Angelique by Reha Design Studio offers a heavenly retreat to Sheikh Zayed

Winter has gotten more than cozy in Egypt, and this Cairo promenade restaurant offers a warm escape from the cold. Angelique is a restaurant and bar that features a lenient atmosphere thanks to its design by Reha Design Studio, a company that has delivered projects throughout the MENA region and the United States. Seated on soft padding, patrons are surrounded by flush surfaces that – visually – raise the temperature of the environment, while a fireplace follows suit in more literal terms as people gather around it. Fire-related materials have been used vehemently to give the atmosphere a certain intensity that is as soothing to the soul as it is seductive to the eye.

“Home provides warmth and light, nourishment and protection,” founder Reha Habib told #SceneHome. When it came to sorting out spaces, Reha was inspired by our roots. They did not go back to the Kedival period, not even to ancient Egypt; they went further, much further. “Early cavemen gathered around the fire to create all kinds of congregations, so we came up with a concept called ‘cheers and beers’.”

Metals, made malleable by heat, are used throughout the spaces and the brick walls exhibit a warm familiarity with its red hues. While the leather offers a subtle touch of regal elegance, what completed the texturing of the surfaces was natural wood, intentionally imperfectly hand-cut to create flooring patterns that convey our natural, human inconsistency. “We looked at different properties of fire and its relationship to materials like bricks and metallurgy to come up with an intimate and inviting space,” says Reha, referencing his work with fellow designers Ramy Takla and Mazin Samir.

Gracefully flanking the delicately but certain curvature of the space, a wooden spiral staircase leads to a mezzanine cellar full of curiosities. Here, the view is unobstructed thanks to the double height under the ceiling. Massive steel arches wrap the glazed windows and engage with the solid rustic wood entry in a timeless dialogue of facade design. “We transformed the existing façade to convey the spirit of the interior; fiery, moving and timeless,” adds Reha. Sipping warm coffee or grape juice, you overlook the garden while rejoicing to the sound of the blues. We don’t know if that’s what’s playing for sure, but, look at the place, Etta James must be roaring in the background.

Keen to link the warmth of the interior with the crispness of the exterior, Reha has aligned key functions along a singular axis, taking you from the cozy redness of brick to the lushness of greenery. Corten steel, also known as weather resistant steel, is used for its stable rust-like appearance that requires no painting. Although the metal here is different, the fire-oriented concept hasn’t changed, it’s over. The exteriors are designed to be airy, complemented by plants that basically produce oxygen and allow the fire to exist. This dinner may not have been made for winter, but it definitely captures its spirit. To ensure that temperatures drop when summer arrives, designers added water features to put out the fire.

Joseph E. Golightly