Looking for Somewhere a Bit Different to Meet-Up for a Coffee in Dubai?
The Archive opened in December 2012. It is a library dedicated to arts literature from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as a café and community space. With books on regional photography, architecture, art, calligraphy, art history, textiles, and interior design, as well as children’s books, it aims to promote the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the area, as well as celebrate its growing contemporary art scene. The books are seen as a resource for research and inspiration – they are not for sale, but guests are encouraged to browse and read during their time at The Archive.
The Archive provides something brand new for the people of Dubai. Not only is it a hub in which to work, discuss art and creativity, and to learn about the Middle East’s rich cultural heritage, but the addition of the café draws in a widely varied crowd that might not otherwise take advantage of such a resource.
Being located in Safa Park also puts The Archive in a unique position – in such a modern, urban city, it provides a haven of relaxation and calm among greenery and nature that is all too rare in Dubai. The location is also reflective of The Archive’s position on promoting environmental awareness. Most of all, it is a place that nurtures art in all forms, and promotes the MENA region as a culture of creativity.
The Archive was the vision of twin Emirati brothers Ahmed and Rashid bin Shabib (the duo behind Brownbook magazine, and other popular spaces such as Shelter, The Pavilion Downtown Dubai, The Magazine Shop, and the newly opened venue The Space, in Abu Dhabi). Taking advantage of a disused old facilities building in the beautiful, green location of Safa Park, they envisaged an educational and creative hub for Dubai’s community.
Program manager Sarah Malki puts the Archive to use as a non-commercial space in which to partake in creative activities. Our programming is hugely varied, and includes everything from yoga and Pilates, to writing and art workshops, BBQs and fairs, live music, film screenings, and artists’ talks.
The Archive is popular with families, children, young professionals, freelancers, students, people having meetings; its visitors are really diverse. It is frequented by an international customer-base of both expats and locals. At the weekends it gets particularly busy, with the café serving up to 600 covers a day. We serve a particular popular all day breakfast menu, including pancakes and eggs benedict.
The Archive is proud to be sponsored by Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, whose efforts include the Islamic Wing at the Victoria & Albert Museu