Designlab Experience Unveils Additional Luxurious Semi-Permanent Complex

Designlab Experience

 Recently unveiled in the UNESCO-protected Diriyah area, an impressive new architectural complex transformed by Designlab Experience has captured public attention. The revitalized Al Bujairi heritage site made its debut on April 22nd, following the conclusion of Ramadan, and will remain open to visitors until July 2023.

Earlier this year, Designlab Experience also played a pivotal role in the 2023 edition of the Saudi Cup, an illustrious annual international horse race. The event attracted a record 20,000 attendees at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh last February. 

Invited back for the third consecutive year, the architectural firm and creative studio collaborated with the Kingdom's Jockey Club to design a semi-permanent complex that will serve as a blueprint for all future editions. This complex featured a royal building hosting His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and his guests, a premium hospitality venue with VIP suites, a media center, a new area for spectators with communal and entertainment spaces, retail, dining kiosks, and renovated jockey and stables areas.

The project paid tribute to the architecture and earthy colors of Diriyah, regarded as the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi. The façades of the buildings were adorned with a geometric pattern that draws inspiration from the traditional painted doors found at the heritage site. This one-of-a-kind motif was replicated through aluminum composite panel cladding running all along the exteriors, accent textiles, and woodwork featured in the modern and luminous interiors.

The firm planned a novel structure dedicated solely to His Royal Highness. Brought to life in collaboration with Blink Experience, the two-story building facing the race's podium featured floor-to-ceiling windows, a rooftop lounge offering 360-degree views of the racetrack, and a nearby helipad. Bridging tradition with modernity, the Royal Building featured a Majlis - the region's traditional seating area - as a welcoming communal area at the center of each floor, making elevated hospitality the quintessence of the experience. 

The building was self-contained with fully fitted kitchens and bathrooms, offices, guest dining, and resting areas, all constructed to the highest level, and 360-degree premium views of the races.  The Premium Hospitality building also featured 31 suites across the three floors, with a premium section on the third floor divided into a restaurant and a full-view deck of the racetrack.

The minimalist, earth-toned interiors were highlighted by teal-colored accents while remaining consistent with the overall project's aesthetic. From the texture of the walls reminiscing the look and feel of the Diriyah's mud architecture to the wood parquet and the framed ceilings, the design code created by Designlab Experience was carefully measured to provide the perfect balance between artistry and function.

The multi-function general admission area, featured retail and food and beverage kiosks, art installations, entertainment stages, and shading areas, was relocated to provide an unobstructed view of the racetrack. The intent behind the design was to create a pedestrian-friendly space offering multiple activities centered around a circular plaza that serves as the main access point. Additionally, the main stage hosted a series of concerts and performances promoted by the Ministry of Culture.

Influences of the Nadji style architecture could be found in the cohesive space, from the earthy tones of the circular shading areas and concrete walkways to the triangular openings of the retail and dining wooden kiosks, providing a modern spin on Diriyah's traditional windows and roofs.  The main pathway leading visitors from the entrance to the racetrack featured greenery, public seating, and palm trees. Finally, the permanent media center hosted approximately 300 desks, a press room, and a restaurant by the entrance.

The Saudi Cup 2023 project by Designlab Experience was made possible with the support of the Polo Club, The Ministry of Culture, and the Ministry of the Environment.

Designlab Experience

Ela Walz

Having grown up in a multi-cultural surrounding, I have developed my love for international travel at a young age. I have traveled to over 50 countries, enjoy good food, meeting people, and experiencing other cultures. ...(Read More)

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