Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura designs immersive events space as latest Neom destination

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A 64-metre-high entrance clad in staggered stone blocks will lead to Utamo, a “theatre of the future” in Saudi Arabia that has been announced as mega-project Neom‘s latest destination.

Designed by Spanish studio Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura, the Utamo events space will be accessed by walking up a landscaped coastal path that the studio described as “very romantic”.

Utamo will have a large stone entrance

This will lead to a “single, monumental door” set into a cliffside that reaches a height of 64 metres and is surrounded by blocks of rectangular stones.

“Utamo, like a film, needs a dramatic ascension, then a turning point,” said architect Ricardo Emilio Bofill, the son of late architect and studio founder Ricardo Bofill.

The building will be located on the Gulf of Aqaba coastline

“As we approach this big door, you realise that there’s something much more special inside,” he added.

“You go through a space that becomes narrower and narrower and then all of a sudden, it explodes into another world that immerses you in art and performance, augmented by the most incredible technology.”

It will have a 2,600-seat capacity

Located on a mountain by the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, the Utamo events space will be set above a garden promenade featuring more than 50 different shrubs, flowers and herbs.

Inside the grand hall, which will have a capacity of 2,600 people, Utamo will hold immersive artistic installations and performances.


Neom unveils plans for hexagonal-pillar hotel on the Gulf of Aqaba

“Utamo is going to be one of the most unique venues in the world,” Bofill said. “A theatre of the future where the greatest artists come together. It’s an exclusive experience where the imagination knows no bounds.”

Utamo, which is the eighth Neom destination to be revealed, will also house VIP lounges and signature restaurants.

The space will be designed by Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura

A video shows the main hall used as a performance space that reaches the full height of the building and appears to open up to give visitors a view of the ocean.

Described as a space where “reality and the digital realm converge,” Utamo will allow guests to become a part of the performance, according to Neom.

“Advanced audio-visual systems will captivate guests with sensory experiences, enveloping them in audio-visual wonder as they become part of the performance itself,” Neom said.

It is the latest Neom destination to be announced

The Utamo announcement follows that of Siranna, a hexagonal-pillar hotel, at the end of November. Earlier that month, Neom also revealed plans for Epicon, a luxury resort that will feature two jagged skyscrapers by 10Design.

In total, the Neom project will contain 10 destinations. These will also include an octagon-shaped port city named Oxagon, the mirrored mega-city The Line and an island resort called Sindalah.

The mega-project has been criticised on human rights grounds, including by human rights organisation ALQST that reported that three men were sentenced to death after being “forcibly evicted” from the Neom site.

It is one of the top architecture and design controversies of the year 2023.

Images and video are courtesy of Neom.

The post Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura designs immersive events space as latest Neom destination appeared first on Dezeen.

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