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Electric Pawn Shop, UAE

The inception of Electric Pawn Shop transforms a former restaurant space at the back of the H-Hotel in Dubai into an F&B bar, drawing inspiration from the remnants of its predecessor. The design captures the movement, light, and speed of cars on the Second of November bridge, creating a captivating play of reflections.

Inspired by the 70s Chinatown of New York, the project evokes a dark and dystopian vibe while staying true to the essence of UAE’s culture. The vision is to introduce a new generation of Asian bars, blending counter-culture and underground music. Embracing the limitations and possibilities of the tenant space, the design delves into its textures, elements, and memories as motivational factors.


The 300 sq m space is conceptualised as an urban object orbiting around a central piazza where different streets intersect. At the core of the piazza stands a sculptural fragmented bar, constructed from four bridge beams, exuding structural tension. The hovering canopy, revealing its structure through mirrors and reflecting different light colours, unveils the three-dimensionality of the space. The floor acts as a navigation map between streets, guided by neon signs, offering visitors unique adventures and glimpses of upcoming events.

Various seating arrangements, including wagon seating, couple seating, a common dining area, and a metallic amphitheatre, create artificial topographies with unique encounters.
The space features a green-enclosed room projecting informal events akin to leftover corners of a city. Pop-up museums with distinctive colours appear randomly, such as the vinyl museum displaying a fine selection of vinyl and projects an amalgam of colours and feelings through glass blocks.
The design decisions draw inspiration from food, music, and cocktails, narrating the story of the client, the DJ, the chef, and the architect.

Rough materials like concrete, perforated metal sheets, glass blocks, GI metal, neon lighting, brick pavement, water, and mirrors contribute to a playful imaginative environment. Much like the city of Dubai, Electric Pawn Shop challenges the perception of reality, making visitors question if their experience is real or a mere illusion.

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