Cirque du Soleil to debut major international shows in Saudi Arabia

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Adhlal, a platform that aims to help Saudi designers develop their skills and give them a leg up in the industry, unveiled its new, rebranded identity during a ceremony at the Saudi Design Festival in Jax District in Diriyah on Monday.

“Today we are launching the new identity and the new brand of Adhlal which we hope will reflect our hopes and dreams for the future and everything that we hope to achieve,” said Princess Nourah Al-Faisal, the founder of Adhlal.

“I want to see designers who are more empowered, who have a true understanding of their identity and have no fear in expressing their creative ideas and no fear in really pushing forward.”

Princess Nourah Al-Faisal founder of Adhlal (Right), Noor Alnugali (Left), assistant editor-in-chief of Arab News, during the discussion. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

Adhlal is a research-based consultancy that aims to equip future generations of Saudi designers with the tools they need to succeed and build on the aims of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 national development plan. The rebranding aims to create an enhanced forum for discussion where designers can gather, share knowledge and help each other excel.

“That is the whole point of Adhlal: the community and that ability to bring people together and strengthen themselves, to share knowledge,” Princess Nourah said.

By doing this, she added, Adhlal aims to create an environment in which designers can grow together. The process of rethinking the identity of Adhlal raised many questions that helped the founder and her team to understand the strategies required to better help the Saudi design community to develop and grow.

Discussions were held during the rebranding of Adhlal on the necessary tools needed for the future of design in the Kingdom. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

“We were taking a deep dive into who we are and what we are trying to achieve, to see what our goals are,” Princess Nourah said.

What emerged at the heart of the process was a realization that to strengthen and support the design community there was a need to redefine the very idea of what design truly is and what it can achieve. We all utilize design concepts in every aspect of our daily lives, Princess Nourah pointed out, whether we realize it or not.

“Design is everything,” she said. “It’s the strategies; you design your future, you design your life and you design your day.”

She also highlighted the importance of design and its contribution to the future of the Kingdom.

“We really need to accelerate the development of design,” she said. “Design is the only tool that will get us to Vision 2030 and beyond. There is nothing else in this world that will allow us to achieve that.”

However there is a gap between where things stand and where the country aspires to be in terms of accelerating design, according to the princess.

“In Saudi Arabia, and a lot of parts of the world, we tend to focus on the product more than anything else — we think of the product, merchandising, manufacturing — but design is really much bigger than that,” she said, adding that a better understanding of design will aid the development of the Kingdom.

“If we really learn to utilize design thinking, it is really something that will help us in the future.”

Through the rebranding, Adhlal has developed new strategies it says can tackle the obstacles designers face. These strategies will be shared among the design community to enhance design thinking and awareness of its importance to all aspects of daily life.

“Definitely, the core of what we do is always research and consulting, and we really believe in working with all sectors of different fields,” Princess Nourah said.

It is also important to educate people about design thinking and design research, and one of the ways in which this can be achieved is by supporting creativity from a young age, she added.

During the rebranding launch event, part of the venue was transformed into a design workshop for children in partnership with NExAR, a design-consultancy initiative that aims to build bridges between the Netherlands and the Arab world through education and shared insights.

“We are teaching children the importance of design thinking as a tool in life to (aid) their imagination and understanding,” said Princess Nourah.

The Saudi Design Festival, which began on Jan. 10, is a three-week event hosted by the Architecture and Design Commission as a hub for creative dialogue that brings together design communities to share knowledge and insights.


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