The Saudi studio’s latest project offers a contemporary interpretation of Islamic architecture.

Theatrical heights, sweeping arches, and a colour palette inspired by the desert landscape - the Elixir Bunn coffee shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, references Islamic architecture in a manner that lends it a sense of place and provenance. 

An otherwise inconveniently located structural column – set at the center of the site – became the springing point for a series of soaring arches that lend a distinct character to the coffee shop. A common feature in traditional Islamic architecture, this layered use of the arch effectively inhabits the double-height volume to imbue a sense of monumentality and intimacy, all at once.

In contrast to its contemporary setting, mud finished walls pay homage to the coffee shop’s locality. Whilst drawing the eye to the mezzanine level, a deep blue spiral staircase punctuates the warm palette of lightwood, matte brass, and multi-coloured terrazzo.

Founded in 2017, in Riyadh by Saudi architect Shahad Alazzaz, Azaz Architects is part of a new wave of regional boutique practices exploring contextual contemporary design in Saudi Arabia.