The latest edition of the Harrods Hive talent incubator launched in Riyadh this month following successful events in Dubai, Shanghai, and Beijing. The two-day event, hosted by Harrods, the world’s leading luxury department store, brought together curated conversations and networking as a platform to elevate Saudi’s brightest emerging talent.
The event, which was the first edition of the Hive to be held in Saudi Arabia, focused on the concept of “Unpacking Luxury”, exploring the theme of rarity, looking at unique talents, how our perceptions of luxury can be impacted by exclusivity and how brands can support creative brilliance. The two-day event was held in Diriyah, the Birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a core part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 whereby the area will be transformed into one of the most prominent cultural tourism destinations in the country. Designed as a sustainable landmark, Diriyah is delivering initiatives focused on culture, heritage preservation and wellness amongst other areas. In the coming months, the area will also include new cultural attractions including museums, galleries, and recreational spaces to proudly exhibit Saudi Arabia’s rich culture and heritage. This cultural focus aligns with the cherished heritage of Harrods, echoing the theme of rarity and exclusivity found in the inaugural edition of the Saudi Hive.
The Harrods Hive Riyadh is also proud to have collaborated with The Saudi Youth Society, champions of equal opportunities and youth empowerment in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Youth Society plays a pivotal role in connecting cultures, inspiring affirmative action, and nurturing the emerging generation. This partnership supports The Harrods Hive's mission to nurture and inspire future generations on a global scale, embarking on a journey of empowerment and cultural enrichment.
To kick off The Hive Saudia Arabia, Harrods hosted an exclusive reception on Wednesday 24th January to convene panellists and key stakeholders ahead of the panel discussions on the 25th.
Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods: “We are thrilled to be in Riyadh for the first time to host The Hive and we have a great event, with some exceptional speakers, lined up. What better place to host the event than Diriyah, a cultural and lifestyle destination, as well as the birthplace of the Kingdom, a symbol of unity, beauty and resilience. Saudi Arabia has so much to offer and the talent emerging from this corner of the world is truly exciting. We are looking forward to a dynamic and insightful day of discussions around the theme of rarity.”
Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO Diriyah Company: “We are delighted to host the first-ever Saudi Arabian edition of this prestigious global event. Diriyah’s growing popularity as a preferred destination for prominent events reflects our steadfast commitment to efficiently and sustainably organizing global gatherings. As the birthplace of the first Saudi state and the designated Arab Capital of Culture for 2030, Diriyah stands as an ideal venue that seamlessly blends rich cultural heritage with top-tier hospitality and luxury. With our ever-expanding array of cultural, entertainment, and leisure offerings, combined with the growing line-up of major global events, we are confident that Diriyah will continue to enhance the experiences of our residents, visitors, and tourists alike.”
The second day comprised of three panel talks, held in the Amphitheatre Space at Diriyah Gate and was moderated by Ajwa Al Joudi, a TV Host and Content Producer who is one of the foremost faces of the creative Saudi youth today. The first panel, titled ‘Illuminating Rare Talent’, dove into how creatives in the Middle East are blending traditional craftsmanship with innovative techniques to create unique and contemporary pieces. Harrods was honoured to be joined for this panel by Basma Bouzo, Co-Founder of Saudi Design Week and CEO of the Saudi Design Festival and Banan Yaquby, the Founder of Quby Creative Consultants. Impressive figures in their fields, the duo provided a unique perspective on blending the old with the new, how artists can contribute to the economic development of a country and how important it is to upskill the next generation.
The second panel of the day, titled ‘One in a Million’, explored how rarity and exclusivity factor into our perceptions of luxury. The panel was joined by HRH Princess AlJoharah bint Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Chairwoman of commercial service firm Atlal AlMajd; Rae Joseph, a Serial Fashion Entrepreneur and Creative Consultant; and Shahd Al Shehail, an entrepreneur and the Founder of ethical luxury brand Abadia. The third and final panel focused on how the Middle East’s diverse cultural background contributes to a wide spectrum of creative arts. Titled ‘Unveiling Creative Brilliance’, the discussion centred around cultural identity, reflecting personal heritage and incorporating both traditional and cutting-edge design when it comes to the creative arts. The Hive saw Nouf al Moneef, an interior architect and designer, and Zeinab Abu Alsamh, General Manager of MBC Studios Saudi Arabia as the esteemed panellists for this section.
HRH Princess AlJoharah bint Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist: “I never wanted anything to change in our traditions because we have so much art and we have so much creativity. We take [our traditions] for granted, but the world is hungry for something new – they don’t want the recycled - the same brands, the same designs.”
Basma Bouzo, Founder, Saudi Design Week: “As creatives, our love for traditional arts and crafts stems from our love for storytelling – it is at the core of everything we do. Having modern technology as something that assists you to take storytelling further is a development that has been really beautiful to see.”
Zeinab Abu Alsamh, General Manager, MBC Studios Saudi Arabia: “Film is a window to everything in all the disciplines of art. Talking to so many talented people from different creative disciplines and agreeing on one vision and one message to be shared to an audience is incredibly challenging. Regionally, identifying talent and fitting them into what we are trying to do remains challenging, but there are so many talented people out there that we are optimistic for the future of the industry.”