Interior design studio Roar, led by founder and Creative Director Pallavi Dean, has given Dubai’s iconic Mezza House restaurant a contemporary overhaul, drawing inspiration from the dramatic landscape of the Yarmouk River Valley – a small but diverse ecosystem on the border of Syria and Jordan. Reminiscent of Mezza House’s cuisine, which seamlessly fuses the different Levantine cultures, Roar has conceived an interior scheme that reflects this wealth of subtle yet important regional influences.

“I have been a fan of Mezza House since it opened in the early 2000s,” says Dean. “We wanted our design narrative to tell the original story of this iconic downtown venue and retain its legacy, yet reimagine it for the next decade.”

The restaurant is organised as a succession of naturally flowing areas rather than one open-planned space. A key part of the redesign was the labyrinthine network of golden pipes that runs across the restaurant, visually structuring the different areas and mapping out the guests’ journey.

“During concept development, we kept coming back to the Yarmouk River Valley. This is where Jordan meets Syria, where the lush riverbed rises up to meet the jagged mountains, and where summer meets winter,” Dean continues. “It is also a designer’s dream: the landscape offers an incredible array of textures and colours as inspiration.

“Our client wanted to redefine what a contemporary Levantine restaurant should look and feel like in Dubai today, so we thought the Yarmouk River Valley with its vast diversity has the perfect connotations.”

Another critical element of Roar’s approach was to bring the natural world indoors. As an early advocate of biophilic design, the studio has applied its principles throughout, from the rattan furniture and wallcoverings to the striking floral arrangements suspended from the walls and ceiling.

A soft colour palette of rose and green hues was also chosen; pink tones evoke the Anatolian Orchid that thrives by the Yarmouk River, while green notes are inspired by the leaves of the valley’s emblematic Atlantic pistachio tree.

“Ombre or colour gradation is present throughout, once again a theme we have borrowed from nature. If you stand at the bottom of the Yarmouk River Valley and look around your feet, you can see the vibrant colours of the grass, the plants and the shrubs,” Dean elaborates.

“As you gradually raise your eyes to the skies, the palette changes to the more neutral grey and beige rocks at the top of the mountains. The textures also shift from soft, smooth and round to rough, jagged and angular. We deliberately incorporated these contrasts all around Mezza House, from the back of the seats to the art on the wall.”