#SDW18 – Sustainability was the main focus of the Saudi Design Week 2018. Founded by designers and sisters Basma and Noura Bouzo, the 5th edition of the event showcased the creativity of local creatives and featured a program of lectures, workshops and exhibitions at the Snohetta-designed King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue in Riyadh.
Saudi Design Week 2018 became the stage for over 58 designers and brands. 35 local and regional exhibitors rose to the challenge of this year’s theme, presenting a pluralistic interpretation of sustainability. From cultural preservation, the reimagining of space through space, and eco-friendly product development.
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Saudi Design Week 2018 is part of a larger cultural and social program of reform aiming to open-up the city and diversify the Saudi Arabia’s oil-based economy. Recently the country launched major flagship architectural projects, introduced online visas to increase tourism, and lifted the ban on women obtaining driving licenses.
The design week kicked off in the wake of the disappearance and brutal murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. International attention focused on the allegedly involved Saudi kingdom undermining international collaborations and casting a shadow on the the promises of reform.
SDW was organized and made possible by a private community sector and is not a government initiative. Estimated 18,000 visitors flocked to Riyadh for the event which hosted over 35 talks and workshops in partnership with Ithra, the British Council, the French Embassy, and the Hungarian Embassy.
As this year’s nutrition partner, Pepsi Co, created an on-site installation in the form of an aqua maze consisting of recycled Aquafina bottles collected during the event. Activating the PEPSICOxSDW hashtag, Pepsi provided a crossover social experience for attendees, capturing SDW moments online through a massive mosaic wall.
Dar Al Uloum, the brainchild behind the library initiative, publicly awarded Nabil Gholam as the winner design of the Al Jouf Public Library Design Competition. The Beirut-based Lebanese architect submitted the A Sea of Palm Trees project, a unique, energy-efficient, cohesive design playing on the paradox of past and future.
All photos by Abdulmajeed Al Rodan – courtesy of Saudi Design Week.