Architecture & Design

The architectural form for the shopping centre draws inspiration from Riyadh’s smooth desert sandstone landscapes.

The architectural form for the shopping centre draws inspiration from Riyadh’s smooth desert sandstone landscapes.

Retail therapy

May 2020

A new retail experience in Saudi Arabia, which has been designed by British architectural firm Benoy, has been taking shape at Riyadh’s Talhia Street.

Benoy, which began operations in 1947 as a three-man architectural firm in rural Nottinghamshire in the UK, is an established international brand, whose portfolio includes the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi in the UAE and Elements Mall in Hong Kong.

Benoy is the lead architect on the 11,640-sq-m retail scheme on Talhia Street, a prominent location in the heart of Riyadh. In order to encourage growth and develop the area’s cultural and commercial offering, the client wanted to create a unique food and beverage (F&B)-led retail development, according to Benoy.

“As a major thoroughfare for the city, we had to ensure that our designs understood the location and logistics, while creating an active, vibrant family destination for Riyadh’s discerning residents,” says a spokesman for Benoy.

The architectural form designed by Benoy draws inspiration from Riyadh’s smooth desert sandstone landscapes. Using the narrow frontage to its advantage, Benoy has sculpted a bold, striking presence which then leads to an elegantly designed building. External street F&B units engage and activate the site with its surroundings, whilst creating a unique destination and a strong brand identity.

Ajdan Walk ... a 15,120-sq-m ‘retail village’ development.

Ajdan Walk ... a 15,120-sq-m ‘retail village’ development.

Benoy was also the architect behind the recently-opened Ajdan Walk in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

For the 15,120-sq-m ‘retail village’ development created for AlOula Real Estate Development Company, Benoy has aimed to create a dynamic cultural and retail hub as part of the wider Ajdan Waterfront development.

In line with Saudi Arabia’s culture, it needed to facilitate areas for privacy while encouraging relaxation and enjoyment with an exciting sense of arrival and strong natural flow.

“Our response is focused on blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces to create areas for privacy and amusement. We took inspiration from the surrounding streets and buildings to ensure cultural relevance throughout the design, featuring carefully curated landscaping and seamless pedestrian flow,” the spokesman says.

Ajdan Walk, an open-air F&B and shopping destination, features the first food village in the Eastern Province with many leading international food brands located in and around Boulevard Street.

Apart from projects in Saudi Arabia, Benoy is also responsible for the masterplanning, architecture and interior design of Bahrain Marina, a 300,000-sq-m mixed-use urban waterfront district which is to take shape in Bahrain.  

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