RIYADH: The AlUla Design Award has announced the winners of its various categories for outstanding products inspired by AlUla.
The categories adjudicated at the Saudi Design Festival in Riyadh’s Jax district included jewelry, leather goods, footwear, homeware accessories, and other lifestyle products.
Over 400 applications were received, with shortlisted designs reviewed by a jury. The six best products were selected to receive the prestigious AlUla Design Award, including Harry Dobbs Design x Rukun, a collaboration between a British and Saudi design studio, which proposed a distinctive set of artifacts that capture AlUla’s spirit and memory.
The other five winners included Nour Shourbagy, a Saudi-based designer, whonproposed a collection of travel carry-ons and clutches inspired by AlUla’s aesthetics and motifs.
Tarek Elkassouf, a Lebanese designer, now based in Australia, proposed a collection of gifts crafted by traditional artisans, while Mohamad Baalbaki x AlJoharah Al-Rasheed, a Saudi-based studio, put forward a collection of products evoking all five senses, with an interaction between play and memory.
Niko Kapa, a Greek designer based in Dubai, offered a collection of accessories inspired by the natural landscapes of AlUla, and Reem Bashawri, a Saudi-based designer, entered a line of luxurious winter shawls echoing the region’s natural beauty.
Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla, stated that the award was an important milestone in AlUla’s flourishing arts and cultural sector, to make AlUla a region for inspiration to all designers globally.
One of the judges for the award, sponsored by RCU, Yara Al-Namlah, an arts and culture influencer, said that it took the panel a lot of time to choose the winners.
“We received a lot of applications from very talented local and international designers from different categories, but the six winners were the highest-ranked and they deserve this award,” Al-Namlah told Arab news.
Dobbs said that Saudi Arabia’s heritage and landscape were his inspiratio.
“The root to contemporary Saudi culture is a current and a living culture, so we want to make sure that we are in the creative platform in Saudi Arabia,” Dobbs said.
Amr Al-Madani, CEO of RCU, spoke about the challenges they had in order to make the awards happen.
“The toughest challenge was how can you inspire creatives to be in AlUla; there is a lot in the world that gets people’s attention, but how can you get genuine attention from the creative community? We are very pleased to see that AlUla has gotten to the heart of the creative community, and see this amount of applications, and see their designs, from furniture to gifts to clothes, has outperformed expectation,” Al-Madani said.
Nora Al-Dabal, art and culture programming director for RCU, was pleased to see the high number of applicants. “AlUla has always been a place for inspiration and to see the designers being inspired and transforming natural elements and traditional elements to contemporary designs that live in today’s world and we cannot wait for next year’s applicants,” Al-Dabal said.