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Female Saudi Designers Al-Khaldi & Rafie To Spotlight Heritage At London Design Biennale

Saudi Arabia is set to make its mark in the global design landscape with the participation of Ruba Al-Khaldi and Lujain Rafie at the fourth edition of the London Design Biennale. The event, which runs from 1st – 25th June 2023, is a global gathering of the world’s most ambitious and imaginative designers, curators, and design institutes, with this year's theme being “The Global Game: Remapping Collaborations.”

The Saudi pavilion at the biennale will showcase an artwork titled “Woven”, curated and designed by Al-Khaldi and Rafie. Al-Khaldi is a specialist in innovation and strategic design and Rafie is known for her work in product design, interior architecture, and design research.

“Woven” is an interactive creative experience that showcases the fabric of humanity, with visitors’ visions of the future coming together to create a unique and intricate tapestry. Each thread in the fabric represents a field of development, and visitors get to choose what it represents. The fabric is inspired by Sadu art, a traditional craft that is an important element of culture and architecture in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the designs of Saudi women throughout history.

Dr. Dalil Al-Qahtani, a specialist in Sadu from the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts, and Israa Al-Sakhri and Haya Al-Naima, students of the institute in the traditional weaving apprenticeship program of Al-Sadu, were also part of the team that helped create the artwork. They wove the fabric with installation work during the duration of the exhibition, and by the time the exhibition closes on 25th June, the Saudi pavilion would have completed a 50-meter-long tapestry design inspired by the visitors' ideas and aspirations for the future.

The Saudi Commission for Architecture and Design spearheaded the country's participation in the London Design Biennale. The commission is a national authority that oversees the development and regulation of the architecture and design sector in Saudi Arabia, ensuring that it contributes to the country’s economic growth and social development. The commission's participation in international design events like the London Design Biennale is part of its efforts to showcase the country's rich culture and heritage, as well as to highlight the talent and expertise of Saudi designers and curators on a global stage.

With their participation in the London Design Biennale, Al-Khaldi and Rafie are paving the way for more Saudi designers to showcase their talent and expertise in the global design landscape. Their work represents a fusion of tradition and innovation, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia while also pushing the boundaries of contemporary design. As the world continues to evolve, it is essential to remember and celebrate our cultural roots, and that is precisely what Al-Khaldi and Rafie are doing with “Woven”.

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