RIYADH: Young Saudi designers are being given an unprecedented three-week platform to showcase their talent and find support in charting out a career.
The Saudi Design Festival, which began in Jax district in Diriyah on Sunday, will be a hub for creative dialogue, bringing design communities together to share their insights.
A driving force behind the festival is Adhlal, a platform set up to equip future generations with the necessary design tools to build the future of the Kingdom.
Adhlal, which means mentors or patrons in research in Arabic, is running deep-dive discussions and design thinking workshops labs during the first two weeks of the festival. It has published white papers that analyze the local design community for emerging designers to utilize in their growth.
Princess Nourah Al-Faisal
“For me it’s all about helping this younger generation. We are not doing this for us but it’s so exciting to think that my nieces are going to grow up in a world so different from the world I grew up in,” Princess Nourah Al-Faisal, the founder of Adhlal, told Arab News.
“Within the design community my target is the youngsters, undergraduates, postgraduates and absolutely the startups. I want them to be able to come and understand that we are trying to give them the tools they need to succeed,” she said.
“We are really pushing the understanding of design thinking from a young age and the necessity of that to navigate the fast-changing world, as it’s happening, whether you are a part of the design industry or not.”
Princess Nourah aims to promote design thinking applied in every form of life and to encourage designers to think local in their search for resources.
“The major target is getting academia, industry, government, and the whole design community to participate in this connection that will help this new generation coming up.”
She said that in the upcoming three weeks, Adhlal will explain a strategy that connects these four areas together.
She wants to strengthen the dialogue between academia and industry to ensure students are graduating and working in fields that are needed — “pulling out and understanding what design research is and how to really make sure we are using it correctly and that there is a dialogue between industry and academia,” she said.
Princess Nourah said that the next step in empowering designers in Saudi Arabia is to export Saudi design and Saudi design technique globally. For that step to be taken future generations must be equipped with the information and research to succeed.
“We are not teaching people how to design — we are telling you how to create a thriving ecosystem, we are telling you where the opportunities are,” she said.
Adhlal has compiled a report on its industry research and has put together opportunities and focuses for emerging designers to use, information that will be shared during discussions at the festival.
“We went to students in universities, startups, freelancers, retired people, and award-winning designers across the fields of architecture design, jewelry design, fashion design, graphic design,” she said.
“We really wanted to understand what the difficulties were that they encountered as a student and as an established designer,” Princess Nourah said.
She said that Saudi Arabia is advancing quickly and the design community must come together to share its knowledge, expertise and resources with the future generations of designers.
“Our goal is to accelerate. If we come together correctly in the right way, supportively as an ecosystem, we are already moving fast, just imagine what we can achieve,” she said.