Josette: A Taste of Parisian Glamour in Dubai

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(source: lukeedwardhall.com)

If I told you that you could experience the mesmerising charm of the ‘city of love,’ Paris, through the ambiance and cuisine of a restaurant in Dubai, would you take my word for it?

No? Then allow me to enlighten you, and you will undoubtedly be convinced.

Josette is a Parisian dining concept that debuted in January 2023 on the ground floor of ICD Brookfield Place, Dubai. It holds a prestigious Michelin Guide recommendation, offering a bespoke menu, custom champagne, impressive décor, and spectacular entertainment.

Creating a Parisian Brasserie with a Twist

The name and concept of the restaurant, Josette, are borrowed from a fictional character embodying the glamour and eccentricity of 1920s Paris. Described as “elegant, eccentric, commanding, accomplished, poised, mischievous, cultured, chic” by Orange Hospitality (OH), Josette serves as the inspiration for the restaurant’s persona. The character of Josette draws from various influences, including the French actress Josette Day, renowned for her role as Belle in the 1946 film La Belle et la Bete, as well as the French socialite Francine Weisweiller, a patron of Cocteau and Yves Saint Laurent.

The talented team behind this magical experience includes designer Luke Edward Hall, chef Burcu Cracknell, wine director Eleanora Caso, and curator Amira Fouad.

Luke is a British designer and artist known for his colourful and whimsical style. His debut in the hospitality realm doesn’t hinder the opulence and sophisticated glamour of Josette, designed to accommodate up to 180 guests for lunch, cocktails, and dinner.

(source: Architectural Digest)

Josette has been commissioned by Orange Hospitality (OH). OH is an integrated F&B operator renowned for its six award-winning restaurant concepts in the UK and the UAE, focusing on curated concept creation and franchising opportunities. “We take pride in crafting narratives that culminate in an original and genuine culinary experience. At OH, our goal is to create concepts that leave a lasting impression on our patrons, ensuring that each visit is as memorable as the last,” they emphasize.

With the mood board painted in the shades of French tastemakers like Jean Cocteau, Yves Saint, and Francis Weisweiller, Hall created a glamorous and eccentric Parisian brasserie using a mix of historic, Baroque, and Rococo styles, referring to London and Paris in the 1920s and 30s.

The design and interiors of Josette reflect French culture and history, as well as the personality and taste of Josette.

(source: STIRWorld)

Seamless Blend of Different Styles

Parisian brasseries are large and lively restaurants that serve traditional French dishes and drinks. Josette follows the typical architectural style and layout of a brasserie, such as the shape, size, and orientation of the space, as well as the materials and colors.

However, Josette also adds a twist by incorporating elements from Baroque, Rococo, and Art Deco. This creates a contrast and harmony between the old and the new, the classic and the modern, the simple and the extravagant. The silver leaf lends a touch of glamour and elegance to the space. The curves, contrasting with the rigid shapes, emanate a sense of fluidity, while the pink and green color scheme imparts a playful character.

(source: lukeedwardhall.com)

“The design is in part a sort of tribute to two of my decoration heroes: Syrie Maugham (mirrors, plaster, elegance!) and Dorothy Draper (theatre, oversized scale, Baroque bombast!). The oversized columns with their leafy plaster tops and half-mirrored panels take their inspiration from columns at one of my favourite houses, Villa Lysis on Capri, whilst the white-painted metal birdcage chandeliers are a total homage to the ones Draper installed in the classical wing-cum-cafeteria at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1950s. High above, ceilings are covered in silver leaf.”

– Luke Edward Hall

Conceptual Sketch of the Josette dining area by Hall (source: lukeedwardhall.com)

Exploring Design Principles through Décor

(source: lukeedwardhall.com)

The décor and furnishings of Josette offer a visual feast, boasting mirrored columns, silver-leafed ceilings, color-changing chandeliers, and artwork by Hall. These elements not only enhance the restaurant’s design principles, including balance, contrast, rhythm, harmony, and unity, but also showcase the skilled use of lines, shapes, forms, textures, and patterns, embodying the creativity and personality of the designer.

The opulent green bathroom of Josette (source: STIRWorld)
Conceptual Sketches of the Josette banquet and wall light fixtures by Hall (source: lukeedwardhall.com)

Hall’s artworks, featuring hand-painted illustrations of Josette and her friends, infuse a personal and whimsical touch, while the velvet banquettes foster a sense of intimacy and privacy. Quaint touches, such as the vintage trolley used for champagne and afternoon tea service, emit nostalgic charm. Even the tableware and glassware exude refinement and elegance, perfectly complementing Josette’s architectural style and layout.

Creating the Atmosphere: Lighting and Music

(source: AEWorld)

The lighting and music at Josette evoke a distinct mood and atmosphere, whisking you away to another time and place. These elements shift seamlessly depending on the time of day and occasion, ensuring a dynamic and varied dining experience.

Throughout the day, the ambiance transforms with the help of color-changing chandeliers, infusing the space with vitality, while the birdcage chandeliers add a touch of drama. Live entertainment, enhanced by a surround-sound system, ranges from elegant cabaret shows to captivating musical performances and lively DJ sets. Leading the eye-catching live shows and musical acts is Amira Fouad.

Adding to its charm, Josette features a unique amenity: a champagne button adorning each table, enabling you to order a bottle of champagne with just a single press.

What We Learn from Josette

(source: STIRWorld)

Josette presents a harmonious and distinctive environment that mirrors the culture, history, and personalities behind the concept and team. It serves as a blueprint for crafting a memorable and genuine dining affair that embodies the essence of cuisine, tradition, and art.

Architecture and interior design possess the ability to stir emotions, and Josette harnesses this potential to evoke the sentiment of love synonymous with the enchanting city of romance.

References:

  • https://www.stirworld.com/see-features-luke-edward-hall-brings-vintage-parisian-glamour-to-dubai-with-josette-restaurant
  • https://www.lukeedwardhall.com/projects/josette
  • https://www.gaultmillauae.com/features/inside-dubais-new-destination-josette/
  • https://www.admiddleeast.com/story/the-most-beautiful-restaurants-in-dubai
  • https://josette.com/about
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Mehar Deep Kaur
An Architect and Urban Designer by vocation, Mehar Deep Kaur is an accomplished educator and writer in the realm of architecture and design. She helms an academic journal, dedicated to disseminating knowledge about the built environment, and has authored multiple research papers on sensitive urban development, published in esteemed peer-reviewed and Scopus Indexed journals. An innovative designer at heart, she holds patents for her designs, focused on optimizing multi-functionality within compact products. Mehar is also empanelled with some online education platforms as a mentor and course instructor. The young academician is driven by the belief that living a deeply fulfilling and meaningful life requires approaching every endeavor with unwavering passion (Meraki).

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