The Al Zaydi Mall in Saudi Arabia was the first time Liqui ventured into shopping mall design including the main entrance interior & food court. We were asked to create something a bit different for a public area within a shopping mall. The space serves as the central hub for the surrounding restaurants. Unusually, for these types of spaces, the ceiling height posed an interesting design problem. The ceiling is low; this is exaggerated by the large expansive space. To solve this problem Liqui’s design team looked at leafy piazzas, town squares, and parks for inspiration. We wanted to use this low ceiling to our advantage. The feel of walking under tree canopies with a surrealist edge was the chosen design direction.
In amongst the space were three square supporting pillars. They didn’t really sit well within the overall space so we opted to make a feature of them. The square pillars were made cylindrical and clad with Oak timber slats to create tree-like structures. The sculptural forms reach up into the ceiling forming canopies reflective of trees. These were used as the primary source of light for the semi-basement space with the lighting installations designed to mimic sunlight making up for the lack of natural light. By using programmable LED matrices the right kelvin levels are calibrated to create the illusion of a sky. The dappled light and blue tones then pass through the tree canopies.
The sculptural tree concept was already quite an unusual concept for a Saudi Arabia shopping mall design, but we took it a bit further. On the ceiling, concentric circles of light emanate from the tree structures adding to the spectacle of this public space with the light rings reflected in the white marble floors; adding depth to the whole interior.
The surreal experience of strolling through a park is then completed with the addition of curved pathways mixed with plenty of greenery in planters. Altogether our shopping mall public space design creates a welcoming interior, offering an enjoyable experience of surroundings for people to meet, have a bite to eat, and enjoy some retail therapy.