September, Industry Rules

La Petite Maison

It is quite common for businessmen and women to spend a great deal of time in Dubai for their company. In many cases they can be there for a couple of years on assignment. As such, Dubai becomes a home away from home for many people. Restaurants like La Petite Maison are in tune with the need of many of Dubai’s visitors to receive that home-cooked meal experience without sacrificing an ounce of quality or luxury.

Demand therefore, calls for La Petite Maison’s Mediterranean inspired Niçoise menu and cozy atmosphere. Expected to open in Dubai’s International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) Gate Village, La Petite Maison will offer fresh food made from scratch and inspired the Provence region and the Cote d’Azur. The dining experience is family style that encourages sharing among the diners in a warm ambiance that features a pewter-edged, lava top bar.

Fresh made dishes that are already a favorite at the company’s London location include whole roast leg of milk-fed lamb smoked with herbs and spices, green beans with fois gras and pain perdu with spiced ice cream. The Waney family instituted the first two La Petites in London and Nice. The Dubai establishment will be sure to equal the success its predecessors as it is under the direction of general manager Cedric Toussaint, and executive chef Izu Ani. Both were formerly of La Petite Maison London.

According to Toussaint, “What we felt the regional market would really embrace is an eating experience that is simple, fresh, a bit cheeky and consistently good – that’s what La Petite Maison Dubai offers. Nothing is pre-prepared, and everything on the menu is meant to be shared and enjoyed in a relaxed, convivial setting.”

People by Crystal

The Crystal group is well known for making waves in the hospitality industry across Beirut, Lebanon and Dubai with their exclusive and luxurious restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Their latest nightclub in Dubai is no exception to this establish reputation. Situated on the top two floors of the pyramid hotel, Raffles, the club offers patrons 360 degree views of the stunning Dubai skyline. The glittering night view provides an extra sense of enchantment to the ambiance. Of course, that’s if you can take your eyes off the interior’s splendor. As if being the only nightclub in the world to offer such a stunning view from inside a glass pyramid were not enough, the design team of the club seeks to satisfy and titillate your other senses as well. The cozy nooks and crannies provided by the lush carpet in the VIP room, along with the velvet and leather couches, provide a warm sense of comfort against the winged upper balcony, the exotic ring sculpture of the bar, and the studded texture of the metallic walls. The place prides itself on creative use of sculpture and design in every feature, in conjunction with lighting as an expressive artform to do more than just set the mood. The artistic lighting, combined with the club’s name spelled out in flames, and the two gorillas guarding the entry are just some of the many details that make this venue stand out while garnering consistent accolades as the place to be. If you are ready to party with some of the best DJs in the world and rub elbows with celebrities in a one of a kind, exotic venue, then People by The Crystal Group is a must.

Ema Shah

Not much time is needed to tell a powerful and compelling story. Moreover, in the case of the short Kuwaiti film, by Mohammed Ayyad, “I Wish We Were Dancers,” no words are needed either. An official selection of the 2011 Dubai International Film Festival and 2012 Gulf Film Festival, this heart-stirring lyrical short explores the depth of multiple sclerosis from both a physical and psychological perspective.  

In the film the audience is asked to step into the shoes of both patient and doctor as a routine medical exam, tests and prognosis culminate in a subconscious struggle of wills. What the soul desires and craves, the body will no longer tolerate. Consequently, we are immersed in this emotional battle through the daydream of the patient imagining her body obeying her command to dance. 

We were honored to speak with the film’s star, Ema Shah, about her experience and views on this debilitating disease. A disease whose message carries more than a physical limitation, but an awareness of ourselves as we merge with society. 

What about the film inspired you to get involved?

            There are certain situations and conditions that happen to people. Even though I have not specifically experienced these circumstances, I’m aware of them occurring somewhere. Diseases are part of the animalistic nature of our organic bodies. Our bodies are so sensitive, and we may lose it anytime. I do care much about any circumstances experienced by a fellow human being, because I think deeply in our lives and the meaning of it. Ultimately, this always leads us whether on the level of art as our industry or on the personal level of life. I get influenced a lot by what's in people lives, then I emulate through my abilities to transform them into artistic vision. It is important to me to support any project with the same approach, especially those which are not mentioned in the commercial media. 

MS affects many people across the globe; did you find a personal connection with the subject matter?

            I did not have a real or direct contact. Therefore I did not understand the disease until I met the director Mohamed Ayyad. And after we met I was surprised that he is infected with the disease (after he chooses me for the film), and that the movie is the real story about himself. Eventually the disease crippled him and he was bedridden, unable to move. He remembered telling his Spanish girlfriend, a flamingo dancer, “I wish we were dancers.” After the movie was produced he was sending money earned by the movie to support the dance hall she owned in Spain. I was very surprised and effected more, by his actions.

