Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ) was tasked with the redevelopment of five historical buildings in Sharjah – Bait Ibrahim Al Midfa (the library), Bait Eissa Al Midfa (the reception), Bait Abdul Rahman Al Midfa (the heritage guestroom block), Bait Abdullah Al Mahmood (the Arabic restaurant), and Ibrahim Al Midfa Majlis (the café). The buildings were redesigned with the aim of respecting the heritage area and surrounding structures, while maintaining the traditional, urban fabric of old Sharjah city.
In keeping with that theme, shades of brown dominate the materials, with rough textures blending into smooth, more luxurious finishes. Overall, the spaces look to replicate the traditional textures and feel, whilst maintaining the luxury and comfort of an upscale property. The interior design approach was split into two distinct treatments, based on whether the rooms were part of the historic, renovated buildings, or part of the new insertions. In the new rooms, the finishes were a little more refined and pared down to create more of a contemporary appeal.
The design concept of the Arabic restaurant embraces the region’s rich history, particularly in the detailing, with exquisite Persian carpets, silk drapes, carved timber beams and cornices with decorative Moroccan Zellige tile skirting, polished concrete floors and intricate etched metalwork. The resort’s casual dining outlet, the café, leads off an intimate courtyard and features an adjoining majlis area with low cushioned seating and decorative floor rugs. The interiors allow for an elegant Arabian experience with great attention to detail and a seamless pairing of modern luxury with traditional ways.