Located amongst the cool galleries and hip coffee shops of Alserkal Avenue is Kave, a place with far less pretense than the ones around it. Founded in March 2019 by sisters Zaina and Rania Kanaan, it’s an upcycling-café-slash-concept-store-slash-community-space that is quickly making a name for itself in town.
To get the lowdown on what to expect at Kave, Goodness caught up with one half of the sister duo, Zaina. Here’s what you need to know.
Kave is a sustainable space.
“We are a sustainable space, so what we try to promote is a kinder way of living. We try to shed light on the fact that we, as people, have the choice to make sustainable decisions every day. By making these small, impactful decisions, we can change so many lives and so many people’s perspective about things. That’s really what the space is about,” explains Zaina.
All the furniture here is upcycled.
Indeed, sustainability is at the core of everything here. The furniture, for instance, is entirely upcycled.
“Our objective is to make you re-think the way you use your things and what you could do with them after they’ve lived out their format. We live in a culture of throwing away, so everything is fast moving, everything is about making and throwing and disposing. We have the power to change that just by being a little bit creative, so this is really what this space brings forth,” Zaina shares. “It can spark that creativity in you if you allow it.”
Here, the water glasses are made out of old bottles, which were also used to make chandeliers. The chairs once belonged to an Egyptian café in Dubai that was shutting down, and the sculptures lying around the space were made using old newspapers.
Even the empty water-dispenser containers were put to good use, collecting water from the ACs to irrigate the plants that line the walls of Kave. “In the future, what we would love to do is collect all of this water in a flusher to use in the bathroom,” she adds.
Kave will even help you upcycle your own furniture.
The Kanaan sisters have earned somewhat of a reputation for helping people upcycle their own furniture.
“A table can be changed into a chair, and a chair can be changed into a storage cabinet. Or an old sink can be turned into a little vase cradle. You can also upcycle everyday items like drinking cups and glass bottles,” Zaina tells us. “The possibilities are endless.”
There's a great retail corner.
There are two flagship brands in the space. Charicycles, one of the Kanaan sisters’ first ventures that was started five years go, upcycles old bicycles and turns them into dreamy, pastel-colored, wicker basket-adorned creations.
“Charicyles is what sparked the expansion into Kave, allowing for multiple revenue streams from a social business that is impactful not just for your body but also for your community and for your environment,” Zaina explains.
The second brand is Howlin’ Rooster, which makes guitars out of old cigar boxes and other discarded items.
In the multi-brand retail corner, you’ll find fair-trade fashion, homeware, beauty, and personal products. Each one of them, as you would expect, has a story to tell. Amongst them, there’s an Ayurvedic skincare brand from Sri Lanka and rugs made by female refugees.
“The point is to explain to people that you can still buy something beautiful at a reasonable price point and help someone. And you can learn about the story of what it is you bought, because the whole process is very transparent and there’s usually no middle man, so these artisans get paid directly.”
The food here is delicious.
Roots Bistro is behind the small café corner, serving up dishes made from ingredients sourced mostly from local farmers. “The dishes are produced mindfully and with the message that you don’t necessarily have to import everything.”
Kave organizes regular workshops and events.
Kave’s schedule is packed with workshops, talks, and other events that have one common thread: they are focused on helping you lead a kinder life.
“Half of our workshops are to teach you how to make the products that you use so that, when you use them, you have more empathy towards the things themselves but also the makers. When you’ve gone through the work of making something yourself, next time you go to a store to buy it you might ask, is this price fair? Is it right that I’m buying this for two dirhams? You’ll also think twice before throwing that product,” Zaina tells us. That includes deodorants, leather sandals, tote bags, soap, and also furniture.
The other half are workshops and classes that teach you to be kinder to and heal yourself. These include art therapy, laughter yoga, womb healing sessions, and drumming circles.
“We are all living in a very fast-moving world and we all carry our own traumas. The point is that, for you to be able to be kind to the outside world, you need to be kind to yourself first. We are a community of people who want to improve, who want to be better, who want to make better generations, and a big part of that is us being okay, which is a lifelong journey.”
If you’re looking for something more lighthearted, there’s also a Bingo Brunch on Fridays.
Oh and dogs are welcome too.
Kave is one of the few spaces in Dubai that allow dogs indoors. At any given time of the day, you’re likely to find a pup or two wandering around the space, sitting under their owner’s chair, or nibbling at some of the treats available for them.