Most of all, they had filled in well to help with the controls even when the LW team couldn’t visit due to the lockdown restrictions.

Cafe 302 Interiors 2

The Creation Contribution

On the supply side, Mr. Dharmendra Patel, MD, Creation Gulf fields queries on Creation’s input into assisting LW Design’s concepts reach reality.

Q. Café 302, packs in quite a few different types of lights to create its sophisticated look. Which were the brands selected?
Dharmendra Patel (DP) Creation supplied the entire array of products specified to dress up Café 302. These included Light brands like Orluna, Gallis, Acolyte, Enigma and SYV whereas Mode Lighting was specified for controls.

Q. If a project brief is just supply and not installation, does your role end once delivery I made?
DP: The role usually ends only once the project is over, since there may be lighting controls involved in some cases where our team needs to do the programming and scene settings also. Moreover, if any last minute technical assistance is required at the site, the team needs to provide that as well.

Q: Why was Mode Lighting chosen for controls?
DP: Mode Lighting is a premium product which excels in various factors such as smoothness of dimming, ease of programming, simplicity of maintenance etc which made it ideal for the application. 

Q. What was its size and what was the need for controls?
DP: The café is 365 sqm but the size of a project has nothing to do with the needs for control. A small meeting room with 3 lights can also be completely transformed by using the right lighting and control system. In the café, controls are used to create an ambience of warmth and habitability to provide comfort to the guests. It also automates the functions and dimming making operating the café easier for the operators.

Light Tip Image

Hot tips for lighting up a cool café!
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of lighting for cafés- task, ambient, and accent lighting. Each one of them have a different purpose, suitable for a different situation. Ideally a well-lit café has all three controlled together by a smart automation system!

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CREATION Gulf is a leading provider of architectural light fixtures and automation solutions since 1998. We specialize in the design, supply, testing and commissioning of a variety of turnkey lighting projects.

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