Designed by Giò Forma Studio Associato S.r.l , Maraya – mirror in Arabic – is a purpose-built concert hall which was unveiled during the Winter at Tantora festival at the ancient site of Al-Ula. A feat of modern engineering, the building is an extension of the environment that surrounds it with two sides covered entirely of mirrors, reflecting the natural beauty. Completed in just four months, the project is very inspired by the extraordinary natural and social history around it.
Surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and magnificent monuments to human endeavor that span millennia, Al-Ula is one of the world’s greatest undiscovered wonders. It used to be the hub of commercial and cultural exchange because of its strategic location on the ancient Incense Route between Southern Arabia and Egypt. It was a stopping point for traders of frankincense, myrrh, and other precious commodities.Tantora is a sundial located in Al-Ula’s Old Town, which has been used by the local population for hundreds of years as a marker for the start of the winter season. Tantora has, over time, become the focal point of an annual festival marking the start of the winter season.
As quoted by the architects, The “Maraya”, a giant mirror cube, is a site-specific “object- architecture “, an experience that makes people reflect on the incomparable spectacle of the geological epic, the radical abstraction of the surroundings and the singular incursions of man into the landscape. The mirror cube highlights the surroundings instead of competing with nature. Unique in its genre, this landscape itself becomes an exhibition space.