 What research, if any, did you have to do for this character?

            I did not search a lot about the disease, but I did read a little and got the director, Ayyad’s personal experience with it. He helped me in understanding his situation, and I watched him. He was often unable to sit still, and even verbal communication was difficult. This inspired to perform the role with more strength.

What do you hope to inspire in the audience as they view this film?

            That in this life there are many circumstances and stories, and that we have no need to be arrogant and greedy. Also, we should not be snooty to other people. On the contrary we should tolerate and forgive, and we have to look at the pain of others and help each other. And there are no place for jealousy and competition. We need to stop trying to compete with one because we are all equal in pain and in circumstances. We have all been forced into this life together, and even this shall come to an end one day. So we have to take advantage of every opportunity in which we are alive, and able to breathe life. We should take advantage of the benefits of our minds and emotions.

             Your question has reminded me of the secretary at the cinema club in Kuwait formally Mme Najah Karam.  I met her by chance three years after the discontinuity of the Dubai international Film festival in 2011. While viewing the film "I Wish We Were Dancers” at the festival, I did not recognize her, she had changed so much. Even her physical appearance had changed. Then I called her, and she called at the same time. “Najah?” “Ema?” She hugged me immediately and cried. I was surprised by her transformation, her shape and her tears. She was always well known by her strong personality, and for her support of cinema in the Gulf. I also supported this part of the industry.

She said to me, “I saw your film and you are confined to a chair and I cried. I remembered myself crippled, sick, and tired. I have changed after what happened to me. I became more sensitive, and I want to live and do many things in my life after my infection with cancer. Now, I want to write my life story about my disease.” I was shocked to see death in her eyes, and that was the moment of our farewell. She died three weeks later, suffering of blood cancer.

What was it like working with writer/director Mohammed Walid Ayyad?

            Working with the director Mohammed Ayyad was charming, because he is a moral person, kind and respectable. Despite the social and pathological conditions of his circumstances. Especially, after the loss of his close friend, and our colleague Tariq Alsanousi from cancer.  Sicknesses are widespread in Kuwait, some research has proven that this may be due to remnants of the Iraqi-Palestinian invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

On the technical level I complied with the orders of the director Mohammed Walid Ayyad, I did not learn to do things which were not what the director wanted, only if the work was directed by me or if I had different space in the performance. However it depends on the work conditions. It is always preferable to perform the technical requests according to the director's vision because only the director wants a form and specific image that I cannot intervene in. 

Is there anything about the project that you'd like to add

             I would like to thank Industry Rules Magazine in New York for this lovely interview.


Translated by: Sara El barouji

Ema Shah


The Address

When one mentions The Address Dubai, they may be pressed to specify a location. However luxury, style and entertainment are never in question. That is because there are five Address locations, each with their own unique look, set of entertainment options and amenities. Whether you choose the Mall, the Marina, the golf course resort Montgomerie, or the traditional Arabian styled Palace Downtown, a plethora of options await.

Take the sleek and modern styled Address Dubai Downtown location, for example. It stands at an impressive 63 stories high and is conveniently situated in the heart of downtown while still being only fifteen minutes from the Dubai International Airport. The hotel contains 196 brightly lit and spaciously designed rooms, 25 of which are suites, as well as four options for residencies. 

This five star location also features three top rated restaurants. The Cut, a steakhouse by Wolfgang Puck; Fazaris, which features both an Italian and a Japanese menu as well as an international breakfast buffet; and Zeta, an outdoor Asian inspired restaurant and lounge. Two more lounges include The Cigar Lounge and Risala for lighter fare. Once the sun goes down guests can enjoy The Address Dubai Downtown’s two nightlife options. Calabar features a more laid back vibe with South American fare and sundowners. If you’re looking to be seen and delight in the ultimate club experience then head up to the 63rd floor for the pulsing beats and mirrored atmosphere of Neos.

For rejuvenation when one needs a break from all of downtown Dubai’s many entertainments, guests can enjoy one of the spa’s many wellness treatments, or re-energize the state of the art 24-hour fitness center.

If you are interested in holding your wedding, event or meeting at the Address Dubai Downtown, the hotel is adequately equipped to accommodate you. With a highly trained banquet and events staff, a grand ballroom, meeting room and two conference rooms you can be assured of a smoothly run and stress free gathering. The views from each of these locations provide the perfect backdrop for creating memories of a lifetime.

The final amenities to consider if you choose the Address Dubai’s Downtown location are two elegant club lounges and the 1,000 square meter, five tiered infinity pool that cozies up next to the Zeta lounge. Luxurious cabanas surround the pool creating a private oasis for your relaxation.

If just one of The Address’ locations can provide a world of its own, one can only imagine what how the other four will dazzle the senses.