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The art of Benoy


1st February 2015

Already known regionally for several iconic projects in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, global architecture firm Benoy continues expanding its footprint in MENA.

For over 65 years, Benoy, an award-winning firm of architects, masterplanners, interior and graphic designers, has been creating unique projects all over the world. Founded in 1947 in the United Kingdom, Benoy has a dedicated team of professionals working from design studios in London, Newark, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. In the UAE, Benoy is known by The Beach mall in JBR, Dubai, and Ferrari World on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Benoy continues to expand its Middle East footprint to meet the architecture design needs of this growing and evolving region. The firm is currently working with a number of prominent developers in MENA on a diverse portfolio of projects which are at various stages of the design and construction process. They include masterplans of large scale mixed-use developments, urban retail schemes, hospitality developments and destination enhancements.


“Benoy is celebrated as a successful design brand in its markets around the world. From our nine studios, a global team of over 550 people work in around 50 countries, delivering advanced design solutions to complex challenges,” said Graham Cartledge CBE, Chairman of Benoy.

While specialising in retail design, Benoy’s portfolio includes mixed-use developments, commercial, hospitality and leisure, residential and transportation projects. Benoy’s dedicated team of designers and professionals draw on their collective experience and personality to make a valuable and recognised contribution to the development of the built environment, says the firm.

“The Team’s ability to draw upon its proven portfolio of world-class projects gives it a distinct advantage in today’s highly competitive environment,” added Cartledge.

An established combination of creative flair and commercial awareness means that Benoy consistently provides inventive, yet cost-effective architectural solutions. Benoy’s philosophy is simple; creativity and viability are not mutually exclusive.


“The Middle East and North Africa represent a stimulating environment for architects, designers and indeed for business. As such, it is a natural habitat for Benoy. The creative scope is immense and this unique environment is a fitting place for the Benoy MENA Team to realise some of its most interesting work,” commented Paul Priest, Director – Head of MENA, Benoy.

Benoy has been present in the Middle East since 2007 and delivered its first project in the region, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, in 2010. The project attracted global attention as an iconic design translation and is now a defining landmark in Abu Dhabi’s cityscape. Since then, Benoy has completed several other projects in the MENA region including The Galleria on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, Citywalk in Dubai, and Fresco Mall in Riyadh, KSA.

The Citywalk in Dubai forms part of the vision for the wider Central Park Masterplan. It is a luxury retail development, with landscaped lakes and recreation spaces, high-end entertainment and fine dining.

According to Benoy, the brief was to create a unique mixed-use destination with a common visual language in the architectural expression. The first phase of the project has recently opened, focusing on the retail and food and beverage offer. The second phase is currently under construction.

The Beach with a prime location adjacent to Jumeirah Beach Residence is a beachfront retail, food and beverage and leisure destination in Dubai. The low rise development spans over 600 metres of prime beachfront, delivering 68 new outdoor retail and restaurant units, a cinema and an entertainment zone. The project has been formed around a pedestrian esplanade that meanders between four distinct plazas. As per Benoy’s plan, high quality architecture that is both playful and contemporary will combine with landscaping to integrate the scheme with the surrounding area.

Fresco Mall in Riyadh, KSA, is a life-style and entertainment destination which includes a fashion zone, international and local retail stores, an entertainment area with a full range of food and beverage units, including commercial outlets and boutique dining restaurants. Benoy’s team has incorporated a new concept of external street shopping into the design offering a ‘Retail boulevard’ strategically located on arrival to the main entrance of Fresco Mall that engages and activates the site with its surroundings whilst creating a destination with a strong brand identity for the client. With two valet drop off zones enabling convenient access to the leisure areas and with over 2,000 car parking spaces split between ground level and under croft parking areas, Fresco Mall offers ease of access and high levels of customer service throughout. The design aims to be ‘market sustainable’ and is responsive to the initial feedback of local and regional retailers.

“With a real appreciation of the rich culture and diverse geography of the region, Benoy is pushing boundaries in terms of creativity and innovation. Adding value to both new and existing projects through inspiring, intelligent and considerate architecture, the Team strives to contribute to the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the region,” concluded Paul Priest.


One of the latest Benoy’s projects designed for the MENA region is the mixed-use development KM45 in Egypt.

Located at kilometre 45 on the Cairo-Suez road, the KM45 project represents a key zone within New Cairo City, which will be connected to Old Cairo through the planned Cairo Suez Metro line. The ultimate aim of the masterplan is to create a global mixed-use resort with the 5.5million sqm desert site transformed into an authentic living oasis.

“The design is conceived as a series of islands within the desert and includes a retail outlet which is set around a waterside lagoon. The lagoon provides a beachside within the city and offers both water-based activity and also waterside commercial and residential opportunities,” said John Dawes, Benoy’s Director overseeing the KM45 project.

The islands offer apartment and villa living, a desert resort hotel, lagoon-side hotels, a waterpark, an equestrian centre and an array of restaurants and cafés set around a variety of waterside and Piazza experiences.

The development encourages diversity with a variety of choices and uses clearly distinguished private and public spaces. At the same time, a network of roads, bike and jogging paths, green parks, commercial boulevards and pedestrian walkways links residential islands with extensive retail, entertainment and commercial areas. This vibrant public realm facilitates ease of access and creates a harmonious yet subtle flow of traffic.

According to MNHD (Madinat Nasr for Housing & Development), the developer of the project, KM45 is the first non-coastal residential development in Egypt to contain a major waterfront. The project introduces several revolutionary design principles to the Egyptian market, with the aim of transforming a plot of desert land into a flourishing, fully integrated and harmonious urban community.

“I believe that KM45 will be a unique development among all mixed-use community projects in Egypt due to its facilities and a high quality of life provided in it,” commented Mohamed Lashien, Development Manager at MNHD for the KM45 scheme. “Up till now a commercial name of the project is not created, but it will be our first priority in early 2015 as we are planning to launch the first phase of the project within the next year.”