Brand Creative’s latest retail concept in Abu Dhabi centres around the desert landscape
Mauzan, founded in 1990 by designer Rafia Helal Bin Drai, is one of the region’s longest-running Emirati Abaya, Sheila, and now perfume boutiques. Mauzan has thrived and remained one of the leading fashion merchants in the Middle East despite a nearly decade-long partnership with Brand Creative.
In the creation of the first concept in 2015, Brand Creative shaped their graceful spaces from a source of vivid dreams and desert landscapes, captivating the target audience with a glamorous showcasing of contemporary designed fashion for the modern Arab woman. With a maturing loyal audience and a need to capture the attention of a younger generation and ambition to remain ahead of the curb, Brand Creative took to the drawing board for a refresh and new direction, with the latest interior design concept springing up in Downtown Abu Dhabi this spring.
The towering challenge that stood before the team was transitioning the well-established Mauzan brand from an aesthetic of modern minimalism wrapped in traditional luxury to a statement of inner confidence that upraises the grace and sophisticated modesty of the modern-day Arab woman in a way that welcomes her back to the origins and roots from which she arose. It was evident that the boundaries needed to be pushed with thoughtful design details that would advance the brand into its new direction. The fit-out of this exciting project was carried by Design Infinity.
To remain true to the brand’s identity and founding core, the abaya, in its essence is what came to the forefront of the design thinking. In the discovery of its distinctive intricacies and diverse elements fashioned for each bespoke abaya and limited collections, an artwork is revealed. A piece of art that demands to be seen and appreciated in it’s true likeness. Key to this concept’s success was going to be crafting a space that is impactful, memorable and welcoming without overpowering the real star of the show. Inspired by the curves and travel paths of sand dancing across vast dunes that encapsulate the region’s natural landscape, the interior design reincarnated its shape and delicate presence with an earthy textural quality that accentuates muted tones with natural curves, allowing for an instantly calming atmosphere.
With a uniquely set apart entrance, the journey begins through an archway that leads to a dedicated fragrance space cradled by gently curved walls. Delicate traces of gold in framed arches formed in the likeness of windows come into focus and are heightened by traditional Ghaf trees set in textured clay pots. With expensive fragrances carefully developed from precious natural oils and ingredients, these “jewels” are upheld by illuminated floating shelves and marble styled counters where attention is immediately attuned with the multi-sensory experience of a regal Bakhoor. Comforting chairs were positioned throughout the space to serve in a manner synonymous with jewelry stores in aid of an all-encompassing experience. It was paramount to the Founder that customers felt carefully attended to throughout their visit.
Wandering through the integrated retail spaces you are met with spacious and cavernous like zones that highlight collections and carry the customer along several concept stories. Gold has remained intrinsic to the notion of luxury within the brand and culture, and to cleverly incorporate this element, subtle metal was used on custom undulating curved fixtures to uniquely suspend each individual garment. The sinuous gold metal fixtures brought definition to the space whilst emulating the curved icon within the brand identity, in an unexpected way.
With multiple entrances to the unit, it was a challenge to decipher a layout that would maximise the flow and support of footfall in both the fragrance and garment sections. By using dynamic elements formed in the walls and ceiling features, organic movement is generated, simulating the desert’s natural movement and encouraging customers to flow effortlessly between the spaces. The experience is designed to be exploratory with efforts made to maintain an element of discovery through the use of subtly hidden fitting rooms and a luxurious VIP suite concealed by towering doors.
This new concept maintains a sophisticated femininity tied to tradition, with a tasteful touch of luxury that resonates with the existing discerning audience whilst equally attracting new clients to the experientially transformative space. Mauzan has solidified their positioning in the local luxury fashion market by pushing the boundaries of contemporary Arab culture and continues to empower modest women to unapologetically embrace their choices.
Photos: Micheal Kruger Photography