Design Space AlUla

Design Space AlUla

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

Through its series of exhibitions, workshops and archive, under the direction of Sara Ghani, who also curated the gallery’s inaugural exhibition, Design Space AlUla aims to engage with emerging and established design professionals, regionally and internationally, to explore design principles and creative design processes through the lens of AlUla’s natural and cultural landscape. The space will be inclusive of all design disciplines from architecture and urban planning, to product and graphic design. It will support and engage with the design community, whilst highlighting the wider role of design in the region’s character, quality of life and wider economy.

Design Space AlUla

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.

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.

Design Space AlUla

Projects explored in the exhibition include Giò Forma Studio/Black Engineering’s Maraya, a 9,740m2 mirror-clad venue that blends with its awe-inspiring surroundings, echoing the natural textures and colours of AlUla; the plans for the renovation ofMadrasat Addeera, AlUla’s first arts and design centre, by UK based Hopkins Architects; Roth Architecture’s Azulik Eco Resort which draws inspiration from the stories of wind and erosion, ensuring the project seamlessly integrates with its natural surroundings; SAL Architects’ renovation of the historic Ammar Bin Yasser Mosque, which collaborated closely with the community to ensure a respectful and harmonious transformation; and AlUla’s Cultural Oasis District Masterplan, guided by Prior + Partners in collaboration with Allies and Morrison, each driven by the mission to cherish and protect the cultural and natural landscape that has made AlUla a place where communities, travellers, traders and pilgrims have, for millennia, wanted to live, pass through, rest, and exchange cultural traditions.

Design Space AlUla 3D render of Azulik © Roth Architecture LLC

3D render of Azulik © Roth Architecture LLC

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 Space AlUla combines a gallery, archive and workshop in a dynamic new centre for design in the region. Located in the heart of the AlJadidah Arts District, Design Space AlUla interrogates design practices from around the world through the prism of AlUla’s cultural and natural landscapes. It aims to fuel creative thought and expression through a dynamic programme of collaboration and exchange, situating the creative practices of Northwest Arabia in the international design ecosystem. A living compendium of AlUla’s design journey, from master planning to graphic design, and product design to architecture, this is a space for designers and design enthusiasts to learn, dream, investigate, collaborate, experiment, make and share.


Words Platform Desk
Date 07.02.2024
Photography Shyoab Khattab