Social Hub Stacked High ... How outdoor spaces are bringing communities closer
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Welcomed into the heart of Jumeirah, Box Park is one the recent development releases in Dubai and in its short time, has already claimed the title of being a ‘lifestyle destination’ where urban chic meets contemporary sophistication. The concept was inspired by New York, London and Paris, where similar 8×8 ‘pop-up’ structures are erected hosting an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes and high-end fashion outlets, intermingled with open spaces and amenities to enjoy the outdoor ambiance.

Being an Architect myself and passionate advocate for environments that engage the community, create memorable experiences and is a self-contained social hub, this development had to feature on my blog. Areas like BoxPark, have found its way into Dubai’s urban landscape and have quickly become an increasing popular alternative to malls. Designed by Meeras Holding, the funky 1.2km strip has been seamlessly integrated into the surrounding community and with a variety of unique dining options is already a packed dinner hotspot. Tempted to go? Below are RendezvousWithV’s 4 bucket list must-trys, which have been picked by its unique culturally inspired culinary offering:

Logma – Emirati Cuisine

Already stirring up excitement amongst residents for its focus on Emirati food along with getting visits from members of Dubai’s ruling family, Logma, puts a contemporary spin to the region’s traditional dishes. Having never experienced authentic Emirati cuisine, I’m excited to see what this culinary experience offers and hence this ranks as number 1 on my list of must-trys. Since the Emirati cuisine has intense flavours with lots of herbs, spice and marinated tender meats, I’m hoping the contemporary twist doesn’t change the essence of the cuisine. Additionally, to complete the traditional experience, I would expect to see a modern-majlis styled seating to help complement the authentic interior ambiance.

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Big Smoke Burger – Canadian Cuisine

Canadian cuisine is one of my all time favourites and I’m guessing it comes as no surprise that I’m especially looking forward to this one. The Toronto chain’s first UAE outlet promises a menu jam-packed with comfort food options, all created using the freshest of ingredients. Along with classics like poutine, diners can choose various meats and stack them high with a range of delectable toppings. Another reason Big Smoke Burger ranks number 2 on my list is because of their offering in drinks – apparently they serve a salted caramel milkshake too.

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Studio Masr – Egyptian Cuisine

This restaurant focuses on cuisine from Egypt while also incorporating Lebanese, Jordanian and Saudi Arabian touches. It includes classic Middle Eastern mezze to dishes less commonly found in the city, such as pigeon stuffed with wheat and desserts like hot date pie with vanilla ice-cream and caramel sauce. Mastering the art of cooking succulent pigeon is no easy feat and while their stuffed meat could potentially be their signature dish, we’ll have to hope Studio Masr manages to shine in our taste test.

Grom – Dessert

Founded in Italy in 2003, Grom sells ‘100% natural’ gelato, with over 20 flavours including pistachio, stracciatella, caffè caramel gelato and sorbets such mango and lemon. While many of their ingredients are sourced from around the world – Vanilla from Madagascar, Coffee from Guatemala and Fresh Fruit from Grom’s organic farm in Italy, I’m more curious to check out some unique flavours options. When recently on my trip to Spain, the unique gelato combinations was unlike anything and even their classic flavours were so intense, it was like re-discovering chocolate and raspberry. Here’s hoping Grom manages to get the same reaction from us.

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With dozens of new developments around the corner, Dubai’s urban landscape is changing rapidly. The emphasis is increasingly on outdoor spaces, that allow people to live, work, dine and socialize all within the same area. Jumeirah is just one such example of a uniquely conceptualized streetscape experience which stands out from the typical mall culture of Dubai. Moreover, the architectural concept draws inspiration from urban renewal schemes which is a great step forward in ensuring a sustainable community!

With that, I bring today’s topic to an end. Did I miss out on something? Then I’d like to hear from you! All budding architects, designers and people that have an interest in spaces, please send in your views along with your favourite architectural hotspot in Dubai at rendezvouswithv@hotmail.com. The best response will get featured in our next post along with spotlighting you to our design community ALSO you will be given an invite to our ‘Young Architects’ meetup being hosted this Saturday at BoxPark and will be introduced to several other design enthusiasts.

Until we rendezvous again,

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