- The Architecture and Design Commission is leading the participation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the London Design Biennale.
- The Saudi Pavilion is currently exhibiting an interactive installation titled “Woven
- The installation allows visitors to participate in the creation of the design installation with respect to their vision of the Kingdom’s future.
Inspired by the 2023 London Design Biennale theme of “Remapping Collaborations”, the Saudi Pavilion is exhibiting an interactive installation titled “Woven”, designed and curated by Ruba Alkhaldi and Lojain Rafaa, to represent the country’s welcoming nature.
“Woven” simulates the artisanship of ‘Sadu’, which is a traditional weaving practice performed by using a simple, portable knoll. It is considered a hugely significant design movement that has become a key element of local culture.
To experience the Kingdom’s culture of inclusivity, visitors are being encouraged to collaborate and co-create the design installation. Visitors will be invited to choose different yarns through a multi-touch interactive surface and applying it to the tapestry. These yarns each represent a different pillar of society – education, health, technology, nature, and manufacture.
By the end of the Design London Biennale exhibition on the 25th of June of 2023, a 50-meter-long tapestry will have been woven, where the position of every thread is influenced by visitors’ insights and beliefs that interlace in pure harmony to improvise the design. This tapestry will serve as a data map and the design will travel back to Saudi Arabia and have its own global and local tour to inspire everyone, transcending its message of unity, connection, and prosperity.
The designers explain: “Inspired by the theme of ‘Remapping Collaborations’, we thought of an immersive experience, where our ideas about the future interlace with the fabric of humanity. The result is “Woven” – an installation that celebrates an important local initiative that originates from the Arabian desert. Sadu weaves humble materials into textiles – to incubate, shelter, and represent both identity and visions, to sustain and grow. We’re excited for people to experience it for themselves at the Biennale.”
Dr. Delayel ALkahtani, a Sadu specialist from The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts as well as students of the Sadu Apprenticeship Program at the Institute, Esraa Al-Sakhri and Haya Al-Nuaima, have been commissioned to weave the fabric for the installation during the exhibition.
This is Saudi Arabia’s third time participating in the London Design Biennale, after 2016 and 2018. The Architecture and Design Commission, which has supported this participation, shares the London Design Biennale’s vision for social and ecological advancement through designs that draw on networks of exchange and movement.
The Biennale is hosted at London’s Somerset House between 1-25 June 2023. Tickets can be purchased here.
London Design Biennale: what you should know
Established in 2016 by Sir John Sorrell CBE and Ben Evans CBE, London Design Biennale promotes international collaboration and the global role of design. Since its inception the Biennale welcomes the world’s most exciting and ambitious designers, innovators and cultural bodies to the capital.
The fourth edition of London Design Biennale will take place from 1 to 25 June 2023, artistically directed by the Nieuwe Instituut—the Dutch national museum and institute for architecture, design and digital culture. Taking over the entirety of Somerset House, including the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court and River Terrace, participants from across the globe will be invited to imagine and enact new forms of international cooperation and participation—including with each other—through the medium of design.
London Design Biennale’s International Advisory Committee and Jury includes Aric Chen, Ben Evans CBE, Dr Christopher Turner, Es Devlin OBE, James Lingwood MBE, Jonathan Reekie CBE, Marva Griffin Wilshire, Nipa Doshi, Paola Antonelli, Professor Jeremy Myerson, Sir John Sorrell CBE, Suhair Khan, Victoria Broackes, Tosin Oshinowo and Rashid and Ahmed Bin Shabib.