Design Space AlUla to open in February 2024

Design Space AlUla is the first permanent gallery space dedicated to showcasing design initiatives across AlUla.

Design Space AlUla, Al Jadidah Art District. Image courtesy to Nicholas JacksonDesign Space AlUla, Al Jadidah Art District. Image courtesy to Nicholas Jackson

February 2024 will mark the opening of Design Space AlUla, a focal point for showcasing AlUla’s wide ranging design initiatives contributing to the vision for AlUla. Located in the AlJadidah Arts District, Design Space AlUla provides exhibition, workshop and archive space, and is designed to foster collaboration among design professionals, students, and design enthusiasts, whilst strengthening AlUla’s legacy across the cultural sphere as a catalyst for creative inspiration and design. It will open with its inaugural exhibition Mawrid: Celebrating Inspired Design. 

Design Space AlUla is a contemporary building made of corten steel, glass and polished concrete. The architecture, designed by Giò Forma Studio, is a homage to the breezeblock used widely across buildings in the surrounding AlJadidah Arts District. Shaped around a plaza, the luminous courtyard design is complemented by the exposed geometrical brickwork, taking the form of an intricate lattice façade, bringing further light and natural ventilation throughout the building.

 3D render of Azulik from Roth Architecture
3D render of Azulik from Roth Architecture

The inaugural exhibition, Mawrid: Celebrating Inspired Design, will introduce the design thinking process behind 10 recent AlUla-inspired designs across design, architecture and urban planning. It will be the first in an ongoing exhibition programme, launching on 15 February 2024 until 1 June 2024.  

Other exhibitors include finalists from the second edition of AlUla Design Award Imane Mellah, Teeb, Sara Kanoo and Shaddah Studio, and representation from the first edition of the AlUla Design Residency. The residency is a five-month programme in AlUla that brings together designers and experts on-site to work across multiple disciplines such as infrastructure development and architectural design, exploring public realm interventions and urban furniture, sustainability and local building materials.  The five design practices engaged in the residency are: bahraini – danish from Bahrain and Denmark, Hall Haus from France, Studio Leo Orta from France, Studio Raw Material from India, and Leen Ajlan from Saudi Arabia.

Amar Bin Yasser Mosque
Amar Bin Yasser Mosque

In time, these projects will enter the Design Space AlUla archive which will serve as a growing source of design inspiration as well as a living compendium of local design initiatives. The workshop and archive will also host aspiring designers in AlUla’s resident community who want to participate in the creative space. 

Sara Ghani, Curator, Design Space AlUla said, “Design Space AlUla commits to celebrating AlUla’s natural history, its cultural heritage, and vernacular materials – inspiring sustainable futures that are rooted in place. Our ambition is to fuel the design economy, provide resources to designers to explore and experiment, and be a place for visitors to research, explore and connect with the processes behind AlUla’s design journey.” 

Design by Imane Mellah
Design by Imane Mellah

The launch programme, taking place between 15 – 17 February 2024, will include keynote presentations, masterclasses, workshops, panel discussions and design tours. Set out as a series of intimate and lively discussions with maximum opportunity for interaction with the audience, the programme will reflect Design Space AlUla’s focus as a point of knowledge exchange on mindful innovation, heritage preservation, contextual materiality and integrated urban planning.  

AlUla Arts Festival is a celebration of contemporary visual and public art, design, curated cinema, art tours and artist residencies. The opening of Design Space AlUla will complement the Festival programme by giving the festival’s visitors and design enthusiasts in particular, another reason to visit AlUla. 

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