By Caitlin St John
Luxury and simplicity come together at Kraz, a modern Emirati restaurant in the UAE city of Sharjah. Crafted by Hasan and Husain Roomi, brothers and co-founders of London- and Dubai-based practice H2R Design, the space embodies a contemporary minimalism while honoring local traditions.
Here, textured gray walls and upholstery create a refined ambience, wood furnishings and panels conjure a feeling of warmth, and symmetrical shapes instill a sense of serenity. “Geometry is one of the defining aspects of the design, and we incorporated it from the beautifully carved wooden Mashrabiya panels and benches to the intricate carpets and floor tile patterns,” says Hasan.
The geometric design is further reinforced in the breeze blocks distinctly visible upon entering the space. This key design element, reminiscent of old residential buildings in the UAE, has for generations been placed for their functional attributes and as a design trend. At Kraz, they were purposefully added to allow natural light to flow throughout the day. The pattern of each block adds to a greater ornamentation while simultaneously providing partial privacy from the entrance to the restaurant’s interior space.
The architecture’s natural flow invites guests into a comfortable and hospitable atmosphere with seating options catering to everyone. Modern chairs and tables sprawl across the central area, while the side walls nest majlis—a historical concept that represents the space for warm gatherings, a place dedicated to important conversations, a dwelling to share food, laughter and memorable moments—style cushioned sofas and lowered tables. A private majlis area is also available for more intimate gatherings.
To produce an inviting and cozy atmosphere, the designers tested everything from table height and cushion thickness to the amount of leg room beneath a table. “Hospitality is taken seriously in Emirati culture,” adds Husain, “therefore, we wanted to make sure [being] comfortable took precedence.”
Photos: Alex Jeffries Photography Group