European architecture firm, Archifocus, recreated the vivid and powerful colours of Arabia for one of the city’s most anticipated restaurants in Podgorica, Montenegro. Under the direction of architect Dijana Zoric, Archifocus firm executes a truly unique restaurant design with eye-catching global flare. Dijana Zoric’s original design work transports you to a exotic location as you dine in luxury. We had the opportunity to interview Djana Zoric to learn more about her design approach for this exotic restaurant, Mazaya Arabic Restaurant & Bar.
A vibrant ambience has been created in the new Arabic restaurant Mazaya in Podgorica. In every corner of this beautiful interior, a special story is told through the intricate carved walls, the artistic ceiling, enchanting chandeliers, luxurious wallpaper and exotic furniture. Dijana was challenged to create a space that is both dominantly minimalistic, yet also sumptuous and luxurious with a rich palette of colours, flavors and fragrances. In the architecture field we consider this eclectic, a design style that Dijana has mastered expertly.
Eclectic design style, while deeply interesting, can be a bit trickier to achieve. When you are dealing with an eclectic look, you must think of the space you are working on as a blank, white box and have the complete image of your future design in your head, all the time. Otherwise, you would make a busy and distracting space full of different styles without order. Through an interview I found out that designer Dijana Zoric had no problem applying her knowledge and free spirit on this project, and that her initial inspiration starts with traveling.
‘’Ten years ago I worked as a student of architecture in Syria and Jordan. The experiences and impressions of this close encounter with Arab culture served as my main inspiration for creating this restaurant design. The aim of the project was to document the atmosphere of the Far East, transfer heat and color from their culture, bold spices, and aesthetic into a completely different space. So at the outset, I examined my photos from that trip, absorbing each color and shape, and then left the rest of my designing to spontaneity and creativity, eventually landing on the restaurant’s final appearance,’’ said Dijana Zoric, founder of Archifocus.
For an authentic Arab environment, Dijana began with retro, mood lighting showcasing the shapes and patterns of Arabia. Dijana’s chandelier selection is the focal point in this Arabic design, and it was positioned specifically to dominate the space. The main lighting is dim and adjusted as needed, while candles are used as decorative details.
In Arabic art & design one of the most common elements you’ll find is the use of Islamic art, so of course this restaurant would not be complete without this addition. While the world of Arabic art & design is vast, for this restaurant Dijana focused on the use of arabesque, a drawing style with repetition of geometric shapes traditional to Islamic art. You’ll notice the addition of arabesque as a decorative element at the bars, as well as on the flooring and custom wall carvings. In my opinion, the best expression of Islamic art in this space is certainly the ceramic art, which displays the highest level of designer creativity.
Designers always react differently to the overall look of a completed space, and that is something we all expect impatiently, so I asked Dijana how she felt after the exciting grand opening.
‘’The first day after the restaurant opening, when I accompanied my friends to breakfast, it was very touching and emotional for me. Everything was like fairytale, all the colors, scents, music, smiles on the people faces, while just sitting there and enjoying the view. Materializing the idea is always a special moment, yet I often question whether I could do better, wondering what I would change, add, or take away. I am my greatest critic, but I am pleased with this project because I managed to create an atmosphere that is warm, eclectic and arouses positive emotions,’ ’said Dijana. I agree that this impressive restaurant design is something to be truly proud of.
Dijana accomplished her goals of creating a warm, comfortable, and inviting space while maintaining a sophisticated look for this business. A restaurant’s interior design (or the design of any type of public business) has a dramatic impact on the type of guests the business attracts, making it so important for designers and business owners to keep in mind the needs and wishes of their customer base when designing the physical space. Dijana suggests that ensuring the space is functional and adaptable for multiple business purposes is key, as well as selecting high-quality, sturdy materials that will withstand visiting customers throughout the years.