The Saudi Architecture and Design Commission, one of the 11 commissions under the Ministry of Culture, has announced plans to launch the second Saudi Design Festival between Jan. 12-23.
Organized by the creative cultural consultancy &bouqu, this year’s edition will be the biggest yet, unveiling a new vision and format for the festival, with a range of events and activations that celebrate local and international design.
Sumayah Al-Solaiman, CEO of the Saudi Architecture and Design Commission, said: “The Saudi Design Festival provides a platform for emerging and established designers, small and medium businesses, creatives and industry players to exchange knowledge, enable collaborations and find opportunities for growth and development.
“We’re excited to bring together designers from across the Kingdom and showcase their work. Together, we’re building a more advanced sector and making sure local talents are equipped with the tools and skills to succeed — that’s why the festival will be hosting discussions, workshops, masterclasses and networking sessions.”
SDF 2023 commences with a Design Forum and opening weekend at the City Hub of the Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City in Riyadh from Jan. 13-14. It will feature leading local and international experts who will discuss a range of topics on design, such as the effects of urban landscapes on quality of life, exporting culture through design and building better cities for the future.
Workshops will touch on important industry trends such as sustainable design, creative entrepreneurship and the power of typography in graphic design and communication. Alongside the on-stage discussions will be off-stage mentorship sessions, open-call announcements and exhibitions to explore.
The festival promises participants and audiences a comprehensive calendar of activities, transforming Riyadh into a creative hub with Design Destinations (Oud Square, The Boulevard Riyadh and Gallery Design), alongside activations taking place in multiple venues across more than 40 locations in Riyadh. The festival will also roll out an online program, expanding its reach across the region and internationally.
Basma Bouzo, co-founder and CEO of &bouqu and director of the SDF, said: “Since we launched this festival, formerly known as Saudi Design Week, our aim has always been to give local designers and creatives a space where they can have constructive discussions and be heard across the region.
“As the sector evolves, the festival is changing too, enabling partners to contribute to the narrative and meet their ambition to grow the sector sustainably. Our mission this year is to show how design connects society and develop meaningful opportunities that last even after the event.”