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Outstanding in the Desert


4A Architects Group is the brainchild of one of the most well-regarded young architects in the Arabian Gulf and is a subsidiary of a global player in modern urban design. The Group’s founder is Rabaa Abdulaziz Al-Othaim, who has been named one of the Arab World’s ‘most inspirational businesswomen and listed as one of the 50 most influential women in Saudi Arabia, whilst the firm itself has helped facilitate various major projects in Design and Technical Consulting in Riyadh and has contracted long-term associates in the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan, and France.

Just as Rabaa A. Al-Othaim’s rise to notoriety reflects the Kingdom’s new emphasis on women’s entrepreneurship, the firm’s projects and designs maintain a fascinating balance between sleek modernism and an authentically innovative Saudi vernacular.

Likewise, the size and scope of their commissions bridge the broad divide between intimate living spaces and grand corporate monuments. For the former category, these range from the ‘Empty Quarter’ Glamping site, which exemplifies a traditional Najdi design in the form of a concentric series of luxurious clay-toned block villas arrayed in the midst of a fantastical desert getaway, to the highly-acclaimed KAM Villa project, which consciously sets out to re-invent the open-plan domestic living space and connect inner and outer space like no other luxury residence on the market.

In the business of commercial interiors, the firm offers such offhand innovations as an Office Reception concept that doubles as a dedicated ‘entertainment center’ for all on-site employees. But now contrast that with their wonderfully grand design for The Food District: a ‘flagship offering’ (in the firm’s words) that seeks to single-handedly put Riyadh on the international culinary map by stacking two courtyards of Michelin-star level cuisine venues over a 25,000 square-meter plot in another Najdi-inspired glass construction.

Lastly, we have to consider two of the firm’s own favorite projects: the SFES-A Building which wears on its sleeve the influence of the Al-Wajh style, but with an extremely efficient and minimal build and appearance, and the NAK Residential complex, which brags of having no influences to show off at all but sets out to be a masterful influence in its own right on the future of Saudi urbanism.

As you can tell by now, the throughline of all 4A Architect’s work is adaptability, and it is perhaps the firm’s prime virtue – their meticulous taste and focused finishings have transformed seemingly every interior concept into tangible havens for their customer base, and in the process reflected a new emphasis on an authentically 21st-century vision of Saudi design.

It’s no surprise at all then that 4A Architects is both seeking and receiving plaudits and attention from beyond the Middle East, with Luxury Lifestyle Awards recently listing it as not just one of the Best Design Firms in the region, but most recently as one of the Top 100 Architects and Designers of the World for 2022, reflecting the universal appeal of their localized commissions.

On their current trajectory, it seems 4A Architects doesn’t need to be wished any luck – they just deserve even more of our attention. Visit the company’s website at https://www.4a.sa/about/ to learn more about their services, team, and various projects.


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