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Element Café by designphase dba

What’s in a name? In the case of Element Café, it formed the inspiration for its newly redesigned spaces.

Element Café by designphase dba

designphase dba has recently completed the redesign of Element Café, the 150-seat flagship dining establishment of Singapore’s Amara Hotel in Tanjong Pagar.


Derek MacKenzie, Managing Director of designphase dba explains that Amara’s management had “set their sights on raising the profile of this popular establishment” from the beginning, and that the redesign of the cafe was in line with the client’s desire to re-engage loyal patrons, as well as to attract new diners.

The branding of the cafe formed the basis of designphase dba’s conceptual approach. Focus was placed on the ‘elements’ that make for a great dining experience, in this case, the ‘elements’ of the ingredients and the culinary artistry behind the cafe’s sumptuous buffet spread.


In re-defining the way a chef might organise his stock of produce, herbs, spices and ingredients, and in a way which could be understood as ‘dining in his kitchen’, the concept came to life as an exercise in elegance and refinement.


Joris Angevaare, Design Director of designphase dba and the principal behind Element Café’s design concept, says, “An early aspect of the new layout encouraged the hotel to show its pride in its most popular F&B establishment. By visually connecting Element Café to the lobby, it is instantly welcoming, while a light screen treatment offers discretion from the check-in and check-out activities of the lobby. This helps to introduce the ‘refined, warm and approachable’ character of the concept.”


The beauty of natural materials, such as herringbone-pattern laid marble and timber floor, support the fresh and natural produce displayed on the long buffet, which spans the full length of the restaurant. In addition, the buffet is designed as individual ‘tables’ to showcase the delicious offerings as individual elements. This is emphasised by the ‘plate-stocks’, also individually supported under the buffet.


Rising to the ceiling behind the buffet is the cafe’s display of fresh ingredients used in their menu. The design is reminiscent of a traditional provision shop, albeit polished and refined.


To add variety to the dining experience, the dining area is segmented to offer different seating options, from individual guest seating to full-on party spaces, each with their own sound and lighting controls.

Photography © Nino Yaputra for designphase dba

designphase dba

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