Cityscape Global, the world's largest real estate event bringing together investors and developers, was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from September 10 through September 13, 2023, attracting nearly 300,000 attendees. Among the event's highlights was the Masar Destination pavilion, exhibiting the plan for a massive urban infrastructure project in the Holy City of Makkah, fusing the spiritual identity of the Kingdom's biggest attraction, the historic Great Mosque, with modern transportation, hotels, restaurants, and shopping.
Designlab Experience was commissioned by Umm Al Qura, the development and construction firm overseeing the project, to produce an interactive visual and sensory simulation of the vibrant future of Masar. The state-of-the-art modern pavilion featured a billowing canopy made of steel and faux frosted glass, plush lounge and dining areas, botanical, culinary, and digital installations, bespoke patterned flooring, a café with a circular wood bar, a Makkah soundscape, and a physical model of the mega project.
Drawing inspiration from the historic culture and Hejazi architecture of Makkah, the design team transformed a 494-square-meter space into a contemporary pavilion where visitors were transported to the dynamic vision of Masar, a brand new city within Makkah, with the ambition to attract 30 million pilgrims and tourists by 2030. The combination of minimalist decor with futuristic features and sensory elements evoking the sounds and flavors of the region spawned an alluring vibe interpreting what Masar's 1.2 million square meters will eventually look and feel like.
The pavilion’s showstopper was a dramatic curved canopy that gracefully hovered over the lounge, dining area and café, symbolizing the new chapter awaiting Makkah. The structure’s torqued, black steel frame and faceted triangulated frosted cutouts mimicking glass, was a standout counterpoint to the soft, intimate interior areas it covered. Weaving linoleum floors, some embellished with reimaged geometric patterns of the region, guided visitors throughout the space, including a chic round bar constructed of slat wood panels and a glass and wood cylindrical kiosk displaying traditional souvenirs for the guests.
Botanical installations representing the local topography hung above the scaled panorama model of the anticipated cityscape and were planted in palm wood boxes along the pavilion's perimeter.
While an immersive cinematic journey capturing the vibrancy of Masar was projected on a giant digital screen, a sweeping soundscape echoing the Holy City's tranquil auditory profile and regional culinary delights, such as traditional Saudi coffee and sweet treats, added to the welcoming atmosphere.