Coming up Roses: Meet the founder of the UAE’s first 3D café

Ebraheem Al Samadi
Founder, Forever Rose

Forever Rose specialises in roses that last for many years without water or sunlight. Founded in 1999 in the United Kingdom, it began its artistry by making exclusive and custom arrangements for the Royal Family’s palaces and castles of Europe. 

With high demand from the Middle East market, Founder Ebraheem Al Samadi created a unique concept, offering various services from luxury gifting items such as chocolates, fragrances, and perfumes to opening a café.

Tell us more about how this unique concept came about.
We did a trade show in MAISON&OBJET, Paris in 2019 and this became our main inspiration behind the café. For the trade show, we needed to create a pop-up that was easy to transport and time-efficient. With this in mind, we had the Forever Rose designers create illustrations of furniture that could be placed on stickers and cardboard. The overall aesthetic was more than we could have imagined and it received so much attention.

Having opened the first Forever Rose Café in November 2020 at The Galleria Mall, Abu Dhabi, the success meant we wanted to bring the same experience to the residents and visitors of Dubai. Much like its Abu Dhabi counterpart, Forever Rose café in Boxpark by Meraas is developed as 2D and 3D illustrations, allowing patrons to feel as though if they are part of a drawing or storybook.

What challenges have you faced in launching the restaurant?
From its inception, the Forever Rose café in Abu Dhabi took six months to complete, with the illustrations finalised in two months and the construction process completed in 45 days. During development, the Forever Rose team found a challenge in terms of what they could use for the floors to print the designs on. It was overcome through innovative techniques, with the images being printed on vinyl flooring.

Once opened, Al Samadi also found his vision was not quite complete and decided to alter the design to incorporate the ceiling in the 2D theme, in order to create an all encompassing effect for the Forever Rose café.

One of the key challenges we faced in the Dubai branch was figuring out the perfect composition of white paint that matched with the white of the furniture. We had a lot of paintwork to do for the previous walls to ensure a seamless flow of white between the various elements.

We also had some constraints in mimicking the design of the Abu Dhabi branch due to the various sections of the café in Dubai. Although it was a little more complex, I’m immensely happy with the end result and how it has all come together.

How do you maintain cleanliness amid busy operations at such a uniquely designed venue?
We make sure to follow the regulations set down by the government and ensure that cleanliness, and safety (especially with the pandemic) is of utmost importance. When designing the café, we had ensured that it was not just aesthetically pleasing, but also served the functional needs of an upscale restaurant.

What are some of your personal favourites on the menu?
A personal favourite dish of mine is the Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast, which is a recent addition to the menu. I had crafted the recipe based on my love for traditional French toast and wanted to combine it with my childhood favourite, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I also love the Risotto Musakhan with its delicious texture, filled with the mouth-watering flavours of various regions.

How has your journey helped you create this concept?
The Forever Rose clients are the true inspiration behind the concepts we create. We decided to open a Forever Rose Café as our customers are what is most important to us and we wanted to find a way to be a part of their everyday lives, even if it is just through an amazing cup of coffee or dessert.

With the diverse culture of the UAE, I believe a lot of people from different parts of the world and age groups will now have the chance to try a sense of Forever Rose, if not through the flowers themselves, then definitely in the delicious delicacies on offer at the venues.

What’s the next step for this café?
After seeing the positive impact it had, we wanted to bring something new to the retail boutique design as well. The recent opening of the Forever Rose boutique in Boxpark by Meraas (situated next to the Forever Rose café, in the same location) is designed in the style of a luxury department store, with the outside adorned in illustrations resembling a London high street, while the interiors fashion the traditional Forever Rose black and gold colour scheme.

Forever Rose attracts the romantic customer who appreciates the very best in luxury, exclusivity and longevity and is deeply rooted in love and romance, designed to turn our clients’ special moments into memories which stand the test of time. Therefore, we will continue to look to recreate this romance, whether it be through our boutiques or cafés.