Saudi Arabia

Gem of a project

An aerial perspective of the Konoz project.

A SR7-billion ($1.86 billion) mixed-use destination is set to take shape in the Saudi capital featuring a host of residential and commercial elements as well as an entertainment hub.

Designed by leading global architectural firm Benoy, Konoz (which means ‘box of jewels’ in Arabic) will spread over a 50,000-sq-m area and will be developed by Saudi-based Abdullah Al Othaim Investment Company, one of the kingdom’s largest shopping mall operators.

The project is being developed in line with ‘Vision 2030’, positioning Riyadh as a 24-hour destination to live, work and shop. It includes 50,000 sq m of state-of-the-art office spaces, a 20,000-sq-m entertainment city and a 120,000-sq-m commercial centre with retail and food and beverage (F&B) outlets. It will also host a 250-key world-class luxury hotel and 120 serviced residential apartments as well as a 700-unit residential apartment complex in addition to 15,000 sq m of green areas and parking for 5,500 vehicles.

Group Chairman Abdullah bin Saleh Al Othaim says the project is being developed in line with the vision for Riyadh, which aims to transform the city into a global hub for investment, innovation, and tourism.

The vibrant shopping area at Konoz.

The vibrant shopping area at Konoz.

‘Konoz’ bears a name inspired by a diverse array of gemstones and will embody the architectural representations of glittering treasure – both in its entirety and through visual cues in its various zones, according to the architect.

“Benoy’s design concept centres around creating an attractive walkable district and neighbourhood, where people would be able to enjoy a variety of culture and leisure activities. It comprises four key districts that bring together cues from contemporary and historic Riyadh and reflect the different experiences of the city,” says Jamie Webb, Head of EMEA at Benoy. “Within each district, visitors can experience a unique approach to shopping, dining and leisure, replete with multi-levelled event spaces and the best of up-and-coming entertainment offers.”

The project also saw Benoy partner with its sister wayfinding, landscape architecture and commercial consulting businesses within the Handley House parent company in developing the scheme.

Pragma Consulting provided input on the commercial strategy and planning to help inform the customer experience and retail plan. This involved a comprehensive primary research study undertaken with residents of Riyadh, to obtain strategic insights on fast-evolving consumer behaviours, along with a detailed evaluation of global retail and development trends, to provide data-driven insights to optimise the design vision.

The majestic entrance to Konoz.

The majestic entrance to Konoz.

Holmes Wood worked on a placemaking strategy for Konoz. Working closely with the rest of Handley House team, it established and applied a set of principles that sought to shape the identity of the new development.

“Their strategic approach saw them identify opportunities and locations for architecture, landscape, lighting, events programming, art and digital that together would create both a quality visitor experience and commercial value for Abdullah Al Othaim Investment Company,” says the spokesperson.

Uncommon Land designed all the landscape spaces including ground level and roofscapes. 

Webb comments: “It has been a pleasure to work on the design for a development that will truly transform the face of Riyadh – and bring an unparalleled mixed-use offering to the city. Our design aims to forge destinations where people want to live and spend time with their family and friends.”

It will also align with the new Riyadh Metro system as a part of wider transport-oriented development for the city.