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Maja Kozel

Principal designer of the renowned studio Maja Kozel Design, Maja Kozel, is no stranger to challenges. After graduating from the Eminent Willem de Kooning Academy based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, she set off to become a master of her trade, spatial design.
Starting in the Netherlands, she accomplished numerous feats in her field before moving on to Asia, where she practiced spatial designing in Hong Kong. Then, Maja moved to Dubai in 2008 and has absorbed herself in various projects ever since.
In 2014, Maja decided to set out on her own and became one of the first spatial designers licensed with the Dubai Design District. Since starting her solo career designing a music studio in Dubai, she has gone on to develop a variety of interior and exterior spaces. Particularly noteworthy projects include the HQ offices for Booking.com Dubai, the HQ offices for the Heart of Sharjah and the HQ offices for Shurooq Sharjah Investment and Development Authorities. During this time her expertise has expanded to include interior design, furniture design, product design and exhibition design.

Among her many contributions, she played an integral role in the installation of the #EMO_DCI display at Dubai Design Week in 2016. As an award-winning spatial designer, Maja Kozel holds quite the resume, having won the 2017 Surge for Water competition in 2017 with her creation ‘Tubo’.
As of now, Maja’s portfolio has grown by more than just a handful of projects and creative expressions. Pastryology, a recent retail project was based at Port Rashid, Dubai and had a special theme that revolved around food and beverages.
But all quirky characteristics aside, it is perhaps her divergence from the common design narrative and mainstream trends that makes her creations so distinct. Maja has never been the kind to simply blend in or have a preference for fads because, to her, the essence of style is that it is timeless.
specialisatie: winkels, kantoren, bedrijfspanden, musea, monumenten, tentoonstellingen, renovaties, herbestemmingen

Maja Kozel Design

Poortlaan 35

2242GP Wassenaar

e-mail: mk@majakozel.com

website: http://www.majakozel.com

telefoon: 0622483889


Heart of Sharjah Head Office | Sharjah | United Arab Emirates

Heart of Sharjah HQ Office
Heart of Sharjah is an initiative that aims to revive the cultural spirit and heritage through various preservation and restoration projects. It plans to be completed by 2025 and the agenda consist of restoring old buildings and constructing buildings that are along the lines of traditional architecture of Sharjah. The sales office of the Heart of Sharjah project was designed by Maja Kozel herself while her clients, Sharjah’s Investment and Development Company Shurooq, briefed her that it should reflect the brand’s identity.
A Blend of Minimalism with Vibrant Highlights
The area that Maja had to work with was a restored house which was designed by leading architect WMPA and Al Bait Eng. Consultants L.L.C. The objective was to display the initiative’s message of replenishing Sharjah’s cultural significance in society. Maja did just that tried to implement historical elements throughout the interior. She enjoys utilizing such elements so that they create a contrast instead of blending into the modern background.
When it came to materials, she adopted a ‘less is more’ strategy and stuck to the essentials such as concrete and wood that would help in keeping it in line with minimalist perspectives while staying in touch with historical origins as well. It also emanates a natural and unadulterated character that will captivate the hearts of the modern generation.
The tones of these basics contrasted with the smooth black metal which was used to embellish the interior. The color scheme leaned towards being more monochromatic which laid emphasis on the texture of the materials that were used. Maja avoided using bold colors and adhered to the use of a neutral palette to accentuate the traditional patterns which were integrated into the designs.
Acoustics, Embellishments and Colored Lighting
As far as lighting elements were concerned, Maja remained steadfast in trying to implement designs that would exude a timeless aesthetic but retain functionality as well. Pendant lights added graceful charm without coming off as flimsy while indirect lighting was used to outline the traditional patterns that adorned the interior.
Custom wall lighting was also utilized to add diversity and it also highlighted the texture of the plastered walls. The acoustics of the office were taken into consideration and resulted in Maja making an addition of perforated ceiling panels. These were excellent as they graced their surroundings because of the unique patterns they included.
Superior Décor - Down to the Finest Details
Of course, it didn’t end here and the sales office for Heart of Sharjah needed some indispensable aspects such as office furniture so that it could reach completion. Dutch manufacturer Royal Ahrend is a leading brand for office furniture and they were the main source for the interior’s furnishings. This included the furniture for employee workstations and the manager’s office with the difference being in size and application.
The Portal desk featured an oak tabletop while smooth black metal was used for its legs which created a sophisticated and simple look. Additional seating is a must for every office and here it kept a little more basic with muted tones and clean lines that complemented the color scheme which was used in decorating and designing the office. The perfect fusion of cultural and modern charisma, the ‘Heart of Sharjah’ office will be a breath of fresh air as it stands among a busy and futuristic landscape.

