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Riyadh Hosts Saudi Design Festival

In a three week long showcase, young Saudi artists and creatives are given a platform to exhibit their work and carve out their careers within the design industry, in Riyadh.

The capital city of Saudi Arabia is currently hosting the Saudi Design Festival which opened its doors in Jax district in Diriyah on Sunday 9th January 2022. The event is expected to be a nucleus for design communities to come together and have conversations about their respective fields.

Adhlal is one of the main driving forces behind the Saudi Design Festival and is a platform that aims to nurture and equip the next generation with the vital design tools and skills that will build the creative future of the country.

The word “Adhlal,” translates to “mentor” in Arabic, and the organization is currently running panels and discussions, and thinking workshops during the first two weeks of the festival.

Princess Nourah Al Faisal is the founder of Adhlal and speaking to a local news source, she said of their vision, “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.” She continued, “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. 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’s vision is to promote the thought behind design and how it is applied to daily life, and for designers to utilize local resources when researching and creating. She added, “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.”

The Saudi royal also explained that over the course of the Saudi Design Festival, Adhlal will convey a strategy that connects these four areas and how they can work harmoniously together.

Adhlal hopes to strengthen the dialogue between academia and industry so that students are graduating and taking up careers in fields that are currently not being nurtured in the kingdom. Princess Nourah believes that exporting Saudi Arabian design technique globally, will empower Saudi designers and equipping the current and future generations with the skills and information required will make this vision a reality.

She said, “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. 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.”

With Saudi Arabia advancing rapidly across a number of sectors, Princess Nourah believes that it is imperative for the design community to come together to share its knowledge, expertise and resources with the future generations of young Saudi designers. 

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