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Hayy Jameel: A New Arts Complex Set To Contribute To Saudi’s Creative Drive

The design of the Jeddah art hotspot takes the needs of artists, cultural workers and entrepreneurs into consideration.

Hayy Jameel, a dedicated complex for the arts and creativity in Jeddah’s Al Mohammadiyyah district, will open its doors this winter. Saudi’s dedicated home for the arts is an initiative by Art Jameel, an independent organisation that supports artists and creative communities, founded and supported by the Jameel family philanthropies. And the launch of the new dynamic, creative, community hub marks the 75th anniversary of Jameel family global philanthropy. The 17,000-square-metre cultural complex is also in line with Vision 2030 and a new era for culture and the arts across the Kingdom.

“The opening of Hayy Jameel is a major milestone for Art Jameel, the creative community we work with in Saudi Arabia and our partners around the world,” Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel, said. “The result of more than a decade of consultation, planning and building, Hayy Jameel is imagined as a home-from-home where different generations of artists, practitioners and enthusiasts gather to meet the like-minded, to experience, learn and find a collective voice– and thus contribute ever more strongly to the development of the thriving arts scene across the Kingdom. We thank the community for their support and look forward to welcoming everyone to Hayy Jameel this winter.”

With a name derived from the Arabic word for “neighbourhood” to denote its intent as an accessible, communal and collaborative destination, Hayy Jameel is set to bring together the broadest range of creative disciplines in one destination. The must-visit complex is anchored by Hayy Arts, a 700-square-metre gallery that hosts a roster of compelling, robust and curated homegrown and international touring arts and design exhibitions.

The debut museum-style show at the space developed in partnership with globally-renowned museums and organisations will be “Staple: What’s on your plate?” Co-curated by Art Jameel, Jeddah/Dubai and Delfina Foundation, it is inspired by Jeddah’s richly diverse population and investigates what we eat and the entanglement of food with memory, ecology and place. This is all done through the varied contributions of over 30 artists, researchers, thinkers, performers, filmmakers and creative practitioners. A collaborative research process exploring food systems and networks globally has been underway for the past two years and includes a “laboratory” of artists, writers and thinkers from the Gulf and beyond.

Fenaa Hayy, a multi-purpose space for performances, workshops and talks, is another highlight, while Hayy Learning is a community-focused education platform with a rolling programme that embraces in-person and virtual learning, research and apprenticeships. Additionally, there’s Hayy Studios that offers spaces and facilities for hands-on learning and residencies, and Hayy Cinema, the Kingdom’s first independent audio-visual centre. It includes a 200-seat theatre, a community screening room and a multimedia library. Imagined as a year-round home for the Saudi film community and local cine-enthusiasts, the cinema is designed by Jeddah-based architectural practice Bricklab, awarded through a highly competitive international design competition run by Art Jameel.

The Art Jameel-run not-for-profit spaces are joined by Hayy Residents, a suite of pioneering, homegrown creative disciplines. The wide spectrum of like-minded, pioneering creative businesses from Jeddah includes contemporary art and performance, design and publishing, baking and culinary institutes, as well as new cafes and eateries.

The Building
Drawn up by multi-award-winning architectural studio waiwai, Hayy Jameel’s building has received multiple architectural accolades, including Gold during the Hong Kong Design Awards and Silver at the New York Design Awards. In addition, the compound earned the Honour Award for Exceptional Design by the American Institute of Architects (Middle East chapter) and nominations for the 2A Continental Architectural Award and the London Design Awards.

Designed to nurture creative cross-pollination, the three-storey building in the northern residential area of Jeddah responds to its surroundings. Tall façades intimate the privacy of a home while allowing for interior openness, flow and maximum natural light, achieved by basing all activity around Saha, the community courtyard, underpinned by philosophies of year-round sustainability and adaptability. Plus, the building’s steel structures allow for the flexibility to reconfigure space as cultural trends emerge.

Take an immersive tour of Hayy Jameel here

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