Cinema Akil | Dubai | United Arab Emirates

Cinema Akil & Chaiwala
WHAT: Cinema Akil officially re-opens with a permanent home
VENUE: Warehouse 68, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai

The opening of Cinema Akil marks a new era in the people’s taste for independent films and it is set to become a top spot for cinema enthusiasts with its new design
Dubai – As an independent project for appreciating skilled filmmaking talent, Cinema Akil was a place of wonder and intrigue; not blockbuster hits. It originally launched in 2014 and now reopened at its prime location, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai Warehouse 68.
Unlike the common cinemas you’ll see scattered around Dubai, Cinema Akil exhibits something different and founder Butheina Kazim took a distinct approach to make it feel like home for everyone. Her vision wasn’t just a cinema that screened independent films, but a communal abode that radiates a spirit of togetherness. Individual elements of the space work together to make it equally welcoming for everyone, something Maja Kozel calls “a universal design language”.
Founder Butheina Kazim already envisioned multiple aspects of the final design, which isn’t surprising considering that she’s been working on this project for quite a few years. She articulated these ideas to Maja Kozel, so she could clearly interpret them by aligning them with a practical design sense. Kazim had pictured an expanse that would elicit a wave of ‘nostalgia’ through its art deco appearance, which she wanted to incorporate into the re-vamped cinema.
After the collaboration of design with Cheb Moha of the pop-up for the cinema last year, architect Richard Wagner took the reins and restructured the permanent location. Maja Kozel was appointed to add features of spatial design so that the space falls in line with the cinema’s theme.
A more permanent project from its previous installment, this version of Cinema Akil also includes a unique tea-based concept ‘Chaiwala’, which will cater to visitors’ food and beverage needs. The first edition of its kind, ‘Chaiwala’ at Cinema Akil is a forerunner to the café that will be opening at a new location which will be revealed soon.
To bring back that wholesome vibe, they decided to reupholster the old sofas and keep the Artwork and décor that the client collected as a means of giving the cinema its own character. Upon entering the location, you’re greeted by a box office, which gives a pleasant, vintage aesthetic and is connected to the ‘Chaiwala’ kitchen and serving area.
In this area, you’re met with tasteful décor like a traditional rug, classic cinema seats, and an old map of Dubai. Here, they repurposed old cinema seats from the Golden Cinema in Dubai. Near the ‘Chaiwala’ kitchen area, a large wooden bench is attached to the wall and is decorated with cultural accents like woven Afghani cushions that have a monochrome pattern. On the other hand, fascinating artwork mirrors and old film posters grace the walls.
Visitors will notice that the ‘Chaiwala’ area has its own personality, made up of its bare concrete walls, eccentric turquoise backdrop and a terrazzo-tiled countertop in the kitchen. While designing the space, Maja Kozel broke up the length by adding shelves made from old scaffolding. Right before you enter the cinema, there’s a corner booth with comfortable seating.
The cinema itself has a diverse range of seating; love seats, plush sofas, and three-seaters are lined across the room. Friends of the cinema donated these sofas, and they were reupholstered with eye-catching red fabrics. The color red is everywhere so that the space gives off that authentic cinema flavor from the seating to the flooring, and even the walls.
From the films to the seating, décor and Indian streetfood bites with a twist, Butheina Kazim’s Cinema Akil is a creative sanctuary and treasure for those who crave an encounter that falls beyond the conventional Dubai experience.

Pastryology | Port Rashid | United Arab Emirates

One of Maja’s recent design projects of 2018 is called ‘Pastryology’, which is located at Port Rashid in Sharjah and was designed for her clients Aisha Sharaf and Tariq al Taher. Based on an area of 92m2, the project’s concept was specialty food and beverages while the main focus was on carefully hand-crafted desserts. The aim was to attract certain customers who were looking for high-quality products and in search of a palatable dish that featured perfectly balanced tastes and textures.
Easy Access to Pastryology Thrilled the Customers
On Port Rashid, Pastryology is positioned within four containers, which allow Maja’s concepts of spatial design to reflect the personality of the brand that exudes a theme of being delicately patterned and soberly colorful. Despite being situated within containers, the area of the project was designed to be easily accessible so that customers can approach the kitchen where they can get a view of the chefs and baristas at work, preparing beautifully crafted desserts and coffees.
While you relish the flavor of your delicacies, the view over Port Rashid harbor feels more welcoming because of the interiors, which radiates a homely warmth that helped the customers feel comfortable and at ease. Designed by Maja herself, the details and furniture created the perfect atmosphere for a delightful gathering that was held.
Stunning Brass Designs Fused with the Presence of Marble and Stone
The timeless brass details that embellished the bar counter brought it to life and attracted gazes of the customers who were passing by. The frame that divided the staircase also featured a touch of bronze because the metal’s earthy tone makes it better suited compared to shinier alternatives.
The bar also displayed a marble countertop that served as a classic essential that proved Maja’s designs never stray farther from what is common and functional. The bar incorporated a glass vision panel which created the effect of a wide open space. For the tables, she selected marble as the primary constituent so that they appear graceful but not flimsy while the legs were mainly brass so that it appeared as the perfect fusion of stone and metal.
Splendorous Mural Artwork, Floating Shelves, and Soothing Shades
The staircase wall was decorated with Amna al Muhairi’s enchanting mural artwork while the gold leaf detailing added a luxurious finish to the setting. Floating shelves that adorned the walls were a combination of minimalistic design and space-saving functionality. Since the interior of Pastryology is overlooking the harbor, the addition of custom benches with comfortable cushions displayed
beach-house charisma that was appreciated by the guests.
The calming colors were specifically selected so as to complement and contrast with the loud undertone of brass to create an aesthetically pleasing scene. Moreover, the project was decked with different kinds of furniture to promote relaxation and diversity so that customers and guests can enjoy their desserts but not at the cost of being comfortable. A highlight of the project’s design are pictures taken of the scene by Maja Kozel herself that have captured Pastryology in a moment in time.
Pastryology has truly stood out, and an endorsement of this is in the shape of a “Done By Youth” award it has received from the UAE Ministry of youth. This award is in recognition of Pastryology’s contribution towards social and economic progress.

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