Sunday, 5 May 2013


A new entry in the restless hub of the DIFC and a breath of fresh air at the same time, it already has an army of fans and faithful customers and it impresses with its minimalist design.

by Kon Hans

White luminescent walls surround a well defined rectangular open space in the middle of the coming and going of people in the Art Galleries sector of the busy financial core of Dubai, the DIFC, while the strong aroma of the espresso seems to pour out from it.  Add to this a really updated catalogue of magazines of all sorts arranged on the inner shelves of the walls as a colourful graffiti, that you can read at your leisure, and you get yourself a modern, cultural café; its name, what else: “The Magazine Shop”.

The Magazine Shop - exterior

A new entry in the restless hub of the DIFC and a breath of fresh air at the same time, it already has an army of fans and faithful customers and it impresses with its minimalist design.  Inspired perhaps in the plain and clear lines and forms of the Nordic architecture, it is more of an open space that acquires its identity as a café from its functionality rather than from its physical form.  The surrounding low walls define distinctively the physical limits of the café space while at the same time they allow your perception of the surrounding area, thus giving you the impression of a constant interchange with the outer environment.  The gentle white light emanating from the walls not only relaxes your mind and eases your thoughts but also enables you to choose and read from a rich variety of magazines, with subjects ranging from travel and art to business and finance.  The small wooden tables and stools, re-arrangeable around the relatively small space, provide you with a sense of freedom of choice as you can arrange your own personal corner and endeavour to your coffee drinking/magazine browsing ritual; the shelves around you, also allow you to conveniently store your belongings as the tables and stools are somewhat small.  The coffee bar is a small area in the front by the entrance totally integrated with the rest of the place making the service quite effortless as you can simply grab your coffee at the entrance and go “inside”.

The Magazine Shop

The owner, a passionate individual with the press media culture, will happily introduce you to the world of magazines and inform you about the latest issues.  He can also recommend you the appropriate magazine in relation with your interests to enhance your reading experience.  The magazines themselves arranged in the façade of the wall in the background function as an integrated element of decoration that colourfully breaks the uniformity of the “whiteness” around you.  In addition, a row of potted small plants encased in one lateral wall bring up a freshness and put the more vivid and substantial green colour in the scale thus opening the space a bit more.  On the other hand, the dim lighting offers a gentle and pleasing contrast with the somewhat darker area around while the lack of a ceiling or a door lets the natural light of the day flow around you.  The cartoon-like cute logo and the menu depicted with nice sketches upon the front wall by the entrance, all bear witness to the easy going, casual character of the team behind the concept of the “Magazine Shop” and of the shop itself.  The white cubic space with its thick walls forms a unity that is completed only with the human presence and activity, inside and outside, thus redefining the space as an urban, social element incorporated in the environment and at the same time detached from it.

Overall, the feeling you get upon visiting the “Magazine Shop” is that of a relaxed and cosy corner for yourself only, sheltered in your private white bubble and conveniently disconnected from the hustle and bustle all around you that will surely convert you to a faithful customer and, without a doubt, a magazine lover.

(photos by Kon Hans - more photos are coming! )