The Routes to Roots exhibition at Tanween, the creativity conference hosted by Ithra, gathered top designers from around the world with the aim of promoting a sustainable future. Having taken place at Ithra's Dhahran headquarters from November 1 to 4, Tanween's theme this year was "Scale." Routes to Roots is an exhibition that explores the power of scaling in design and demonstrates that an entity's physical size is not always a reliable indicator of its impact on the environment.
The collaboration between Isola, based in Milan, and The Routes to Roots exhibition represents the pioneering creation of a curated digital platform that exclusively focuses on international emerging designers and independent design studios. It places a strong emphasis on innovation, sustainability, and the use of biomaterials.
The Tanween event showcases an array of innovative projects from the worldwide design community associated with Isola. The featured projects by the chosen designers, who hail from more than 16 nations, highlight ecologically sensitive design principles. To create modern design pieces, they innovate and combine traditional processes with biomaterials, natural resources, and waste from industry and households.
One visitor at the exhibition said that Dhahran is increasingly seen as a global hub for young creative designers, with Ithra providing a platform for these innovative talents at Tanween.
The exhibition features art projects by emerging talents from countries such as Japan, Portugal, France, Italy, India, Estonia, South Korea, and the US. Additionally, it gives designers the chance to perform live and teach guests at Tanween about their methods and skills.
Portuguese designer Nicolau dos Santos and French-Italian art director Stephanie Blanchard, the brains behind Iammi studio, gave a live demonstration on the second day of the exhibition about their handcrafted "cloud seatings," a concept that attracted a lot of attention at Tanween. The whole blocks of Ecofoam used to create these cloud seatings are molded from discarded mattresses that the Italian business Re-mat salvages and repurposes. To make the seating long-lasting, cleanable, and biodegradable, a water-based elastic varnish is applied when it is finished. Dos Santos noted, "In using this coating, we are increasing the longevity of the cloud seating while remaining committed to an environmentally safe approach."
The Routes to Roots exhibition is one of four exhibitions held at Ithra as part of the Tanween conference, which, since 2018, has been bringing together innovators, creatives, and leading experts to foster knowledge exchange and redefine creativity in a rapidly changing world.