4. Januar 2019
Southern Italian cuisine on the roof of Kuwait: Dai Forni Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel
The starting point of the design process was to canvas Italy and determine which part of its vast culinary heritage and geography to focus on and we quickly settled upon the tastes, smells and textures of the Mediterranean and in particular the island of Sicily; long the meeting point between the cultures of the Middle East and Europe. Dai Forni is part of the emerging global cultural culinary trend of regional rather than national cuisines; and the restaurant design and cuisine are a testament to this trend.
We envisioned the space as an oasis for all of the senses with the entrance characterized by an immense green wall; itself an innovative structure filled with local desert plant varietals; and large fire pillars that frame the entrance experience and bring the guests along a sandstone floored corridor into main dining areas centered by an expansive antipasti counter covered in a pink hued hand treated cooper from Italy.
To the left of the entrance corridor sits the front dining area featuring a stunning 12 meter high space with expansive views onto the city and the Persian Gulf beyond. We have enrobed the space in a custom designed metal mesh curtain illuminated by a diffused lighting system that creates a soft shimmering glow.The intense sunlight and temperaturesduring the day-time drove the creation of an elaborate system of laser cut curtains that help to maintain a cool and welcoming temperature.
Three large hand-hammered custom made copper wood burning ovens produced in Australia occupy center stage to the right of the entrance corridor. These beautiful ovens are operated daily with a specially chosen Hungarianfragrant wood that creates a unique smell and flavor to produce the freshest pizza’s and breads and we have designed 3 semi-circular banquette seating backed by Sicilian lava-stone walls that offer a prime view of the chefs at work.
The semi-circular seating and the custom designed chandeliers all take their inspiration from the traditional Sicilian woven baskets and this idea extends to the two inter-linkable private dining rooms where the walls are finished in rough woven rope which contrasts with the doors and sun-screens which feature an intricate pattern created in carved corian that take their inspiration from the local mashrabiya patterns but are in fact traditional lace patterns from Sicily. While the restaurant is centered on the concept of fire the bathrooms act as refreshing counter-point featuring a hand painted blue and white Italian tiles and video installation of a water-fall designed by Shanghai based video designers Flatmind.
The large outdoor terrace; shared with the neighboring Asian restaurant Sintoho also designed by Kokaistudios; completes the oasis concept with its large custom designed glass sculpture that acts as the central water feature. By working with world renowned craftsmen from Italy to Australia and points in between; employing subtle design instruments; and a focus on appealing to all the six senses we have a created a project that is simultaneously rooted in Middle Eastern culture while being a true embodiment of Mediterranean and Sicilian food culture.
The design of this project is a new step in Kokaistudios method of combining a strong architectural approach to the design of interiors with an original use of materials and light to create unexpected subtle emphatic feeling between the space and the people; handcrafted materials shaped and controlled up to the finest detail interact and interplay with the both the day and night light and reveal an incredibly expressive power.