David Anderson, founder and director of Cada, says the consultancy won the project on credentials for its experience in food hall design.
’You need a different set of skills when dealing with food on that scale – not only creative and conceptual skills, but a good understanding of how it works operationally. We start with the food and work out,’ he says.
Lafayette Gourmet’s layout aims to create attractions, drawing customers to display points, while maintaining a sophisticated feel with the ’luxury knobs turned up’, Anderson says.
The group has been working on the project for two years, and has been involved in every aspect of the concept, starting with a ’blank canvas’ but instructed by a very thorough brief from the French client. The process, Anderson adds, was a ’co-operative’ one between the consultancy, Galeries Lafayette in Paris – which created the generic gourmet concept – and the franchisees in Dubai, French Department Stores.
Anderson explains, ’It took six months of concept development to get from the multimedia brief to a visualised idea of what the concept was going to be.’
The biggest challenge Cada faced on the project was communication. ’We’re working with a supply chain that’s truly global. It’s a very hard thing to get everyone talking to everyone else. If you work with world-class food, you’ve got to have a world-class supply chain,’ Anderson says.
Cada’s creative response has been partly led by Parisian food culture. ’We’ve taken our cue from the way food is run in Paris, but the concept in Dubai is brand new. It’s not physically referencing anything you’ve seen before.’
The French ’food philosophy’ heavily informed Cada’s choice of layout and materials. Anderson adds, ’It wasn’t only about collaborating the concept and getting the brief expressed in the look and feel and materials palette. Philosophically and emotionally, the French take a very different look at food – it’s the centrepiece of life.’
Lafayette Gourmet will formally open in Dubai Mall on 5 October.
The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall, with 1200 shops spanning almost 1.2km2 (the equivalent of more than 50 football pitches). Lafayette Gourmet’s floor space spans 2510m2
Lafayette Gourmet’s categories include sushi, meat and poultry, cheese, fish, salmon and caviar, sea grill, rotisserie, charcuterie, Lebanese traiteur and Arabic patisserie
For religious reasons in Dubai, the pork room of the food halls is in an enclosed space