All eyes on the future at second edition of Saudi Design Week

The various panels during SDW will explore the notion of sound, art and identity through design

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Saudi Design Week (SDW) is back for its second edition. Saudi Gazette, one of the event’s official sponsors, spoke to co-founders and sisters Noura and Basma Bouzo.

The various panels during SDW will explore the notion of sound, art and identity through design. SDW aims to explore and encourage the culture of arts and design in Saudi Arabia during its crucial phase. SDW in essence is a platform for creative people in the design world to interact with each other, to learn and expand their knowledge, and provide opportunities that were not available before. The founders said the structure of this year’s SDW varies from last year due to the addition of its main exhibition which brings various designers together under one roof.

“It is always challenging to put on such a massive event but it has been a fun-filled process,” said Basma.

The sisters believe the art scene has really flourished in the last decade, unlike the field of design. They said art has progressed with various art galleries opening and exploring various mediums and topics. The design scene, on the other hand, is still in its infancy. When talking about design, the majority of the public or what you see in public spaces gravitates towards graphic design and fashion design.

Noura wishes to encourage—through the platform—product designers, furniture designers, industrial designers and other hidden talented individuals in the Kingdom who need to be discovered.

Speaking about setting the stage and developing the design scene, the sisters agreed that creating a solid foundation is fundamental.

Education is vital. Basma believes there needs to be a platform whereby creative people in the Kingdom, whether artists or designers, are able to access courses, seminars, master classes and opportunities to meet peers and experts in their fields in order to develop their skills.

There is also a greater role for music producers during this year’s SDW. “We are really excited to introduce and delve into Sound Design through our Design Conference during SDW 2015. We are bringing in two of the most sought after regional talents—Omar Basaad and Ayham Homsi,” Noura said.

“Sound Design is such an integral element in various fields and we cannot wait for the audience to discuss and really explore this field and what it really means.”

The sisters hope the annual event has a true and lasting impact on exhibitors and designers who will visit and experience the event, whether by attending workshops, interacting with exhibits or just following news. “We hope that everyone can be inspired and set forth with new experiences and an urge to collaborate and progress. We have been really pleasantly surprised by all the talented people who have applied to exhibit this year and really excited to see all the work set up,” Basma added.

So why have they not held their event in Jeddah? The sisters feel Jeddah is brimming with creative activities all year round and it was about time Riyadh had an event that provided this outlet for its creative people. SDW activities are not limited to Riyadh only as this year’s workshops and other activities will be hosted in Jeddah and other cities across The Kingdom. According to Noura, SDW is currently working on not only an annual event but having a permanent base and center that will work as an incubator all year round to help creative people in the Kingdom reach their potential.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 9, 2015.