Riyadh is set to host the third edition of Saudi Design Week this October, with a focus on illumination

Saudi Design Week (SDW) is back for its third edition this year and is being hosted by the creative team of Oasis Magazine in collaboration with the King Faisal Foundation for Research and Islamic Studies. SDW founders Munira Al-Ajlani, Noura Bouzo and Basma Bouzo are joined by an advisory board comprising Prince Faisal bin Saud Al Saud, Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki Al Saud and Mohammed Al Mutairi.

In essence, Saudi Design Week is a festival for design and visual culture that aims to raise awareness of the importance of design culture in the region by encouraging emerging talents through a series of exhibitions and workshops and a curated design forum.

“Saudi Design Week has become an exclamation mark in the region’s design calendar: the moment when the Kingdom’s design community comes alive,” explains Basma Bouzo. “Design offers various tools for creatives to express their visions. This year’s focus on illumination will see the contemporary Saudi design scene make further advances into the global design arena.”

The fair’s programme is set to feature more than 30 local Saudi and regional designers, alongside international heavyweights from around the globe, exploring the theme of illumination through design. “We’re asking and encouraging exhibitors to investigate the role that design plays in bringing to light the important social issues of our times, as well as the techniques and materials that can be used in creating illuminating design,” says Bouzo.

Additionally, a new initiative will be launched at this year’s fair. O Design Incubator is a non-profit incubator programme that will provide opportunities to Saudi creatives through mentorship programmes, internships and scholarship opportunities at local, regional and international platforms. By working as a bridge between Saudi designers and the design community, this programme promises to provide an unparalleled opportunity to connect and strengthen the design community in the country.

The Saudi art scene has flourished over the past decade, with the success of Edge of Arabia and various other art and culture initiatives, but the field of design lags some way behind. The fair aims to encourage product designers, furniture designers, industrial designers and other hidden talents in the Kingdom who warrant recognition. Saudi Design Week temporarily transforms Riyadh into a dynamic platform to discuss, judge and admire good design.

Saudi Design Week 2016 runs from October 5 to October 10 at the Al-Faisaliah Resort in Riyadh’s Banban district.

A version of this article appeared in print in Selections, The Collectors Issue #38, page 39.