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MWAZ, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

MWAZ is a brand-new fashion concept and immersive in-store retail experience in Saudi Arabia’s new Via Riyadh development. Located in the heart of the capital, this shopping, leisure, dining and tourism hub is the perfect home for MWAZ, which acts as a fusion of high fashion, art and technology all in one space.

The 16,000+ sqft space covers three floors and houses four distinct shopping areas, known as ‘frontiers’, to showcase brand pop-ups and present the customer with a personalised shopping journey like no other.

The space was created by London-based Studio of Art & Commerce, specialists in entertainment experiences and events. Lighting design practice Michael Grubb Studio were appointed by Studio of Art & Commerce at the early concept and design stages to integrate the lighting within the interior detailing and set works, to enable the brand to introduce lighting within the journey and make it an inclusive component of the overall design.

Entering the MWAZ experience, customers are greeted by womenswear, lifestyle, and art pieces, before climbing the grand spiral staircase to the first floor and arriving at the WARP frontier space.

The WARP frontier is a space for artists and brand pop-ups, featuring a rotating wall and digital screens which display animations alongside brand campaigns. Michael Grubb Studio have implemented tuneable white and colour lighting throughout, which alters to reflect the time of day outside. As evening approaches, the lighting system transitions to create a seamless sunset effect, altering setwork integrated lighting in colour temperature to an amber tone to mimic the golden natural light seen against sand dunes at dusk. Feature coloured lighting has been curated to highlight the mesmerising sculptural display of the kinetic wall and can also be customised for special events and seasonal requirements.

The next frontier is RARITIES, displaying designer eveningwear, footwear and accessories in a space inspired by the gentle forms in nature. Decorative lighting has been concealed to illuminate and complement the flowing shapes of the feature tree displays and suspended ceiling petals, to evoke a calm atmosphere. Functional spotlighting and joinery luminaires utilise high colour rendering to cast displayed items in golden hues of light, while ensuring the visibility of luxury materials and colours.

VISIONS is a contemporary warehouse-style space showcasing cutting-edge design and angular features. This is reflected in the geometric mirror setworks and seamlessly integrated decorative and functional lighting, to further differentiate this space from all others and enhance the custom journey.

Continuing through the substantial retail space, customers seeking Streetwear can find an extensive range in TRILL. This area presents lifestyle attire, in a custom exposed scaffolding framework structure. Feature animated illuminated displays offer statement lighting to further enhance the journey, while carefully coordinated pelmet and spotlighting ensure all garments are presented in the best light.

Robin Bond, Partner at Studio of Art & Commerce, said: “This uniquely creative space required an equally ingenious lighting design. Lighting was an integral part of the overall experience and key in helping us to create the distinct atmospheres of each frontier. Michael Grubb Studio were able to provide the perfect solutions to adapt to all of these specific demands, whilst also managing to create a system that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.”

Matt Waugh, Associate at Michael Grubb Studio, added: “This project was an exciting design opportunity, filled with unique challenges and creative solutions. It was a joy to develop the lighting concepts closely with the Studio of Art & Commerce team, to transform each of the spaces into a different world and to enhance the customer experience.”

This new retail concept is setting an unprecedented standard in the area for combining digital technology and high-end fashion. The lighting design is a key part of this immersive space, guiding customers through a journey to their own personalised style.

With futureproofing firmly in mind, the lighting has been designed to be as flexible as possible. Utilising colour tuneable white light, colour changing light, automated lighting control systems, and flexible fixtures such as Track mounted Spotlights, the Michael Grubb Studio team have ensured positions and appearances can be adaptable to meet the ever-changing needs of fashion brands and product displays.

Project credits:
Client: Sela
Design: Studio of Art & Commerce
Lighting Design: Michael Grubb Studio
Photography: Courtesy of Studio of Art & Commerce