a modern liwan

MAKAN coffee & roastery is a place of gathering, drawn from the growing demand for a space to sit, converse and socialize in the outskirts of older Al Ain, where most of the capital’s residents would return on weekends.

Recessed within the edge of a monumental mosque landmark, the space was approached as a ‘liwan’, [common to older Arab cultural typologies] serving its specialty home-brew and catering to both passersby and in-house guests. A majority of existing elements were kept intact and re-used, in the interest of keeping with a sustainable, non-invasive approach.

Traditional materials, commonly associated with use for architecture in Al Ain were contrasted against crisp white finishes, highlighting the plot’s distinct shapes and pre-existing forms.
A vintage Etisalat phone booth outside the unit, square exterior paving and decorative geometric railing are all retained and gracefully embraced with the new-build to create a synergy between the old and new, bringing a sense of nostalgia to customers, and instilling life into a once deserted plot.

MAKAN is our bold, but minimal, interpretation of how new life can be unobtrusively brought to older plots – an intervention within a site of so much historic value to the local community.
It is the place of gathering, a response to a typical Emirati’s unwavering interest in coffee, brewing, and social gatherings.