The trainers may have been replaced with T-shirts, but the vibe is just as cool. When three friends from Abu Dhabi launched Local in Al Zeina in 2018 – a one-stop shop to get a haircut and buy some kicks, with speciality coffee thrown in – they did so to address what they perceived as a gap in the market.
The barber and beverage services remain at Local Mamsha, the trio’s second location that opened recently on Saadiyat Island, but the store also incorporates a homeware and fashion element.
“As we started getting older and maturing, our style evolved,” says Jackson Brett, who is one of the co-founders alongside brothers Jasim and Zayed Al Khouri. "Similar to when we opened the first Local, we found it hard to get certain products and brands here. We really just stock the stuff we like and want to have or use ourselves."
Drawn to the beachy vibe, luxury accommodation and proposed finished development of the Guggenheim in the same neighbourhood, the team viewed the Saadiyat location two years ago and were instantly sold. The launch was delayed owing to the pandemic, but the trio decided to open doors in July.
In keeping with the beach feel, the airy store retails tees, slides and shades interspersed with coffee pots, cups and strainers. Haircare products vie for space alongside candles with a pottery base and a sandstone cup collection specially made by Oka Ceramics for Local.
Other brands include The Provider Store, Kinto Japan, Grown Alchemist and Salt and Stone, and you can pick up the coffee culture magazine Drift while you get a haircut or enjoy the special caffeine blends on offer.
“It’s a curated collection of homeware, lifestyle goods, clothing and beachwear from both well-known global and independent local brands,” explains Brett.
The interior, too, is super slick, and was designed by Jade Daniel and Ghalia Korban of shell+core in Abu Dhabi, the same design duo behind the original Local, who were keen to take their cues from the environment at Mamsha.
Contrasting tactile elements make themselves known in the form of rough and smooth surfaces, warm wood and cold concrete, and cacti plants and palm trees. Outdoor lighting is set into white stones, the neutral palette is offset by wooden elements, and greenery abounds above and beside each seated area. Carefully considered plug points are built into channels within long poured-concrete tables, while a grooved hidden door leads to the washroom.
The barber area is the focal point of the space, and takes the form of a faux greenhouse, while the oversized mirrors bounce back light from the beach at the doorstep.
“We wanted to infuse the existing culture of Local with this new site’s context, one that features a seamless view of the beach," says designer Daniel. "The design was about the interplay of primitive building materials referencing the essence of the first Local, such as concrete, brick and stainless steel together with refined and reflective elements inspired by the landscape."
As to whether Abu Dhabi residents can expect a third Local location, when asked what’s coming next Brett is quick to reply: “A lot, stay tuned.”
Local Mamsha is open from 8am to 11pm at Lilac 6, Mamsha Al Saadiyat; localco.ae