A look back at Saudi Design Week and what it has achieved

The third edition of Saudi Design Week, hosted at the Al Faisaliah Resort and Spa in Riyadh,  is one of the key highlights in Saudi Arabia’s visual creative scene, and the initiative continues to provide a platform for regional and local discourse on design and the creative visual culture.

“We focus on not only supporting local design talent, but also bring designers to further engage the design and creative community in Saudi Arabia. We want to help set foundations for a local design scene and help promote the genuine talent of the country,” said Basma Bouzo, co-founder of Saudi Design Week.

Pop Up Cafe at SDW 2016. Photo credit: Muzna Qamar, SDW 2016

Exhibiting designers also reported a strong interest over the course of the fair and a development of interest within the local scene.

Dubai-based Saudi product designer Ayah Al Bitar said, “I design to solve problems; I design to create new problems. I design to communicate. Saudi Design Week was a great platform for me to depict exactly what I want to do with the Saudi society.”

Exterior Shot of SDW Venue- Durat Al Riyadh

Regional collaboration was also highlighted at Saudi Design Week, demonstrating the importance of the fair as a platform.

First time exhibitors Nada Abdalla and Maria Dermosessian from Bilarabic, from the Lebanese International University, Saida Campus said, “The energy in Saudi Design Week is so excellent with people really interested in enhancing ideas and collaborating.”

Van Clef & Arpels Booth shot. Photo credit: Muzna Qamar, SDW 2016

The unique blend of emerging talent and global design brands meant that Saudi Design Week is one of the best places to discover forward thinking and inspiring trends around the 2016 theme of Illumination, both literally and figuratively.

Interactive Wall at Pop Up Draft Concept Store. Photo credit: Muzna Qamar, SDW 2016

The event featured  60 design-led activities in this year’s program, consisting of a series of creative workshops, design conference, special events and installations

In addition to the public program and workshops, the fair focused on outreach programs, welcoming school and university groups from Riyadh in efforts to further engage the local community on design and visual cultural.

Majed Al Bahiiti Workshop

There were over 30 visits from a wide array of entertainment and social media influencers, such as Adwa Al Dakheel, Feras Bugna, Yousef al Sudais, Faisal Sheraiff, Sarah Al Wadaani, Muna Abu Suliman and Hassan Ghunaim, which resulted in a combined reach of over 4.5 million followers across a variety of platforms.

Interior Shot of banafsajeel Exhibition