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Mareines Arquitetura office designs refreshing and welcoming aesthetics through parametrization in Saudi Arabian restaurant

Project name:
KOA Restaurant
Architecture firm:
Mareines Arquitetura
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Amro Bagedo
Principal architect:
Ivo Mareines & Matthieu Van Beneden
Design team:
Mariana Chalhube, Tathilane Loureiro, David Mendonça, Julia Campos
Interior design:
Mareines Arquitetura
Dan Gregov, Gabriela Sadock, Alan Volpato
Built area:
350,00 m²
Site area:
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Mohamed Khalid
Structural engineer:
Kenaaz Contracting Company
Environmental & MEP:
Kenaaz Contracting Company
Light Works – Airton Pimenta
Mohamed Khalid
Wood, Cooper, Glass
Mareines arquitetura
Tools used:
Revit, AutoCAD
Kab Holding
Hospitality › Restaurant

Mareines Arquitetura: KOA is an international cuisine restaurant located in a large open air all in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The clients approached Mareines looking for an architectural style that would be refreshing, organic, and connected to nature. With this brief inmind, they came up with the idea of creating a tree in the center of the hall, designed through wood veneers superimposed in horizontal layers. The structure goes from the floor to the ceiling and has a unique geometry that simulates trunk, branches and leaves, helping to support the second floor."Trees are beautiful and interesting because they are never exactly alike, but they all carry with them the symbolism of life and freshness.In addition, our tree also created a strongbrand, which can be carried to the other headquarters, because its design can be adapted to any other space", comments architect Ivo Mareines.

The use of parametric architecture enabled the differentiated design of the tree, which was produced in Saudi Arabia together with all the carpentry of the project.The same technique was used for the walls, made of layers of vertical wood veneers, composingan undulation inspired by desert dunes. Another fundamental point for the restaurant's atmosphere is the lighting.At the request of the owners, the play of light can change to follow the seasons of the year.The dynamic also includes the tree, which can acquire a warmer or colder color depending on theseason.The decoration also dialogues with the visual identity of the KOA brand.

Colors such as beige, green, and blue can be seen in the pre-oxidized opper coverings, chairs, tables, rugs, and cushions that make up the furniture. In reference to the Asian menu, especially the Japanese, very present in KOA's cuisine,a counter inspired by Japanese restaurants was designed at the base of the tree, so that customerscan enjoy quick meals without having to wait fora table. To create intimacy between staff and public, the triangular structure was designed next tothe open kitchen.Finally, as the only intervention on the outside, adeck with tables and umbrellas composes a veranda that integrates the restaurant and the shopping plaza. The owners chose Jeddah as their headquarters, but intend to expand to cities such as London,New York, and Dubai. Therefore, it was essential to achieve a striking look, easily identifiable and that could be replicated. "This task was made even more challenging by the physical and cultural distance between Braziland Saudi Arabia, but the result was a unique architecture.For us it is always a joy to do things outside Brazil, because we end up having contact with othercultures and different 'knowledges'. It is always a very good exchange", concludes Ivo.


Mareines Architecture is an architecture and urbanism office that seeks an innovative response toeach work. Enthusiasts for architecture, they face the projects as a challenge, escaping from preestablished formulas and the repetition of their own solutions.They have executed projects all over Brazil, in states like Acre, Ceará, Bahia, São Paulo, Rio deJaneiro, Goiás, and Minas Gerais, and in countries like Puerto Rico, Portugal, and SaudiArabia, besides the city of Jerusalem. With work published by media outlets around the world, including Europe and Asia, the harmony between technology, poetics, and contemporary design are hallmarks of the office. In addition,pluralarchitecture, multiculturalism and attention to social and constructive contexts are the focus of each project, which also includes aesthetic quality and concern for amore balanced and sustainable society.

About Ivo Mareines

Ivo Mareines is graduated in architecture and urbanism and post-graduated in philosophy.In the 80s and 90s, he developed independent projects, especially in the cultural area.He also exhibited as a Plastic artist at MIS São Paulo, MAM Rio de Janeiro and at the SãoPaulo International Biennial. From 2001 to 2016, he was a founding partner of the Mareines+Patalano Architecture Office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

About Matthieu Van Beneden

Matthieu Van Beneden graduated in Architecture and Design in Brussels, Belgium.He was an exchange student in 2009 as an intern at Mareines+Patalano Architecture and, in late2011, returned to Brazil and began his work as an architect.He has participated in important projects such as the Residence, in the Dominican Republic, the Sea Museum, in Santa Cruz deCabrália, as well as resortsin the Amazon and Northeast Brazil.In 2017 he joined Mareines Architectureas an important element in the internationalization process of the office.As a Belgian and honorary carioca, he mixes the spirit of European tradition with the luminosity of Rio de Janeiro

By Alfredo Gonzalez

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