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Effat University Design Project: Saudi Design Initiative Focused on Creativity & Innovation

An exciting new project is finally coming to culmination after one year of being in the works. Saudi Design Festival, research-based Adhlal consultancy, and Effat University are the entities who have come together to create this design project.

Basically the program, which is called “Effat University Design Project”, will be bridging the gap between the academia, the industry, and the design community in Saudi Arabia.

It will have four different design student groups each tackling a different aspect of a hotel: Customer Experience, Food and Beverage, Housekeeping, and Front Desk.

The hotel that will be in the project is Shada Hotel, a boutique hotel located in Jeddah which is characterized by “southern Saudi lifestyle”. Its design is stunning with a motif of culture manifested in every touchpoint.

Princess Nourah Al-Faisal, founder of Adhlal, spoke to Arab News about the significance of these types of projects, “It’s really important to give the students the tools that they need to succeed. And that’s more than just how to design. It’s how to identify problems, how to research properly, how to start a business, how to promote yourself, how to deal with deadlines, how to deal with a real-time client, which is not something that they really get the benefits of.”

When discussing the choice of Shada hotel, Rumaysa Mohammed, one of the members in the Customer Experience group highlighted the importance of localization, especially within the design field in Saudi Arabia.

“The fact that we get to work with a hotel that is very culture-centric, that is preserving the values and traditions of this place, just adds to the richness of this entire project,” she said to Arab News, “The fact that we’re preserving, and we’re not being influenced by the West in this. It’s very much made by our people, for our people.”

With these types of projects, the importance of hands-on, practical work could put these students on the radar for many upcoming jobs. Head of the design department at Effat University, Dr. Sajid Khalifa, reiterated that to Arab News, saying “The objective of this project is to give our students real industry and work experience so that they are acting as design consultants.” 

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