We love our coffee house interiors and they’re all inspired by key traditional features from the old city of Damascus! Listed below are some of the things we thought about with extra regard, as they all make up the story of who we are.
Beautiful brass hanging lamps, chandeliers and wall lanterns riddled with intricate patterns are traditional in Damascus. These essential lighting fixtures, leak light in a way that causes delicate patterns to reflect on ceilings and walls when the lights are turned on. Subtle yet incredibly impressive, these beautiful features light a room with charm and charisma. At Damascena we wanted to our lighting to be just as exquisite, so in all our stores you will find similar lighting pieces that are statement to our interiors in daylight and as the evenings draw in.
Carpentry and Craftsmanship
The old city of Damascus has always been well known for it’s incredible craftmanship that works to keep its culture and interior traditions alive. With particular regard to wooden furniture, native carpenters and joiners intricately carve wooden furniture, decorative boxes and doors. Using a combination of traditional and modern techniques, these functional pieces of art often have hand painted designs on them, with each piece being totally unique.
The popularity for this furniture has grown in interior design all over the world, but for us, we just want the cultural beauty of these traditions to thrive within our coffee shops. In our chairs you will find detailed carvings, at the counter, on the sideboards – wherever there is opportunity for intricate wooden designs to be displayed, we’ve taken them. With the view to recreate the feeling of a traditional home or cafe, these details are precisely the direct inspirations we’ve taken from the Middle East when deciding on our décor.
Whilst you’ll find intricate patterns in our woodwork and lighting fixtures, you’ll also see pattern laced within on our upholstery. Damascene textiles are traditionally richly textured in blues, yellows, reds and creams and often threaded with gold and silver to catch beams of light. The city of Damascus is known as the city that lies under a blanket of colour, thanks to its vibrant textile industry. The old town of Aleppo was once even more impressive, clothed in rich colour thanks to its many textile shops that dated back to the Ottoman period. The fabrics in Damascena are inspired by these traditional and beautiful works of art, as we hope the beauty of Damascene interior can live on in a home away from home, at your local, far-away coffee house.
If you’re interested in finding out a little more about Syria’s textile industry, this page is a wonderful read.
We have a fairly neutral colour palette in our stores with statement pops of colour, sticking to traditionally popular blues, oranges and reds. With dark wood and golden colours spotted around, we hope our autumnal palette creates a relaxed and inviting vibe for our customers as we celebrate tradition. The striped walls you see in our coffee-house’ are a direct shout out to the brickwork found in traditional courtyard housing in Damascus. The stones used to build these houses would enable you to recognise when it was built. In Mamālīk times, the stone colours were striped in black, white and yellow. Whilst during Ottoman times in Syria, they were just black and white. We wanted our striped walls to replicate the early 16th century brickwork in traditional Damascene courtyards, so we opted for a dark navy and an off-white to mirror the stone.
Our choice of colours leaves space for the eye to be guided around the room by all the pattern and artwork we have on display. We like to celebrate and show off these things, as they all make up part of Damascena’s identity!
Around our coffee houses you’ll find ornaments, art and framed photography – all of which are meaningful to Damascene culture. As said before, craftsmanship has always been a big part of Syrian identity, and that doesn’t end at wooden carvings and embroidery. Intricately painted ornaments, bowls, vases, paintings and photographs of great architecture are treasures in our coffee houses and displayed for you all to see and admire.
Finally, the details of our interior inspirations go as far as the building that shelters us. Courtyard housing has always been common in Damascene architecture. Originating three millennia ago in Syria and Iraq, courtyard builds have transcended regional, historical and cultural boundaries and are now popular with architects all over the world. Whilst there are climatic and economic reasons for the prosperity of courtyards, they also carry private and social importance. The extended family structure of a courtyard allowed for the possibility of semi-independent subunits that could function independently whilst still allowing strong family ties to be maintained with a shared courtyard and social space.
Entertaining guests and relatives in this courtyard space is a tradition dating way back. Thursday weekly parties with great food and live folk music, were once a regular occurrence. We’ve taken this idea and recreated a courtyard space in all of our coffee-houses, but particularly in our City Centre branch, where you’ll find a higher ceiling. The ceiling imitates an open roof as it lets in a lot of natural light for our customers to enjoy. Of course, you’ll also find detailed pattern and beautiful light fixtures to admire on our ceilings, too.
The idea for this was to recreate the open and inviting space of a courtyard, so our customers can feel as though they have been transported to a far away coffee-house, right from their doorstep.
Come and give us a visit to admire the beauty and pick out your favourite interior details! You’ll find us on Alcester Road in Moseley, on Temple Row West in Birmingham City Centre, and now also on the High Street in Harborne. See you soon!
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