Café Aylanto has been conceived as an exquisite, upscale dining avenue in one of the prime commercial areas in the metropolitan city of Islamabad, Pakistan. Previously being a run-down building that was in dire need of renovation, the client; a famous international Pakistani fashion designer, Sobia Nazir, saw this as an opportunity to introduce a novel and unparalleled fine-dining space in a buzzing location that had been left unnoticed. The site’s strengths include ample parking space and views leading toward the surrounding greenery that creates a jungle-like environment.

Studio Name: DB Studios
Design Team: Saifullah Siddiqui, Chaudry Asim, Mian Israr Ahmed
Area: Covered area = 460 square metres, outdoor dining area = 230 square metres.
Year: 2nd quarter 2017
Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
Consultants: Engineer Talha
Photography Credits: Rafay Anwer
Other Credits: n/a

Cafe Aylanto by DB Studios - Sheet4
©Rafay Anwer

DB Studios was appointed as the leading architectural firm for this project where the main design challenge was to innovatively redesign and transform a disorderly building into an elegant space as required by the client to facilitate indoor and outdoor dining areas. After a thorough study of the site, the design team decided to retain and add to the existing building features, particularly the tropical environment created by the mature trees in the surrounding area of the site. The entry to the restaurant was consciously relocated away from the center thereby creating a winding passage for the approaching diners, ultimately creating a jungle-like setting for them to walk through. The entryway is also enamored with tensile roofing structures providing shade during the hot summers for the outdoor dining areas and giving the space a unique vibrancy with its bright colors.

Cafe Aylanto by DB Studios - Sheet7
©Rafay Anwer

Full height glass has been used in the interior of the restaurant including the stairs to the first floor which promotes transparency within the building and from the street level too thereby creating a continuous visual connection. The theme of the jungle-forest and the wooden branches from the mature trees has been complimented by vertical fins of metal and carbonized wood installed on the façade of the restaurant building alongside interspersed green planters mimicking the green environment. The dark tones of the fins on the façade are kept that way to create a contrast with the surrounding setting and the view of the interior within the glass walls.

The verandahs added to the restaurant provides buffer spaces that create a different dining environment for the users. The walls and floors of the interior are made of minimally furnished surfaces using timber and matt brass lining embedded in the floor to create a sophisticated visual aesthetic. Additionally, a brass sheet has also been used as a backdrop to highlight the vertical circulation within the restaurant building from the outside. The fin metals from the facade are also continued within the interior of the building to enhance the dining spaces and create depth.

Cafe Aylanto by DB Studios - Sheet9
©Rafay Anwer

Overall, the design team has created a well-balanced byproduct that embodies a classy restaurant ambiance merged with a tropical setting that creates a chic café space for its users.

Introduction/Biodata of the Firm

Leading a team of young architects, DB Studios, has earned the reputation as one of the trend-setting architectural practices of the metropolitan city. As a design firm, DB Studios believes in a holistic yet out of the box design approach that is inspired by nature and emphasizes on the development of form from the function itself. Adopting a dogma of stepping away from the generic look of modern architecture, the firm’s mission is to produce innovative and energy efficient design solutions that are reflective of the indigenous context, material, and culture.

As a creative hub, DB Studios has achieved a myriad of accolades to its name, mainly the IAP Design Excellence Award (2014, 2022) and a World Top 25 Projects honorary mention for commercial buildings. DB Studios also has local and international Literary contributions that have appeared in ArchDaily (2022), Architecture + Interiors (2013), Architecture Design Art (2012), World Architecture News (2012), ArchiTimes (2009).


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