There is a growing design market oriented and targeted towards children in the UAE. This includes the La Petite Treehouse Café, the popular children’s creative space OliOli and the World’s first kids’ restaurant and, our upcoming new project, concept store White & the Bear.
A major reason behind the success of these spaces is how Dubai has become a crucial family holiday destination, which creates a demand for climate controlled child-friendly spaces.
There are an endless number of theories, concepts and approaches as to what makes the perfect F&B space that caters to children. While working on the projects above, for instance, I noticed certain similarities in contemporary design that depict how children’s spaces should look and be experienced.
The aim is to always create spaces that enhance children’s’ imaginations and creativity.
To begin with, both La Petite Treehouse Café and White & the Bear have minimalist spaces. This was intentional in order to avoid overcrowding the spaces with stimuli that can be difficult for children to process all at once. Both areas are well-lit with natural lighting.
The strategy at the La Petite Treehouse Café includes organic materials, which were used with the aim of shifting away from a traditional ambiance and towards one which can subtly teach children about eco-friendliness and sustainability.
The brief for White & the Bear was to create a kids restaurant and concept store that offers a place for children and parents to interact over various things, including clothes in the retail section, stories, workshops and food.
The café takes up a good chunk of the store but seamlessly integrates into the remaining expanse for a holistic feel. The space emphasizes on enhancing children’s skills through different workshops and story time.
When designing for younger ones, it is important that there is a prevalence of earthy neutral and soft pastel tones rather than primary and secondary colors often used at fast food chains.
I feel that these distinct palettes for kids’ spaces works well because they won’t overstimulate their senses.
Instead, a soft color scheme promotes creativity, imagination and learning.
Providing little visitors with a unique sensory experience is an ingenious way of creating a learning space for them.
The food will stimulate their sense of taste as well as smell and sight too. The different textures and sounds serve to activate their remaining senses.
Children’s senses, once stimulated, provide them with strokes of inspiration which they use to be more creative which in turn aids in their learning (be that with their daily tasks or how to act on new ideas).