Italian design lab to tap Saudi culture in global project

Marco Laterza, left, and Pasquale Montemurro during the event. Montemurro said the school is about mixing knowledge from different backgrounds. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 09 November 2019

Italian design lab to tap Saudi culture in global project

  • One of the design week workshops run by the school involved the engraving of rubber stamps to create patterns combining Saudi and Italian cultures

RIYADH: The leaders of an experimental Italian design laboratory are aiming to tap into Saudi culture as part of an international creativity project.
Matera Open Design School has been participating in Saudi Design Week — part of the Riyadh Season of activities — with talks and workshops based around its 2019 cultural program.
Open Design School coordinator, Marco Laterza, told Arab News: “It is not a school in the literal sense, there are no teachers or students. We all learn, and we all teach. It is a living lab for interdisciplinary experimentation.
“Our goal is to share, so we are trying something experimental. We are testing (designs), making mistakes and trying to do it better. We are creating a model and want to share it with those that are interested.
“We aim to involve Saudi Arabia, and we have people from all over Europe, Brazil and South Africa. Mixing different backgrounds and cultures is what gives us strength,” added the architect from the town of Montescaglioso in Matera province, southern Italy.
Laterza was joined in Riyadh by Open Design School lab manager, Pasquale Montemurro, who said: “The school is all about mixing knowledge from different backgrounds, and we have people coming to us from all parts of Italy and Europe.
“So, for us it has been very interesting to present our model to another part of the world, and to see and learn from the reactions. It is a great opportunity to be here (in Riyadh) and to participate in the Saudi Design Week.”
One of the design week workshops run by the school involved the engraving of rubber stamps to create patterns combining Saudi and Italian cultures.


Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.