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The Velvet Principle

Brief: Market Wayfinding Design

Sector: Shopping Centre

Client: Foster & Partners, Aldar

Built on the site of a local market, this unique development designed by Foster & Partners combines the atmosphere of a traditional Middle Eastern souk with all the benefits of a modern retail development. The brief was to design a wayfinding scheme that would meet the expectations of an international audience without alienating local shoppers. As well as meeting the needs of the souk, the design needed to work within the subsequent phases of this mixed-use development of hotels, residential towers, offices and an international brand shopping mall.

Designed as a complex of streets and squares across three floors, The Souk is arranged as a series of distinct shopping areas, driven by product category. Taking the approach typically seen in large department stores as the inspiration, the wayfinding allows shoppers to explore and discover without feeling lost. The design reflects the culturally rooted nature of the development. The totems are embellished with a traditional fretwork design with a reveal that communicates the story of The Souk adding further interest and authenticity to the experience.