Saudi Design Week is back for its second edition from 6 to 12 May 2015 to celebrate the creative scene by hosting a series of events across the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh. The festival aims to raise awareness of the importance of design and aims to encourage local and regional upcoming design talents.
Saudi Design Week (SDW) is a feast of design and visual culture. The organisation aims to raise awareness of the importance of design culture in the region by encouraging upcoming talents through a series of exhibitions, workshops, and a curated design forum. More than 30 local Saudi and regional designers are participating in SDW alongside international heavyweights from around the globe.
Saudi Design Week will host a fair exclusively devoted to exhibiting and supporting design products by both national and international established and emerging designers. In the words of SDW founders Munira Al Ajlani, Noura and Basma Bouzo: “We created Saudi Design Week to offer young and emerging designers a dynamic platform with an opportunity to showcase their designs alongside established designers from around the world.”
The theme of this year’s edition revolves around culture and design. The theme was adopted by all participants who were able to create designs that reflect and explore this important narrative.
We highlighted five design brands inspired by their heritage transforming handicraft, furniture and decorative pieces into contemporary design.
Zeri Crafts was created in Kuwait in 2010 with the aim of reconnecting to the Gulf’s crafts heritage. Their mission is to revalue their cultural capital and transform it into a source of creativity. Zeri Crafts creates products that reflect Gulf culture with a contemporary look and feel. Its approach emphasizes high craftsmanship, fine materials and exclusive design. Its selection of products ranges from textiles to home objects and leatherware. Much thought has gone into each piece to make it unique.
Zeri Crafts works with a group of professional designers, the award-winning Nedda El-Asmar being one of them. All products are handmade, and Zeri Crafts collaborates with masterful artisans whose skillful execution shows years of artisanal experience. The business is becoming an icon among craftsmanship lovers in the Gulf and elsewhere.
Tarek El Kassouf
Tarek El Kassouf is a Lebanese designer based in both Beirut and Sydney who creates in three disciplines: architecture, urban planning and product/furniture design. His work is inspired by Middle Eastern geometric patterns and is often spiced with futuristic parametric design. He began refining his third passion, furniture design, in 2014 with the launch of the ‘The Edge’ series of furniture and lighting. ‘The Edge’ is inspired by the designer’s home city, Beirut. It is an interpretation of a city that is vulnerable yet resilient and adaptive. This series tries to capture the essence of a city living on the edge through the contradiction of solid yet malleable steel designs. The designer’s Middle Eastern upbringing and architectural background are woven into the series with the use of repetition of forms and geometric patterns often found in Arabic architecture. At the heart of this series is the cube. Each design takes the pure form of a cube, distorts, bends and twists it with such precision that if unbent and untwisted it would return to its original cube form. Three of the designs from ‘The Edge’ use the principle of repetition of forms with each unit able to fit together with other units into various shapes and forms to suit different tastes and layouts. The designer also researched the essence of the oriental light often seen in traditional Middle Eastern souks, and implemented its principles in modern shapes for this series. These unique steel designs are handmade in Lebanon by highly skilled artisans. Only 20 pieces of each are produced.
Desert Designs is a family-owned business established in 1990, when it started to promote Saudi heritage and handicrafts, bringing tribal Bedouin arts from the desert to your home. The founders Farid Bukhari, a self-made successful businessman with 30 years of experience, and his wife Qamar Ahmed, an artist by profession, both Saudi nationals, lovingly handpick the treasures from the past to enhance the present. They bring you rare carpets and other weavings, silver jewelry, daggers, maps, frames, Saudi doors, furniture, and other handicrafts, collected from different parts of the Islamic world, from the deserts of Arabia, Iran, and from Oman to Morocco.
Naqsh Design House
Naqsh Design House was founded in 2010 in Amman, Jordan to exhibit unique pieces of furniture, home accessories and art. The two leading designers at Naqsh; Nisreen and Nermeen Abu-Dail will show their Wihdeh collection at Saudi Design Week 2015. Naqsh reflects an oriental feel and integrates that in a minimalist look with pieces that can be incorporated in modern life. The recent collection stresses ‘tatreez”; the ’language of embroidery,’ integrating the concept of a unity in embroidery, hence the name wihdeh [unity].
Founded by Princess Norah Al Saud, Rukun aims to bring creativity into all aspects of everyday life. Rukun’s pieces are showcased both in her Riyadh design and art gallery, as well as online. Alongside Rukun, Princess Noura also designs and produces her own pieces under the studio Kun label. For Saudi Design Week, Rukun will be displaying exclusively produced pieces that explore identity as something derived from a broader perspective than one’s self. Identity is seen as a larger entity, which belongs to a community that shares common convictions, customs and a common history. The pieces created for the exhibition examine the two major splits that have occurred in Saudi life, which came about through globalization and the opening up to Western ideologies and the infiltration of their commodities in the Saudi market.
Bonus: Younes Duret
It’s not a secret that al.arte is a big fan of Younes Duret, founder of Younes Duret Design. The famous Zelli bookcase, the Bildi teapot but also the Fauteuil Pouf and the Zellifood dish are some objects created by Younes Duret. From the beginning of his career, his creative work has been a groundbreaking drive towards multiculturalism, from which he originated, calling himself a ‘product’ of it. A child of a Moroccan mother and a French father, Younes Duret has always lived between those two countries. Younes prefers to bring together, with a lot of humour and love, those two cultures which seem to be so divergent.
Saudi Design Week (SDW) is an annual platform created by Oasis Magazine, in partnership with the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies, to support local and regional designers by giving them a platform to exhibit their designs and to learn from regional and international designers. For more information regarding Exhibitors, Speakers, and Special Events, please visit the website: www.SaudiDesignWeek.com