Our vision for a commercially successful and sustainable future for Saudi Arabia and the Middle East

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Contact Tom Cartledge, CEO Handley House


Contact Jamie Webb, Head of Benoy EMEA

In 2016, Saudi Arabia announced its Vision 2030; a far-reaching strategic programme to reduce the country’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism. In response to Vision 2030, we’ve developed our own set of design principles and approaches for projects in Saudi Arabia. Through the application of these principles, we want to continue delivering value for Saudi clients and communities – now and for years to come.

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Handley House is an international family of designers, architects, strategists and creatives with a long history of engagement in the Middle East.

As a group, we leverage our understanding of global trends, local cultures and client needs to create iconic destinations that enrich people’s lives, enhance nature and deliver lasting economic value. We’ve been doing this for over 70 years – the past 25 at a global level.

Since 2007, Handley House has built a strong presence in the Arabian Peninsula, with a growing portfolio of projects in the UAE, Bahrain and, more recently, Saudi Arabia. And with plans to open a new office in Riyadh, we’re currently expanding our reach and impact in the region.

Our interactions in Saudi Arabia have centred on delivering commercially successful design solutions tailored to the Kingdom’s cultural context, climatic conditions and strategic objectives. Indeed, the social, economic and environmental focus of our work aligns with Saudi Vision 2030, the country’s strategic framework first announced by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in 2016.

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Through our combination of global experience and local knowledge, we’re helping to drive progress under Saudi Vision 2030’s three pillars of Ambitious Nation, Thriving Economy and Vibrant Society. In particular, we’re committed to building local partnerships and supporting local talent, ensuring vital skills are developed and retained in-country. To illustrate our thinking in this space, we’ve pulled together 10 key ideas which we believe will create a commercially successful and sustainable future for Saudi Arabia and the Middle East:

1/ People-focused, data-driven: shaping design through insight

2/ Global influence, local twist: adapting international best practice

3/ Outdoor, open and social: enabling social interaction

4/ Family values, community focus: preserving traditional spaces and experiences

5/ Shade, wind and water: cooling and controlling localised temperatures

6/ Dynamic destinations: creating vibrant urban environments through brand-led placemaking

7/ Greening the desert: developing sustainable landscapes in arid environments

8/ Heritage features: preserving and promoting Saudi Arabia’s history and culture

9/Low-impact, lasting value: supporting sustainable development

10/ Skills for the future: developing home-grown Saudi talent

Read the full report here.

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