Saudi Interior Architect and Designer Nouf AlMoneef on Riyadh’s Progressive Cultural Landscape
Nouf AlMoneef wearing a dress from Pinko, with bracelets by David Yurman. Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Tasneem AlSultan
Art, design, and culture
Nouf AlMoneef is part of the fabric of Saudi Arabia’s thriving art and cultural scene, as project manager of Noor Riyadh. She has a background in design, with a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Prince Sultan University in Riyadh and an MFA in interior architecture from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. “I have experience working in the Saudi private and public sectors, as well as running my own private studio,” she says.
Wearing a Norma Kamali dress with Dalood blazer. Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Tasneem AlSultan
As a Saudi national, AlMoneef’s upbringing exposed her to her homeland’s progressing social scene, specifically regarding women’s affairs. “I grew up in Riyadh during at a time when the social norms were completely different from today. I witnessed and was part of the dramatic changes in society impacting womens’ status, as well as culture, arts, and entertainment,” she says. Today, AlMoneef works to further empower Riyadh’s rich cultural glories, including landmarks such as AlUla, which she considers her favorite cultural go-to. As she explores different destinations around the world, she dives deeper into her field and unlocks new interests along the way. “In my current job, which is related to art, I came to appreciate it and have collected art works from Saudi Arabia and all around the world,” she shares.
Nouf AlMoneef. Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Tasneem AlSultan
Life in color
When dressing and accessorizing, AlMoneef looks to brands both in the region and abroad to offer a pop of color to her look. A black Norma Kamali dress serves as a solid base for bright layers. A pair of fuchsia tie-up heels by The Attico and a slick of Gucci lipstick offer further edge, along with accessories like an Okhtein bag or David Yurman bangles. If an event or her mood calls for higher octane glamour, she will opt for a pussy bow sequin shirt.
Shoes by The Attico
Light and style
AlMoneef’s current mood board suggests accents of light art and fashion, hence her philosophy for style is “simplicity and elegance.” “Personal style to me is to add the colors, the accessories to match my own preferences and outgoing personality,” she says. While AlMoneef likes to keep it simple, her curiosity shines through with statement cuts and fabrics. She makes a case for unique abayas and trench coats as she flaunts them with accents of culture and modernity. “My abaya selections for the past couple of events and travels were from Nora Al Shaikh’s collection. Her abayas are authentic, and culture related with a modern twist.”
A bustling day
AlMoneef tunes into a playlist that throws her back to the 90s with music that sparks nostalgia for her childhood and charges her for the day. Her typical day starts with a quick workout at the gym, followed by a lively schedule that keeps her busy until 8pm. Sometimes her responsibilities expand beyond her government set working hours and require her presence at art-related sites in Riyadh. “I also attend art events related to my field of work. Therefore, managing time is essential,” she shares.
From exploring Europe and Asia’s vast repositories of art to soaking up the Middle East’s charm, AlMoneef enjoys traveling to different parts of the world where she can fulfill her eye for design. Of course, nothing beats an itinerary of sightseeing and hopping to various museums and art galleries. “I particularly like the metropolitan cities and the historical places in Spain and Italy,” she says, while these photos were captured in Greece.
An Okhtein bag. Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Tasneem AlSultan
After checking off her professional duties, AlMoneef devotes the last hours of her day to her family. Yet, despite her daily schedule of demanding responsibilities and activities, AlMoneef remains driven and charged by surrounding herself with positivity and appreciating the work of her colleagues. Whether at her studio, office, or an art event, AlMoneef manages to power through her role by following a motto of “taking it easy, and playing by the rules of the game.”
Originally published in the June 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia
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