To attract certain customers who were looking for high-quality products in search of a palatable dish that featured perfectly balanced tastes and textures. This is the aim of Maja Kozel’s 2018 design project Pastryology at Port Rashid in Dubai, designed for her clients Aisha Sharaf and Tariq al Taher. Based on an area of 92m2, Pastryology is positioned within four containers, which allow Maja’s concepts of spatial design to reflect the personality of the brand that exudes a theme of being delicately patterned and soberly colourful. Despite being situated within containers, the area of the project was designed to be easily accessible so that customers can approach the kitchen where they can get a view of the chefs and baristas at work, preparing beautifully crafted desserts and coffees.

The calming colours are specifically selected so as to complement and contrast with the loud undertone of brass to create an aesthetically pleasing scene. Moreover, the project is decked with different kinds of furniture to promote relaxation and diversity so that customers and guests can enjoy their desserts but not at the cost of being comfortable.

The view over Port Rashid harbour feels more welcoming because of the interiors, which radiates a homely warmth that helped the customers feel comfortable and at ease. Designed by Maja herself, the details and furniture created the perfect atmosphere for a delightful gathering that was held. The timeless brass details that embellished the bar counter brought it to life and attracted gazes of the customers who were passing by. The frame that divided the staircase also featured a touch of bronze because the metal’s earthy tone makes it better suited compared to shinier alternatives. The bar also displayed a marble countertop that served as a classic essential that proved Maja’s designs never stray farther from what is common and functional. The bar incorporated a glass vision panel which created the effect of a wide open space. For the tables, she selected marble as the primary constituent so that they appear graceful but not flimsy while the legs were mainly brass so that it appeared as the perfect fusion of stone and metal.The staircase wall was decorated with Amna al Muhairi’s enchanting mural artwork while the gold leaf detailing added a luxurious finish to the setting. Floating shelves that adorned the walls were a combination of minimalistic design and space-saving functionality. Since the interior of Pastryology is overlooking the harbour, the addition of custom benches with comfortable cushions displayed the beach-house charisma that was appreciated by the guests.Pastryology has truly stood out, and an endorsement of this is in the shape of a “Done By Youth” award it has received from the UAE Ministry of youth. This award is in recognition of Pastryology’s contribution towards social and economic progress.Maja Kozel was born in the Netherlands and attended the prestigious Willem de Kooning Academy from which she graduated with a degree in spatial design. This multidisciplinary field covers architecture, interior design, landscaping, service design and public art. After plying her trade first in the Netherlands and then Hong Kong, Maja moved to Dubai where she continued practising her craft. In 2014, Maja decided to set out on her own and became one of the first spatial designers licensed with the Dubai Design District.

Based in the United Arab Emirates, Maja Kozel Design focuses on ensuring that the client can enjoy every experience in a given space. From the nature and quality of the lighting to the acoustics of the space, no detail is too minute. Maja believes it is possible for a design to be practical, socially responsible and artistically expressive all at the same time. She believes in designing for the needs and desires of the client, not blindly following popular trends and fads. To that end, she draws inspiration from the rich history of the UAE, its people and its traditions. Sustainability, recycling and repurposing materials play a key role in the design process, and she has demonstrable success with this philosophy. In 2017, her lighting design ‘Tubo’ for the Surge for Water competition won the most prominent award.


Portraits of Maja Kozel: Photo courtesy of Wietske Zandberg @wonderingwiza

Images of Pastryology: Photo courtesy of Maja Kozel