urbanphenomena: design & research

 

 
 Reda and William in Jeddah

Reda and William in Jeddah

 
I met Reda Sijiny, Senior Partner of urbanphenomena, at the ‘Continental Shift’ icograda* congress in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 11 September 2001—the day the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre went down just a few hours before the opening ceremony.

Flights were abruptly cancelled, conference speakers were caught in the chaos at airports and never arrived; the internet went dead as the HQ of South Africa’s main service provider went down with the Towers. Those who arrived earlier, on the other hand, were left in a state of shock and disbelief, forced to confront their personal emotions, stranded at the heart of what was perceived to be an edgy, unsafe city, far away from home and their loved ones.

Those memories remain vivid and indelible. It was natural that the speakers and delegates in the conference hall forged a strong bond in the face of the horrific events. This was the beginning of my friendship with Reda—we were both speakers at the Congress—a friendship that eventually evolved into a professional working partnership between my company and Reda’s urbanphenomena.
— Wiliam Harald-Wong

*International Council of Graphic Design Associations, now renamed ico-D


URBANPHENOMENA

Established in Jeddah on 3 November 1999, urbanphenomena is a multidisciplinary studio that lives at the intersection of design disciplines, dealing primarily with the built environment.

The company’s areas of expertise integrate architecture, lightweight structures, interiors, graphics, lighting & wayfinding.

Through observation and research, the team approaches their project by identifying unique socio-cultural traits to delineate the local culture. They then use these insights as a basis for contextualising current projects, and as education materials for the wider audience through a combination of writing, events, and publications. 

 

THE CORE TEAM

urbanphenomena’s core team of professionals comprises dedicated architects and designers, collaborating together to bring international knowhow into every design detail.

Mohammed N. Al Sharif  
Founder / Senior Architect
Master of Architecture, University of Houston, USA
Bachelor of Architecture, KFUPM, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Reda Sejini
Managing Partner / Senior Architect
Master of Engineering , Technical University of Vienna, Austria
Master of Architecture, Kyushu Institute of Design, Fukuoka, Japan
Bachelor of Architecture, KFUPM, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Majed Munshi
Partner / Design Director
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, Michigan State University, East Lansing-Michigan, USA
UITP Certificate Transportation wayfinding, Paris, France

 

Email: info@urbanphenomena.net

Website: http://www.urbanphenomena.net

Blog: https://madeinjeddah.net 


AREAS OF EXPERTISE

 Architecture

Architecture

 Lightweight structures

Lightweight structures

 Lightweight structures (Muzdalifah Walkway, Makkah)

Lightweight structures (Muzdalifah Walkway, Makkah)

 Interiors

Interiors

 Interiors

Interiors

 Graphics

Graphics

 Wayfinding & signage

Wayfinding & signage

 Wayfinding & signage

Wayfinding & signage

 Wayfinding & signage

Wayfinding & signage

 Wayfinding & signage

Wayfinding & signage


A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE 

My first visit to Jeddah in 2005.

An encounter with urbanphenomena’s early projects.

— William Harald-Wong

 

The Reda Sijiny whom I know is a world citizen. After graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in Saudi Arabia, he headed east to finish a Master of Design degree in Fukuoka, Japan, and worked for two years at the architecture office of Shin Takamatsu in Kyoto. His time in Japan had made him a fluent Japanese speaker; and he is also a professional translator, translating between the Japanese and Arabic language. 

He is well-travelled and has probably seen more of Malaysia than the average Malaysian—trekking across the Peninsula (and climbed Mount Kinabalu in Borneo), experiencing the rural and the remote. Reda and his wife took the long route home from Japan—not a few hours by flight, but two months by land, following the old, dusty Silk Road of Central Asia.

Reda and his friend from university days, Mohammad Al Sharief, conceived urbanphenomena as a combination of studio space, think tank, research lab, centre for debate, and architectural practice. The team continuously conduct a variety of research work on the built environment and its interaction with the urban context and culture; and speakers from different disciplines are regularly invited to share their insights and passion at the talks organised by them. I gave a talk on the Naga, the Serpent Spirit of Southeast Asia, a research topic close to my heart.

I was also privileged to be given a ‘design tour’ of urbanphenomena’s early projects, one of which was Lomar—thobe...[re]defined, an exclusive boutique that is giving the thobe a fresh breath of life. The thobe, a traditional all-white garment for men, is part of Saudi Arabia’s proud heritage, but the design for it has remained unchanged throughout time. Lomar seeks to redesign and adapt the local man dress to meet the needs of the younger generation living a more modern, active, and energetic lifestyle. 

The spatial design and detailing expanded on the square form of the Lomar logo, presented by the designers at urbanphenomena as a ‘void cube’ to focus on the void beauty of the area it created. But what caught my eye was an East Asian sensibility in the interior space, fusing the best of Saudi culture and heritage, western concepts and methodology, and eastern philosophy.

urbanphenomena is an architectural practice for the world.


LOMAR

Jeddah, Al-Rawdha Road (Main Branch) / 240 sqm / 2005 / Interior

UrP_Lomar_ExtSign_front 2.jpg
UrP_Lomar_Rendering_Arab.jpg
UrP_Lomar_Shelving.jpg
UrP_Lomar_Display 2.jpg
UrP_Lomar_Display Unit_day.jpg
UrP_Lomar_Display Unit_ngt.jpg
UrP_Lomar_Display Cabinet 2_EDT_cropped.jpg
UrP_Lomar_Display Cabinet 1_EDT.jpg

 

BUSINESS & GOVERNMENT COMPLEX

Jeddah / 5000 sqm / 2004 / Speculative Architecture

UrP_BixPk_Overview.jpg
UrP_BizPk_Brown Building.jpg

 

SOKOOK ALARABIA HQ

Jeddah, Al-Rawdha Road / 2003 / Architecture / Interiors / Graphics including Logo

UrP_Sokook_Render_Ext_front.jpg
UrP_Sokook_Render_Ext_night.jpg

 

WETCO TECHNOLOGY SHOWROOM

Jeddah, Madenah Road / 500 sqm / 2002 / Signage & Shop Interior

In the early 2000s, many companies in Jeddah were housed in buildings and shop offices which looked very dated. This posed an image problem for companies marketing new technologies. urbanphenomena created a façade for a showroom to differentiate itself from its neighbours, executed within a very tight budget and using readily available parts and material.

UrP_Wetco_Construction_1.jpg
UrP_Wetco_Render_night.jpg
UrP_Wetco_Constr_detail_1.jpg
UrP_Wetco_Signage.jpg

 

INMAIA CENTRAL PARK

On my last day in Jeddah, Reda was documenting the test printout for the hoarding of Inmaia Central Park shopping mall, largest in Saudi Arabia at that time. The hoarding is 1.6km long, and the reduced scale digital test mock-up ran around the perimeter of the office.

UrP_Inmaia_Hoard_Test 3.jpg
 Attaching the thin strip of digital printout to the wall with sellotape for an overview of the hoarding design

Attaching the thin strip of digital printout to the wall with sellotape for an overview of the hoarding design

urbanphenomena now has satellite offices in Madinah and Riyadh. 


LINKS

 urbanphenomena design services (18MB pdf)

urbanphenomena design services (18MB pdf)