Jeddah celebrates 2nd Italian Design Day

Princess Duaa bint Mohammad, center, at the Italian design event. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 01 April 2019
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Jeddah celebrates 2nd Italian Design Day

  • The annual celebration highlights the excellence and distinctiveness of Italian design around the world

JEDDAH: The Consulate General of Italy in Jeddah celebrated the second Italian Design Day by hosting a conference on urban design. 

The event, at the Italian Cultural Center, was promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. 

Organised by the Italian Business Group (IBG), the annual celebration highlights the excellence and distinctiveness of Italian design around the world and is observed on March 1 every year. 

This year’s theme focused on the connection between design and sustainability. 

“This initiative by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was taken to give a taste of what the Italian lifestyle is to the world,” Consul General Stefano Stucci said in his opening speech on Wednesday.

This year’s design day includes 100 events in 100 cities around the world, presented by 100 ‘ambassadors’ of Italian culture. Jeddah was among the cities chosen for 2019.

The ambassadors are professionals such as architects, designers, entrepreneurs, journalists, critics, educators. 

Speakers 

Jeddah’s event had two main speakers from Milan, which the consul general described as “the cultural capital of Italy.” 

They were Andrea Boschetti, architect and founder of Metrogramma, and Flora Ribera, general manager of Mediamond. 

Boschetti said it was essential to put people at the heart of design “otherwise modernity will fail. People come first.” 

He said that people sometimes suggested that everything should be destroyed and rebuilt when they wanted to modernize or redevelop part of a city. The reason for that view was because the past ceased to exist, he added.

The answer lay in studying the area from all perspectives “to dig inside reality, to explore the future,” he told Arab News.

“Al-Balad in Jeddah is one example of what I mean. How the buildings ... and the emptiness are distributed in the area is perfectly designed for human life. I was astonished and surprised when I first visited it,” he said, referring to Jeddah’s ancient port center. 

Although it has been a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site since 2014, many of Al-Balad’s historical buildings have perished due to fire and disrepair. UNESCO has, in the past 50 years, offered an incentive to preserve historical sites such as Al-Balad, which is considered a staple of Hijazi architecture.

Historical area 

A perfectly designed city is when “everything has to go in harmony and balance, the past and future, the volume and emptiness,” Boschetti said.

Lucio Frigo gave a presentation about Jeddah’s historical area, its unique urban and social structure and design, as well as how to regenerate and re-elevate it to become the heart of the city again.

Turki and Abdulrahman Gazzaz, architects and founders of Jeddah-based Bricklab, spoke about their projects and their participation in last year’s Venice architecture biennale.v


US victory in Women’s World Cup inspires female Arab footballers

Updated 16 min 40 sec ago
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US victory in Women’s World Cup inspires female Arab footballers

  • Members of Jeddah Eagles, a women’s football squad with 39 players, watched the July 7 WWC final in anticipation of an exciting finish

JEDDAH: Football fans around the world celebrated the recognition of women in sports after the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) final match in Lyon, France, in which the US beat the Netherlands 2-0. One country where the US victory struck a powerful chord among female sports enthusiasts is Saudi Arabia.

Women are participating in sports in increasing numbers in the Kingdom as the reforms being introduced under the Vision 2030 plan enable women to take on different career paths.

Members of Jeddah Eagles, a women’s football squad with 39 players, watched the July 7 WWC final in anticipation of an exciting finish. In the end, they celebrated not only the US team’s victory but the recognition of women in sports as a whole. Members of the team talked to Arab News about how they have been inspired by the WWC.

BACKGROUND

Women are participating in sports in increasing numbers in Saudi Arabia as Vision 2030 reforms enable them to take on different career paths.

Johara Al-Sudairi, who has been playing for Jeddah Eagles as a winger since August 2017, said she is thrilled that football is gaining popularity among women in the Kingdom.

Fatimah Gari, who joined the team as a striker in 2014, was happy for her fellow female football players in the US for their victory.

“It is a very good feeling,” the 28-year-old Saudi told Arab News. “I wish one day we will have a Saudi team and will be in their place.”

The 16-year-old central midfielder believes Arab women would perform better than their male counterparts given the right support.

“With the right amount of funding and support, Arab women for sure can be better at playing,” she told Arab News.