Eye-catching designs unveiled for Saudi Arabia’s Coral Bloom concept

by | 22 Feb 2021 | Design, News

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia has launched the nature-inspired vision for a Foster + Partners-designed luxury scheme featuring no fewer than 11 hotels.

The Coral Bloom plan aims to deliver a host of new hotels while protecting and enhancing the pristine nature of Shurayrah Island, a key part of The Red Sea Development Company’s ambitious regenerative tourism project.

Gateway to The Red Sea Project

His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia and chairman of The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), has shared the vision for the project’s main hub island, Shurayrah, with the launch of the Coral Bloom concept.

Biodiversity considerations take precedence here with plans designed to ensure minimal disruption of the island’s habitats, provide natural defences from erosion and create new habitats. The proposals also outline designs for 11 separate hotels, which are to be built into the landscape and adapted to suit traveller’s needs following the pandemic.

“We expect guests to be awed by what they see when they first arrive at The Red Sea Project, enjoying a truly immersive barefoot luxury experience,” said John Pagano, CEO of The Red Sea Development Company. “The Coral Bloom designs, taking inspiration from the incredible flora and fauna found uniquely in Saudi Arabia, promise to make that vision a reality.

“Shurayrah Island is the gateway to The Red Sea Project so it’s important that it sets the standard in groundbreaking architecture and sustainable design, not just for our destination, but globally too. This is achieved by going beyond simply protecting the environment, to applying a regenerative approach.”

Environmentally conscious design

The design includes the creation of new beaches, which will help protect the land from the threat of rising sea levels, along a lagoon of the dolphin-shaped island. As for the 11 hotels, which are to be operated by leading brands, they’re intended to blend into the natural landscape, helped by an absence of high-rise buildings.

Responding to the changing demands of travellers over the past 12 months, the concept is designed to maximise space and seclusion, and everything will be created using lightweight materials for a more energy-efficient construction process that lessens the environmental impact.

“Our vision for Shurayrah is inspired by the island’s natural state, with the hotels designed to give the impression that they have washed up on the beaches and nestled among the dunes almost like driftwood,” said Gerard Evenden, head of studio at Foster + Partners. “The materials we use and the low impact they have ensures that the pristine environment is protected, while the additions we make to the island serve to enhance what is already there – hence the name, Coral Bloom.”

A destination fuelled by renewable energy

The entire destination will be powered by renewable energy in line with TRSDC’s aim to deliver a 30% net conservation benefit by 2040. Informed by a marine spatial plan, 75% of The Red Sea Project’s islands will remain untouched; Shurayrah is one of 22 islands selected for development.

The project is on track to begin welcoming guests by the end of 2022 with the completion of the international airport and first four hotels, while the remaining 12 hotels planned for phase one have been pencilled in for a 2023 debut. By 2030, it’s envisaged that the project will boast 50 resorts comprising up to 8,000 guest rooms, approximately 1,300 residential properties, and amenities such as golf courses and marinas across 22 islands and six inland sites.

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