X Architects is a critical architectural studio founded in 2003 by principal architects Ahmed Al-Ali and Farid Esmaeil. Both principals are strong proponents of Arab Culture and its translation into contemporary design.
X Architects believes in design as a process.We research into creating a built environment that is adaptive and contextual. We see architecture as a language that speaks of the place. Our sensible, yet critical design approach recognizes the inherent complexity in modern day building and harnesses this complexity to produce projects that are culturally robust, place sensitive and environmentally friendly.
Aswaaq is a retail chain based in the United Arab Emirates. It owns community centres that host state-of-the-art supermarkets, complemented by a range of shops and services.
We have always worked to build a profitable, competitive and sustainable business. We thrive on the power of our people, a spirit of continued innovation and a search of excellence. We provide quality services and products to our community of customers and stakeholder.
The new design aesthetics render aswaaq’s newly launched retail properties cosy yet vibrant with an urban look-and-feel through the use of colours and modern architectural elements. While the aswaaq Malls sport box-style closed structures, aswaaq Communities Centres are open at the centre promoting an outdoors-in ambience.
“Our new design has resonated so well with the communities that the word has spread far and wide. A while ago, we did an activity in Hatta, and the adjoining communities there expressed keenness for our new design aswaaq retail properties.” aswaaq Properties’ smaller format Community Centres offer an average 13,000 sqft of GLA, which goes up in the bigger properties. “Right from inception, our idea was to get closer to the communities. Instead of the communities coming to us, we wanted to reach them. We are ever-keen to serve the communities we operate in, becoming their go-to destination for all kinds of daily needs,” Khashabi elaborated. “Thus, before planning the retail mix, we take a deep dive into what the catchment areas need, what kind of retail brands will survive and thrive in our properties and plan our tenancy mix accordingly. That’s why, in our retail properties, you will always find the right mix – from a supermarket to pharmacy; salon to stationery shop; money exchange to florist; as well as select restaurants and cafés.”
Adding more on the F&B mix, he elaborates, “We try to create a healthy mix of cuisines, so the neighbourhood communities get the opportunity to eat at different places every time they visit us. Our loyalty programme, Wafa, has been very successful – the first in the UAE market to offer customers significant cash back on their purchases and there will be a future plan to enrol our tenants and partners into the programme.
ARTICLE BY X ARCHITECTS