Focus on sustainability at fifth Saudi Design Week in Riyadh

Over 40 participants are exhibiting and holding discussions about sustainability in design at Saudi Design Week in Riyadh. (AN photo by Bashir Saleh)
Updated 06 October 2018
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Focus on sustainability at fifth Saudi Design Week in Riyadh

  • The fifth Saudi Design Week was launched at the King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue
  • Designers invited to research how to produce their work in an environmentally friendly way

RIYADH: The fifth Saudi Design Week was launched at the King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue on Oct. 3 and runs until Oct. 7.

The theme of sustainability in design is taken up through a series of lectures, workshops and exhibitions. Designers have been invited to research how to produce their work in an environmentally friendly way.

Local and international intellectuals were invited to join the conversation about sustainable design models. More than 40 participants are exhibiting and holding discussions about sustainability in design in a forum that promises to foster dialogue and a creative exchange of views and experiences.

Designers who are exhibiting their work include Innovate, Funoon Alturath, Aj Jewelry, Khashaba and Mode. 

 

Desert Designs: When old becomes new

Raneen Bukhari, the manager of Desert Designs, told Arab News about the family business: “It’s focused on giving value to heritage from the region so that we make sure nothing gets thrown away.” 

Desert Designs collects items that people no longer use and works with the client to reinvent the piece in a way that is meaningful so that they will want to keep the piece as art in their homes.

Bukhari added: “Our whole collection this year is basically about how we can work with old pieces that you own in your house and create them into beautiful new pieces of art. An artwork that you can see and admire every day.”

Her parents founded Desert Designs Art Gallery in Alkhobar. At the gallery there is a display of work by regional designers, an art gallery, an interior design department and a coffee shop. 

 

Geometry+Urban Affairs: Jewelry from industrial wastelands

Geometry + Urban Affairs took up this year’s theme of sustainability, making jewelry out of objects collected from industrial waste lands.

Thahab Osaimi, who owns the brand with Musab Abu Alhaija, said: “Our jewelry, especially our rings, are designed on geometric principles, through drawing geometrical shapes. We then create the shapes that we want to use in our work.

“I like jewelry and wear a lot of rings. I thought I could create something that is based on principles that I really know much about. People usually say science and art are not the same, however, I believe that they are quite similar, where one completes the other,” she said.  

 

Sibyl Design Studio: Multiple personalities blend in design studio

Rahaf Al-Muzaini and her partner Meaad Hanafi are the founders of Sibyl Design Studio. Their booth showcases furniture fashioned from recycled material.

When asked about the name of the studio, Rahaf said: “We named our company after a movie character who was strong, has multiple personalities and knows how to do everything in totally deferent ways. (The 2007 film “Sybil,” starring US actress Jessica Lange, tells the story of a woman diagnosed with multiple personality disorder.) So that character represents us as designers since each one of us has her own unique style and is good at something; therefore, we complement each other.”

The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is the strategic partner of Saudi Design Week 2018.

The event also collaborated with the British Council, the Embassy of France and the Hungarian Embassy to produce a program to highlight the importance of good design.

Amir Ramzan, British Council country director, Saudi Arabia, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Saudi Design Week 2018 and to enable young Saudi designers to gain access to the UK’s design and creativity through a series of workshops and talks facilitated by a group of inspiring designers from the UK’s Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). For us, the arts represent a cornerstone of our mission to build greater trust and understanding between people in the UK and countries around the world.

“As such, we’re always looking for opportunities to find new ways of connecting with and understanding each other through the arts.”


Misk forum connects global youth

High-tech passes allow participants to connect and swap contact details at the touch of a button.
Updated 3 min 10 sec ago
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Misk forum connects global youth

  • It was the old-fashioned, face-to-face connections that many delegates said they valued the most
  • More than 3,500 delegates received insights from more than 50 speakers from around the world

Young leaders, entrepreneurs, students and inventors mingled in innovative ways at the Misk Global Forum, with name tags that sent delegates’ connections to an app at the press of a flashing button. 

But at the end of the day it was the old-fashioned, face-to-face connections that many delegates said they valued the most.

“I’m seeing people from all over the world gathered here in Riyadh, which has become the center of opportunities,” said Jomana Khoj, a 26-year-old animator from Makkah, before the forum wrapped up on Thursday. 

“Thanks, Misk, for helping us, the youth, gather here and connect with other youth from around the world.”

The forum included “Skills Garages,” workshop spaces with whiteboard tables that could be written on during group brainstorms, with sessions on “The Art of Persuasion” and “Landing Your Dream Tech Job.”

Top left: Paintings displayed in a 360-degree fashion. Bottom left: Participants had a chance to learn about every aspect of the Misk Foundation’s work. Right: Young people exploring their skills, potential and passions during workshops.

The workshop spaces served as a hub for visitors from North America, Africa, Asia and Europe, with many attendees commending the amount of innovation the forum provided. 

“I feel this year’s content is well chosen,” said Faisal Al-Sudairy, a 24-year-old participant. “We really need to prepare ourselves for the future, especially in this fast-changing era, and to know more about what skills we should acquire.”

The workshops catered to developing youths’ skills for the future economy. More than 3,500 delegates received insights from more than 50 speakers from around the world. 

It was the third annual forum organized by the Misk Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded in 2011 by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  

In the main hall, called the “Skills Factory,” Thursday’s opening session included a speech by Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi, the UAE’s minister of state for higher education and advanced skills.

“Misk Majlis,” another designated area, provided a relaxed and informal setting that focused on helping delegates build their personal brands. Traditional floor cushions and couches represented traditional Arab social gatherings. 

In the majlis, Misk Innovation held a talk to publicize its new brand and partnership with the Silicon Valley venture capital firm 500 Startups. 

The accelerator program for tech startups in the Middle East and North Africa will last 16 weeks starting from Jan. 27, 2019. Applications close on Dec. 15.

The Misk Art area introduced visitors to works by many renowned Saudi artists, such as Taha Sabban and Safia bin Zager. 

The vibrant hall displayed a large image of a sophisticated woman from Hijaz wearing the traditional Hijazi headdress and sitting on a beautiful ornamental wooden chair well known in the Saudi region. The image provided a transcendence between the past and present.

The Misk Art Institute had a unique section at the forum that was divided into two rooms. One was to showcase paintings and drawings of four pioneering Saudi artists. 

The other room had huge LED screens that gave people a 360-degree experience. The screens displayed paintings in an interactive way and synchronized with tailored music.

The halls were lined with inspirational quotes and the faces of well-known figures. It should come as no surprise that the most popular one was of Misk’s founder, with delegates taking selfies alongside the crown prince’s
smiling face.