RIYAD: The woman behind the success of The Groves, one of 14 zones in this year’s Riyadh season, revealed to Arab News how she got the project done in just 45 days.
“The planning took place from January to September. We only had 45 days to ride it, ”said Siham Hassanain, Groves general manager.
“All designs were made by Saudi hands. All restaurants are local brands. Everything you see, from lighting and construction to organizers, is Saudi Arabian. The area was built by a local company called Zivix International Holding, ”she added.
The Groves, in the diplomatic quarter, is located in Al-Khuzama Park, one of Riyadh’s famous green spaces in Wadi Hanifah.
“It all started in 2019, I had work to do in the diplomatic quarter, I walked into the park and fell in love with its beauty,” she said.
Hassanain said she researched the location and found the park was built 38 years ago when the diplomatic quarter was established.
Turki Al-Shaikh, CEO of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and chairman of the season, had tweeted that anyone with a new idea for the Riyadh season should present it to the authority.
“The first thing that came to my mind was Al-Khuzama Park. I did not expect at all, not even 1%, that this area would become a reality. But I said to myself that I should put all my energy in this place, ”said Hassanain.
After Hassanain presented his idea to GEA, it was selected as one of the 20 winning initiatives for the Riyadh season, and his concept won first place.
“When the announcement was made I was happy and excited for the first five minutes and then the sense of responsibility kicked in,” she said.
Hassanain says the groves are filled with trees and fields: “You can hear fountains, water and birds. The place also has a special scent.
The Groves logo contains the four elements of life: water, air, fire and earth, which Hassanain included in the area because water looks like relaxation, the action of fire and the attractions, land food and air to memories.
She faced many challenges during the execution of the project, as everything was done by hand to ensure that no plants or trees were destroyed.
She said she had a fantastic Saudi team who helped her out and who believed and loved the concept even more than she did. “I was afraid they were passionate, I was nervous that they enjoyed it… so those feelings created a balance.”
Hassanain noted that in the past Saudi women have encountered obstacles to be a part of building the country. “Without the support and vision of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, this would not exist,” she said.
“If we compare the Boulevard Riyadh City area in 2019 to the area in 2021, you can see the big jump. We will amaze the whole world and become the first in the entertainment business. “