Saudi Design Week

Banafsajeel’s interactive installation in Saudi Design Week

Banafsajeel joined Saudi Design week as a strategic not-for-profit partner in 2015 and presented its interactive outdoor installation for the first time in Saudi Arabia, featuring a traditional Arabian tent reworked in a contemporary fashion along with an Arabic seating area (Jalsa). The tent designed by Tahir Sultan was certainly the highlight of the installation, which was part of Saudi Design Week’s main exhibition in Al Faisaliah Resort north of Riyadh on May 6-9, 2015. The installation was sponsored by Saudi Icon, the leading boutique construction and fit-out company in Saudi Arabia, and catered by the Barbeque Joint. Over 400 visitors pass through, each writing an individual wish on a talisman and hanging it in the tent, which continues to travel to different cities today.

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Banafsajeel’s Reinventing Heritage project showcases contemporary designers who work with artisans to bring a fresh vision to traditional Arab heritage. Designer Tahir Sultan’s contribution, Enticing yet Fractured Utopia, is a fully handmade traditional Arabian tent or Beit Sha’ar that illuminates in the dark. It reflects the detailed craftsmanship of over 750 artisans, of which 500 are women. The designer, a half-Kuwaiti and half-Indian, wanted to support and empower women who keep handicrafts alive. The tent took over 20,000 hours of work to create and showcases the skill of artisans based in different villages in India, who contributed to the projects creation.

Here is a timelapse video of the installation at Saudi Design Week from Banafsajeel on Vimeo.

The tent acts as a metaphor for cities today. Like a sprawling growing urban metropolis, it is filled with vivacious colors and patterns of elaborate stitching and beading that throw the viewer into sensory overload. The Arabic words on the inside are poetic and of different sentiments; some political, some inspirational and some sarcastic, interspersed with Arabic slang and every day jargon. Over 400 visitors wrote a wish on a talisman and hung it in the tent, which is now travelling to different cities collecting wishes.

Saudi Design Week’s main exhibition in 2015 included over 30 exhibitors and attracted over 8000 visitors over the course of the week. Banafsajeel joined as a strategic not-for-profit partner, unveiling this colorful interactive outdoor installation for the first time in Saudi Arabia

Explore the tent

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