Mahonia is a new fine dining concept with a mission to introduce true gastronomy to the Arabian Gulf. Michelin-star Executive Chef Herve Pronzato from Paris heads a team of 40+ chefs who serve only SEVEN tables (talk about exclusive!) so naturally every single dish is designed and prepared as if it were a priceless work of art.
Mahonia is elegantly set with plush furniture, priceless works of art adorning the walls (including a Picasso and a Chagall!), Murano glass sculptures and impeccable handmade tableware. With a sensual style and lavish design, Mahonia aims to surprise and delight every guest with its creativity, sophistication and harmony.
So, of course, our design team was salivating over this gem of a project – uber luxury? Priceless art? Gastronomic cuisine? Heaven!!
We knew our designs had to be one-of-a-kind and inimitable, something that allowed guests to truly luxuriate in culinary decadence. So we spared no expense, and got to work.
We picked one of the core features of Mahonia, a geometric pattern on some of its walls, and recreated it in AutoCAD to be 3D-printed.
We selected 3 palatial colours – royal purple, navy blue and a rich warm bronze – for the 3 main menus. Each menu was smoothed and polished by hand, ensuring clean edges, and then hand painted and assembled.
As a fine dining restaurant, ingredients are everything, and with many imported items the menu naturally had to change so we developed a system so the restaurant can still print in-house.
Finally the menu was binding with a gold thread stitched tightly across the spine and then the cover was inlaid with a gold-foiled logo.
But something was still missing!
We felt a truly personal touch was needed, so we added a letter from the owner on the first page, sharing her vision and values in a heartfelt way.
The restaurant wanted to privately communicate to VVIP audience e.g. private jets, top CEOs, royal family members etc. So a brochure was needed to introduce the restaurant as this wasn’t the type of audience that would visit the website or social accounts.
Mahonia worked with top Bahraini talent to produce gorgeous, slick photos to be used in the brochure and eventually across all channels, which we helped guide and direct. Our concept was simple: we needed to showcase the food as a work of art (without being pretentious) and focus on its architecture, colours and textures. We also wanted to communicate the balance and precision seen in the food, the interiors, the staff etc. so we decided on a concept called we called “Black Mirror” – simply show the food with a black backdrop and on a reflective surface, focusing on balance and equilibrium.
However, we wanted to show the restaurant’s beautiful details and artistic elements but in a warm, plush and inviting way, a stark contrast to the food photos.
And since the staff work like a ballet, each performing choreographed moves and sequences, we shot them in a theatrical artisanal style – showing the chefs, waiters and mixologists in the style of great artisans like jewelers, sculptors and dancers so we went with a high-contrast B&W aesthetic to show a strong, stoic, solid and mature team very carefully constructing their works of art.
Since the images were quite strong and powerful we decided on a very simple, image-based brochure design, with very little text and simple design elements.
As a final addition to the brochure, we created a cover that acted as a teaser, incorporating some more of the restaurant’s architectural elements and the launch campaign’s tagline “Let Us Begin..”