Monday, 2 July 2007

Chill Out in Dubai


Located in Times Square Center, "Chill Out" coffee shop is inspired when Salah Sharaf, a board member of Sharaf Group, visited ABSOLUT ICEBAR in London. In a country where the temperature could exceed 40 degrees Celsius, the idea of an ice coffee shop looked a little ridiculous... but again this is Dubai... where you have a skiing resort in the middle of the desert, 3 identical man-made islands that look like palm trees, rotating towers and 100s of freak-ish-ly tall buildings being built each year.

Chill Out is the fifth in the world of its kind after London, Milan, Stockholm and Tokyo. The project costs AED9 million (US $2.45 million) and took a year and a half to be finalized. The ice, done by Iceculture Inc, will be shipped in freezer tanks by sea and air from Canada for the "best and cleanest kind of ice". Ships in Montreal will embark on a 6,500mile voyage to Dubai. 4 (23,000 kilograms of Ontario-made ice) containers, will set sail to the Middle East. A month later, eight Iceculture workers in Dubai will have $150,000 worth of ice to assemble into an 1,800-square-foot eatery, which will take approximately 7 days.

The restaurant has 3 areas; a lobby, a lounge, and a buffer zone. Visitors will spend 5 minutes in the 5 degrees Celsius buffer zone to allow the body to adjust for the drop in temperature in the dinning area and get a taste of whats coming next... once in the lobby, visitors will be given a hooded heavy jacket, disposable woollen gloves and a pair of shoes. The dinning area will be around -27 degrees Celsius and in all other ice bars visitors have to leave after 40 minutes for health reasons.... not in Dubai though you can freeze to death if you want to.

The electricity will be separate from the national grid, there will be private generators in case of any emergency. Specially designed LED lighting is used not to melt the ice. Every 3 months, all of the interior furniture from the seats and tables to the plates and glasses will be redesigned to revive the restaurant and give a chance for new designers. There will be no smoking in the restaurant (YESSSSS!). The flooring is made of anti-skid ceramic tiles. Will cost visitors AED60 including thermal gear and a free drink. And EVERYTHING is made of ice.

I don't even want to think about the carbon foot print that this project will have on the environment... I am sure it will make money though and unfortunately that's the only thing many people think of.

More info here and here and here

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