a look back at the developments of saudi arabia's futuristic NEOM project unveiled in 2023

a look back at the developments of saudi arabia's futuristic NEOM project unveiled in 2023

all of NEOM’s updates presented in 2023

 

In 2023, NEOM, Saudi Arabia’s futuristic giga city, sparked global excitement with the revelation of several new destinations. The ambitious project achieved significant progress in the early months of the year, hitting a noteworthy milestone as the CEO announced one-fifth completion by February. With the first wave of tourists expected in 2024, NEOM continues to unveil fresh locations and showcase rapid construction, underscoring the project’s momentum. Beyond the initial mega-cities, Sindalah, Trojena, Oxagon, and the LINE, the latest additions include the sustainable tourist hub named Leyja, the sleek Epicon Towers, the hexagonal-pillar retreat called Siranna, and an events space called Utamo. Furthermore, in 2023, NEOM introduced its own airline, as well as Topian, its food company that promises to reshape global food systems. Keep reading below to uncover all the exciting NEOM developments unveiled throughout 2023.

a look back at the developments of saudi arabia's futuristic NEOM project unveiled in 2023
the LINE | all images courtesy of NEOM, unless stated otherwise

 

 

Utamo, the theater of the future

 

In one of its latest updates, NEOM (find more here) unveils Utamo, an innovative events space integrating natural beauty with cutting-edge technology. Situated within a mountain along the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, the destination is described as the theater of the future, where reality converges with the digital realm. Guests will arrive at Utamo via an extended pathway of a garden promenade, featuring more than 50 species of shrubs, herbs, and flowers, before reaching the grand hall with the 64-meter-high entrance. Utamo’s multipurpose performance space, VIP lounges, and signature restaurants will make it one of the world’s most exclusive event spaces. Advanced audio-visual systems will captivate guests with sensory experiences, enveloping them in audio-visual wonder as they become part of the performance itself.

a look back at the developments of saudi arabia's futuristic NEOM project unveiled in 2023
a garden promenade will lead guests to Utamo’s grand hall and its 64-meter-high entrance

 

 

NEOM to launch its own airline in 2024

 

In early 2023, NEOM (find more here) unveiled its plan to launch its own airline, scheduled for full operation by the end of 2024. The airline aims to provide a comprehensive and interconnected travel experience for tourists, residents, and business partners traveling to and from NEOM. In its initial phase, the airline will enhance existing equipment and technology, with future investments slated for next-generation electric, hydrogen, or supersonic aircraft beginning in 2026. NEOM Airlines will commence operations from the NEOM Bay Airport, inaugurated in 2019, offering domestic flights within Saudi Arabia and international routes to London and Dubai. Plans are in place for the airline to later shift its operations to the under-construction NEOM International Airport.

a look back at the developments of saudi arabia's futuristic NEOM project unveiled in 2023
NEOM’s airline is scheduled for full operation by the end of 2024 (find designboom’s previous coverage here)

 

 

NEOM collaborates with greenhouse company Van Der Hoeven

 

NEOM has partnered with Dutch greenhouse company Van Der Hoeven in an effort to introduce flourishing gardens amidst the arid deserts of Saudi Arabia. In its pursuit of becoming a self-sustaining oasis for millions, the ‘city of the future’ prioritizes food security. Dutch horticultural experts have been enlisted to design, build, and operate two 110,000 sqm test facilities on the city’s outskirts. The goal is to implement an urban farming solution that establishes a controlled climate for efficient and sustainable food production, contributing to NEOM’s vision of a flourishing and sustainable future.

a look back at the developments of saudi arabia's futuristic NEOM project unveiled in 2023
NEOM partners with Van Der Hoeven to introduce flourishing gardens amidst the arid deserts of Saudi Arabia (find designboom’s previous coverage here)

 

 

marriott’s first W hotel in saudi arabia to debut in NEOM

 

NEOM has announced that it will be welcoming two luxury hotel properties from Marriott International, Inc. as the brand has officially sealed the deal to build Saudi Arabia’s first W Hotel and a JW Marriott property. The hotels will occupy the futuristic ski resort of the NEOM mountains, Trojena. Chris Newman, Executive Director of NEOM Hotel Development, says that the JW Marriott will serve as a venue for major global conferences and exhibitions, as well as high-profile events, while the W Hotel will accommodate visitors to the snowy mountain. The opening dates for the two properties have not been disclosed by Marriott International. Meanwhile, the completion of Trojena is anticipated by late 2026, aligning with plans to welcome visitors and new residents in time for the Asian Winter Games scheduled for 2029.

