Following the success of its Dubai debut, Almaz by Momo – a specialist in North African cuisine – has launched its second edition in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s finiancial district, Sowwah Square. Altered by its location yet ignited with the same charm as its predecessor, the design of the new restaurant merges traditional Moroccan craftsmanship with a contemporary edge.
Located in Galleria Mall, Almaz by Momo’s Abu Dhabi venue is operated by restaurateur Mourad Mazouz, the name behind the Momo brand and London’s Sketch restaurant. For the design of Almaz by Momo, Abu Dhabi, Mourad again worked with French architect Annabel Karim Kassar and her team following a successful collaboration on the first edition in the Mall of Emirates, Dubai.
“The design of the venue combines Mauresque traditional architecture and vintage Moroccan furniture with somewhat of a flair inspired by Sowwah Square,” Annabel says. “The false ceiling, as in the traditional Moroccan markets, is formed of wooden blades. Painted in a range of brown hues, oranges and soft pinks, the ceiling blades span the restaurant all the way to the covered terraces, creating a strong visual perspective.”
The style of the venue is decorative, vibrant and intricate, an aesthetic that proved difficult to achieve within the building’s original 740m² rectangular shape. “One of the design challenges was to create an interesting space and subspaces, diverse areas that cater to different types of seating,” Annabel explains.
“Therefore we have built different floor levels within the venue, applying various floor finishing – hexagonal wood parquet, carpet, cement tiles, etc. These marked different territories within the large space.”
The restaurant opens onto a shisha cafe, which is housed in a covered terrace. This is accessed through large glass bays, which let in natural light and provide views of the Abu Dhabi cityscape.
Although designed as a group, the Almaz by Momo brand of restaurants are influenced by their locations, as Annabel explains: “The design of Almaz evolved from one location to the other – this time endowing Almaz with somewhat of a financial flair inspired by Sowwah Square – in comparison to Almaz in the Mall of the Emirates, which is housed in a commercial mall.
“The design creates a new story for the venue, nonetheless keeping key elements of Almaz, such as the zellige wall. This resulted in an interesting project, exploring the metamorphosis of Almaz as the venue moves from place to place. As each venue is a unique creation, yet based on an original concept, this allows us to maintain the spirit of Almaz and remain within a style of design while nevertheless constantly improving, innovating and evolving in our end result.”
Those keen to see the next stage in the Almaz by Momo evolution should not have to wait too long, as the next venue is currently in development at The Beach, Jumeirah Beach Resort in Dubai.