The Architecture and Design Commission announces the participation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the fourth edition of the London Design Biennale.
Inspired by the 2023 London Design Biennale theme of “Remapping Collaborations”, the Saudi Pavilion will exhibit 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 will be 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 will be 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.