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the hotels will occupy the futuristic ski resort of the NEOM mountains, Trojena

 

Leyja ecotourism destination

 

In support of Saudi Vision 2030’s commitment to fostering a robust and sustainable tourism sector, NEOM has unveiled a new ecotourism destination named Leyja. Designed by acclaimed architects Mario Cucinella, Chris van Duijin, and Shaun Killa, Leyja will emerge along the Aqaba coast, stretching inland to shape a picturesque valley nestled between towering 400-meter-high mountains. Consistent with NEOM’s overarching vision, an impressive 95% of Leyja’s expansive terrain will be designated as a nature reserve, seamlessly blending innovative ecological design with construction methods that harmonize with the surrounding environment. Once developed, it will curate refined experiences, including fine dining by world-renowned chefs, wellness facilities, and rooftop infinity-style pools across its three hospitality properties. Guided wadi walks, hiking trails, mountain biking, and climbing will also immerse those seeking adventure amid the valley’s dramatic mountain landscape.

a look back at the developments of saudi arabia's futuristic NEOM project unveiled in 2023
Mario Cucinella Architects’ Oasis Hotel design for Leyja emerges from the rocks with five facade fins (see designboom’s previous coverage here)

 

 

 

ultra-futuristic epicon towers

 

NEOM has unveiled Epicon, a luxury tourist destination designed to resemble a glistening mirage on the horizon. Nestled in the Gulf of Aqaba, Epicon will feature two avant-garde towers, one soaring to 225 meters (740 feet) and the other reaching an impressive 275 meters (900 feet). The site will house an exclusive 41-key hotel and 14 suites and apartments, complemented by an Epicon resort that includes an additional 120 rooms and 45 beachfront residential villas. Characterized by its sleek and futuristic architecture, the Epicon towers in NEOM will stand out for their vertical utilization of space, occupying a modest footprint on the desert landscape due to their tall and slender structure. The project is envisioned by the team as a gateway to the future and a retreat from reality.

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Epicon Towers will bring both hotel and residential programming to Saudi Arabia

 

siranna, the exclusive hexagonal-pillar retreat

 

Also unveiled in 2023, NEOM’s Siranna is described as an ultra-luxurious, exclusive tourism escape. This destination emerges from the rugged coastal terrain, presenting itself as a hexagonal-pillar structure housing a 65-key hotel and 35 exclusive residences. Positioned along the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, Siranna offers uninterrupted views of the Red Sea, employing its tiered design to ensure diverse perspectives. The architectural design pays homage to regional heritage, seamlessly blending into the adjacent mountains and valleys. Comprising towering stone volumes carved into the mountainside, the structure blurs the line between the mountain and the building.

a look back at the developments of saudi arabia's futuristic NEOM project unveiled in 2023
Siranna provides uninterrupted views of the Red Sea, with its tiered design ensuring diverse perspectives (see designboom’s previous coverage here)

 

 

NEOM introduces its food company, topian

 

Last but not least, NEOM has introduced the launch of Topian, the NEOM Food Company. With a vision to transform food production, distribution, and consumption, Topian is built upon five core verticals: climate-proof agriculture, regenerative aquaculture, novel foods, personalized nutrition, and sustainable food supply with a focus on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles.

 

Bringing together a dynamic community of scientists, industry experts, and innovators, Topian is committed to perfecting the ‘Art of More with Less,’ ushering in a ‘new era of food’ to address the imperative of food security. The launch concept, ‘Future to Table,’ underscores the company’s commitment to introducing and implementing innovative solutions and initiatives that will revolutionize the current global food system. This initiative is designed to address challenges stemming from rapid population growth, evolving consumption patterns, climate change, and the depletion of natural resources.

a look back at the developments of saudi arabia's futuristic NEOM project unveiled in 2023
Topian is committed to perfecting the ‘art of more with less,’ to address the imperative of food security

 

 

project info:

 

 

project title: NEOM @discoverneom

location: Saudi Arabia

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