Amzan Café & Bookstore, Sharjah

Al Qasba , Sharjah , United Arab Emirates

About the project

Book-buying behavior is not just a function of book prices and inventory size but also the experience of discovering and purchasing itself. The client believed that there was still a place for independent bookstores today, and requested to design a space appealing to multi-generational readers. NAKKASH Design Studio proposed a memorable spatial experience that would enhance patron interaction with AMZAN by encouraging an exploratory sensibility. The literal translation of amzan from Arabic to English is nimbostratus (the word derives from the Latin nimbus meaning rain, and stratus meaning spread out). NAKKASH created a multiple use space with several experiences spread out across the store that nevertheless seamlessly unify the entire experience.

Amzan is designed to reference the analogy between the nourishing power of rain and the spread of knowledge from books. Just as rainwater can cultivate a forest, so too can a bookstore spread knowledge within the community, and this translated into a more subtle manifestation of rain with carefully selected clear and reflective materials. Patterned concrete tiles and light wood alleviate the space, and contribute to the peaceful environment. One of the more challenging parts of the project was the staircase, which could only be inserted by closing the existing opening and cutting out a bigger one for the spiral, while still reinforcing the existing first floor structure.

Project info



2,475 sq-ft.


Al Qasba


United Arab Emirates




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