WHAT IS UTAMO
Utamo will be an event space to host global artists in the northwest of Saudi Arabia. Utamo will feature performance areas, signature restaurants and VIP lounges.
“Guests will arrive at Utamo via an extensive landscaped walkway, with more than 50 species of shrubs, herbs and flowers, before arriving at the grand foyer. The 64-metre-high entrance, which pays homage to art and design, sets the stage for the amazing experiences that await visitors inside,” says lead architect Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura (RBTA).
I would like to stop here to tell you about Ricardo Bofill, architect of the post-modern movement and only son of Ricardo Bofill Levi, the late, prestigious architect.
Thanks to Ricardo father and son, as well as his formidable team, important architectural works have been made, such as the famous W hotel that we can enjoy on the coast of Barcelona (Spain).
Ricardo is one of the people in charge of the development of Utamo:
WHAT SETS UTAMO APART FROM THE OTHER PROJECTS BEING DEVELOPED IN NEOM?
A 64-metre-high entrance lined with stepped stone blocks will lead to Utamo, a “theatre of the future” in Saudi Arabia that has been announced as the latest destination for the Neom megaproject, although knowing Saudi Arabia’s ambition at the moment, it would not be surprising to see more and more projects. Saudi Arabia wants to transform the way we live.
This will lead to a “unique and monumental gate” located on a cliff that reaches a height of 64 metres and is surrounded by rectangular stone blocks.
“Utamo, like a film, needs a dramatic ascent, then a turning point”, said Ricardo B.
It brings back old memories of the Lord of the Rings films:
“The Gates of Erebor : The Lonely Mountain” from The Lord of The Rings.
“As you approach this great gate, you realise that there is something much more special inside,” added Ricardo B.
“You pass through a space that gets tighter and tighter and then suddenly explodes into another world that immerses you in art and performance, augmented by the most incredible technology.”
Located on a mountainside along the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, Utamo’s event space will be situated on a lushly landscaped promenade. Inside the large hall, which will have a capacity of 2,600 people, Utamo will host immersive art presentations and performances.
The most surprising thing is that the focus will be on phygital experiences among others, bringing together the physical and digital worlds. And that’s not all, as Ricardo’s way of talking shows his clear intention to make his visitors the protagonist. In fact, in his presentation video, we can see him as the royalty looked in Roman times, in a central and superior way in the coliseum, something similar to this type of scenes as well.
As soon as I saw him up there, I could not help remembering the film Gladiator, where from above, the emperors observed all kinds of performances or fights. And he himself (Ricardo) talks about making you laugh, cry, feel, all those emotions that are told in a much more vivid way being inside and not far away from the event. It seems to me to be very successful on his part.
And here, Neom has created Utamo for a mystical symbiosis between nature and explosive creativity. Of course, it seems that this will not be available to everyone, but rather to a lucky few with enough money. They will also be able to enjoy VIP areas and restaurants.
On the other hand, I can’t help but question the viability of these places even though I have very little information, especially from Utamo. I wish I could get more information from Utamo to share with you all, but we will be seeing new editions as this “temporary fog” lifts. It definitely looks like a very exclusive, private, intimate and luxurious place.
But… Who wouldn’t want to visit it at least once in their life?