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Power of the pavilion

May 16 - 22, 2018

Gulf Weekly Power of the pavilion

Diners are set to be taken on an opulent journey of the senses this Ramadan as one of the leading five-star hotels opens a sparkling pavilion overlooking the sea designed by a celebrated scenographer.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain’s stunning octagon-shaped structure called Masaya, which means ‘evenings’ in Arabic, has been constructed on its gazebo lawn area between its famous villas.

High class weddings have been staged in the vicinity and now families breaking their fasts will be able to experience the luxurious setting.

Jean-Paul Dantil, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain, said: “We’re always looking for ways to innovate the guest experience and this year’s pavilion does just that - with opulent décor and a prime location amongst our beautiful Seaside Villas for endless views off the Arabian Gulf.

“The pavilion this year is also double the size of last year and will again offer aromatic menus by our award-winning team of Ritz-Carlton chefs to surprise and delight all guests who arrive.”

The VIVA Masaya Pavilion is a custom-made steel structure that is 40m wide and 15m high which its scenographer Ammar Basheir said will create a ‘one-of-a-kind experience’.

He told GulfWeekly: “Masaya was inspired by an opulent Arabian courtyard. I wanted to add an architectural element to this year’s concept stepping away from the traditional cliché of a Ramadan crescent and typical expected Arabesque theme.

“What inspired me is a simple arabesque motif that has been deconstructed and redesigned into an abstract arch shape that connects the whole tent together.

“The holy month of Ramadan is all about getting together and being closer so the final connectivity of the overall shape will reflect in a much cosier seating and atmosphere. Also, the difference to last year’s tent is the fact that this is not a tent, it’s a pavilion!”

The large scale modular structure, which boasts 16 golden-hued arch windows offering stunning views of palm trees and the sea, features custom-made copper lanterns that were manufactured by a group of artisans in Morocco.

Ammar also added 15 custom-made 4m high hand-beaded sparkling Swarovski columns to emphasise the elegance of his design.

The colour theme that runs throughout the majestic marquee includes gold, silver, aubergine and emerald green.

“The rich colour palette has been used to accentuate the magnificent arches that are individually lit,” explained Ammar. “The addition of solid green marble tables and luxury leather chairs create a glamorous setting for the perfect Ramadan evening.”

Over the years, Ammar, who graduated in interior design in London, has carved out a niche for himself as the ‘go-to-designer’ of atmospheric spaces for some of the region’s VIPS and celebrities.

He has worked on diverse projects such as Al Othman’s fashion retail house boutiques in Kuwait, Bahrain and London, in addition to a number of exhibitions at Bahrain’s National Museum and the Post Office Museum in Bahrain.

Ammar had also landed an internship in the design department of Harvey Nichols in 2003 and three years later he was able to launch his career in Bahrain.

He was a consultant for La Fontaine Centre for Contemporary Art and helped redesign the centre’s exhibition galleries as well as its award winning restaurant. In 2007, his exhibition set up at La Fontaine to showcase the work of award-winning Iranian photographer Reza caught the attention of Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, president of Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, who later commissioned him to design the space for the opening performance of the Spring of Culture that year.

This was the first of many projects he worked on. For most of his projects, all the design elements are fabricated in Bahrain and shipped to various destinations.

Ammar sees his work as a form of ‘cultural diplomac’ as he realised that design can be a powerful tool to bridge cultures and expose diverse audiences to the craftsmanship that can be found in Bahrain.

He began travelling with Shaikha Mai to create installations and kiosks for Bahrain at the Frankfurt and London book fairs and she challenged him to grow as a designer and to come up with innovative ideas.

Ammar said: “She taught me that anything is possible and most importantly not to only think outside the box, because there shouldn’t be one at all in the first place!”

Now diners can enjoy Ammar’s golden arches and grand design for iftar from sunset to 8pm and for the Ghabgha dinner from 9pm to 2am. Guests can be seated in the private pergola dining area which can accommodate eight or in the regular seating. There are seven pergola areas and in total can accommodate 606 people in the pavilion.

During the evening feasts, which will be dished out by Executive Chef Christian Knerr and his team, guests will enjoy nightly entertainment while indulging in a buffet offering cuisine from the resort’s 11 award-winning restaurants. It will include flavours of traditional Arabian cuisine along with modern fare from the Eastern Mediterranean, Asia and Mexico regions.

The Iftar is priced at BD25++ and the Ghabga is BD27++. The pergola is BD300++ and will offer a silver service of selected hot buffet items and other benefits. Follow the Ramadan celebrations on Instagram @masayapavilion and #MasayaRamadan and to book a table contact 17586499.

l Ramadan Guide: Pages 8 & 9


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