Why We Adore Dubai's Concept Space Kulture House

Dubai, Kulture House, Concept space, Art
Photography by Juliet Dunne
The exterior of Kulture House
Embracing wanderlust and a rich love for tradition, Dubai-based Kulture House has married delicious cuisine with intercultural interiors, art and fashion inside an ancient villa

Set within a historic villa from the 80s in Jumeirah, Dubai, Kulture House is a home away from home comprising an art gallery, shop and café all under one roof. Launching in March 2019, the interactive concept space took two years to design, drawing inspiration from numerous places around the world which the Emirati co-founder, Sheikha Jawahir bint Butti Al Maktoum, has travelled to. “I am constantly inspired by the aesthetics of the world around me,” she says.

“We identified a gap in the market for a space that stirs people’s creativity - most places in Dubai have incorporated a clean and contemporary look into their interior design and we envisaged the complete opposite.” This is apparent at once through the traditional patterns and furnishings - rattan chairs, bamboo ceilings and pops of colour at every turn. Everything that visitors see in Kulture House has been commissioned or personally designed by Al Maktoum.


The suspended swing near the entrance of Kulture House, presented against the backdrop of handpicked materials reminiscent of African tribes and Tibetan monks

Photography by Juliet Dunne

At the artisanal café, visitors will find all day breakfast as well as international cuisine akin to a home-cooked meal, served on a sharing plate that is adorned with black and white African-inspired patterns.

The widespread selection of mains includes the signature Kulture Smash Burger, an Angus beef patty with cheddar cheese, pickles, white onion and a special house sauce and Weekend in Capri, linguine pasta with Alfredo sauce, sundried tomatoes with a choice of crispy grilled chicken or camembert cheese for topping. A fusion of Arabic, Mediterranean, American and Indian, the menu reflects the owners’ love for food and is a testament to every meal they have consumed during their travels. “Kulture House allowed me to solidify my love of travel by incorporating the different cultures I experienced, the food I ate and the diverse design elements that I drew inspiration from,” shares Al Maktoum.



An interior view of Kulture House

Photography by Juliet Dunne

“I wanted to create a space that excited our guests from the beginning, offering them a beautiful journey of discovery and most importantly, a home away from home. Of course, great food and excellent coffee is a huge focus for us and we want our guests to leave feeling happy and full.” Speaking of coffee, the range of delicious flavours offered such as the Desert Rose Latte and Red Velvet Paradise, speak to the distinctiveness of the concept space.
With the heritage of the UAE in mind, the interiors of the space have been designed with regional as well as global influences. Namely, the tiles are from Morocco and Italy, the ceramics are from Portugal and the beading seen on the walls and lampshades from Africa.

The yellow doors recall Moroccan designs while other elements of the architecture and interiors are inspired by Cuba and India. The mosaics on the floor and ceilings are personally sourced from Lisbon and Capri, while the outdoor water feature and cactus garden reflects the nature of Phoenix, Arizona. Also of note is the suspended swing near the entrance door, presented against the backdrop of handpicked materials that are reminiscent of African tribes and Tibetan monks.


An interior view of Kulture House

Photography by Juliet Dunne

Accessible through a blue archway which was influenced by designs from Jaipur, India, the space is also home to an ‘inspiration wall’, with a large whimsical Russian doll placed at the corner. Adorned with photographs on a series of shelves, this wall showcases all the places around the world that have inspired the furnishings and items - from the floral poufs to the serving plates - of Kulture House. The shelves are complemented by a beautifully handmade multi-coloured beaded trim, which was personally crafted by an African family especially for the owners. “Everything at Kulture House piques the interest of our guests,” says Al Maktoum.  “Excitement can be found everywhere.”

Another section of the space where excitement can certainly be found is the pop-up art gallery, which will be home to a range of exhibitions throughout the year. Until 30 September 2019, the gallery hosted United Moments, an exhibition devoted to a new body of work by British Artist Julian Castali. “I love the work of Julian as it aligns with Kulture House - it is colourful, bold and distinctive,” she says. “He is mindful of sustainability, often opting to use material that he finds disregarded on the beaches.”

The paintings on display are reinterpretations of traditional photographs of UAE royalty, made using materials the artist found on the coastline over a period of six years such as wood and steel. “We are creating a lifestyle that very much focuses on the community,” says Al Maktoum. “Dubai can be a busy place and there are so many distractions so Kulture House is a destination that people can visit to relax and revive and most importantly, experience something incredibly special.”


An interior view of Kulture House

Photography by Juliet Dunne

Over at the concept store, visitors will find a selection of fashion, beauty and art items such as shea butter face cream by organic brand The Nature Lab, candles by Montroi and books such as Paul Klee by Chicago-based author Annie Bourneuf. The revered collection of items has been handpicked by the owners during their travels, a testament to their love for culture.  “The façade of our renovated Jumeirah villa is relatively unsuspecting, and people do not expect the assault on the senses that Kulture House provides - this is what people find exhilarating,” shares Al Maktoum.

“While travelling, it became apparent that cultures everywhere merge and blend beautifully into one another whether it’s the spices used in food, the use of textiles, pattern and colour or the daily traditions that weave through each. There is much more that unites than divides us and this is what Kulture House represents.”


An interior view of Kulture House

Photography by Juliet Dunne

Also housed within the space until 30 September is ‘Tropikulture’, a fashion and accessories pop-up store featuring gorgeous summer-inspired beachwear, jewellery and clothing pieces by global and homegrown brands such as Abu Dhabi-based fashion brand Minbart. With a vivacious neon green colour scheme throughout, upon entrance is a beautiful wall showered with green sticky notes featuring handwritten messages from visitors. “As an Emirati, community has always been so important to me and I wanted to create a space with community very much at the heart,” shares Al Maktoum. “Guests can feel this as soon as they walk through the doors and they can explore the property, relax with friends, work or simply enjoy the space alone.”

In future, Kulture House will continue to source new collections for the concept store and new works for the art gallery, with community and culture at the core of the renovated villa’s ethos. The menu will also be updated to ensure that the space is, as Al Maktoum says, “colourful, bright and exciting so that things never get boring.”

Kulture House is located on 106 Jumeirah Beach Road. Jumeirah Beach Road (opposite Beach Centre)

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Dubai, Kulture House, Concept space, Art
Photography by Juliet Dunne
The exterior of Kulture House