THE VENUE Sitting unassumingly on Jumeirah Beach Road, this quirky restaurant with humourous design combines icons of Emirati culture and American Pop Art to create a fun, relaxed and entertaining atmosphere with a creative and tasty ‘burger joint’ menu. There are three more Falla restaurants around Dubai now but this is the original.
THE DESIGN The moment you step in the door, you are confronted with colours, patterns and a playful attitude through installations and murals depicting a mix of pop culture references and a range of textures and styles. From the ‘You are Falla’ greeting at reception, made from Matroyshka dolls pegged to the wall, to the pyramid of retro television sets with buzzing screens, you get an immediate sense of the animated energy that embodies the ethos of the venue. Falla means ‘exciting journey’ but the concept extends to a way of life that embraces humour, art, diversity and innovative design.
Paul Bishop, founder of Bishop Design and Sam Saliba, founder of Art Painting Lab collaborated on the brief to bring this vision to life. ‘The idea was to merge cultures and create a humourous, light-hearted, arty environment that brings different nationalities together,’ says Sam. Saudi artist Fida Al Hussan of Fida Art was commissioned to create the engaging murals merging Arab culture and Western Pop references including Elvis wearing a skullcap and an agal headdress while playing an oud.
‘The murals are hand-painted and bring an organic, human touch to the ambient experience,’ says Sam. ‘The strokes are natural and wall elements such as corrugations are incorporated.’
Disruptive, playful, diverse yet approachable, is how Paul describes the décor. ‘The owner was also the developer of an Emirati classic cartoon series named “Shaabiat,” which perfectly represents everything they stand for – amusement, innovation and unexpected experiences,’ he says. Colour waves, striking art and enticing design speaks to each diner.
Dynamic lines created through the monochrome flooring are mirrored in the ceilings and vertically through the stairwell. A Matryoshka doll peg wall boasts an array of international representations and becomes an immersive experience, also reflecting the diverse culture that the venue attracts. Philippe Starck Louis Ghost Chairs by Kartell are adorned with graphic elements, reflecting the Emirati culture in a fun, tasteful way. Karmen and Metal Lux lighting fixtures add to the exposed-ceiling industrial tone that is warmed up with velvet banquette seating in rich shades of hunter green and bright turquoise. Falcons, palm trees, and young women wearing gold-plated burqa face masks all add to the local iconography.
THE EXPERIENCE In keeping with the colourful and creative décor, the menu serves up a gourmet selection of burgers and fries with a twist such as the signature Smoky Trouble Burger on a black bun and Arabian 26 fries with Khaliji spices, as well as pasta dishes, sharing plates and a kids menu too.
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