sabine marcelis' exhibition at milan design week evokes AlUla's desert landscape

sabine marcelis' exhibition at milan design week evokes AlUla's desert landscape

design 206 shares connections: 92

a glimpse into alula’s natural and cultural landscape

 

At Milan Design Week 2024, Saudi Arabia’s Design Space AlUla brings a glimpse of the ancient oasis city’s natural and cultural landscape to Brera, the heart of Milan’s historic design district. The exhibition designed by Sabine Marcelis and CLOUD showcases a series of furniture objects and accessories including modular seating systems and biodegradable pots in dialogue with the Fuorisalone theme of Materia Natura. Together, they explore material expressions and traditional crafts, reinterpreting the heritage of the region’s biodiversity, its expansive desertscape, and cultural customs in diverse perspectives.

 

The presented works include Dr Zahrah Alghamdi’s The Magical Pillars, a leather recreation of native rock pillars; TECHNOCrafts’ 3D printed Living Pots; and TAKK’s seating system crafted from clay and naturally dyed fabric to evoke the undulations of Saudi’s desert. The exhibition space itself is centers around the concept of light, punctuated by a cylindrical oculus that hovers above like the sun, filtering illumination to the main room. A dotted pattern along the floor recalls a traditional motif prevalent in the streets of AlUla’s old city, while the central Haus Dari seating system invites visitors to enjoy moments of relaxation and conviviality.

design space alula pays homage to the saudi desert’s biodiversity at milan design week
all images courtesy of Design Space AlUla

 

 

Design Space AlUla provokes natural material expressions

 

Design Space AlUla convenes works from the latest projects launched in the city across two new design initiatives, with the projects of Madrasaat Addeera Editions contemplating the intrinsic connection between nature and design. Here, The Magical Pillars by Saudi artist Dr Zahrah Alghamdi, pays homage to the rock formations of Al Gharameel by reinterpreting these mystical natural forms in leather adorned with delicate chamomile flower embroidery, celebrating the region’s biodiversity.

 

Looking to the palm-fringed oases of AlUla’s natural landscape, Argentine artist Cristian Mohaded presents AlWaha, a room divider inspired by Al Khous, the art of frond weaving. Evoking rolling desert dunes, Spanish duo TAKK’s Duna: The Seating Dune is a versatile seating system crafted from clay and naturally dyed fabrics, enveloped in hues that reflect those of AlUla’s mystical dawn. Spanish design studio TECHNOCrafts showcases Alwadiya: The Living Pots, a self-sustaining system that mirrors the natural cycles of AlUla’s lush oasis. Made from 3D printed natural cellulose and CO2-absorbing PURE.TECH, the vases are enveloped in naturally dyed linen fabrics and biodegradable leathers made from local fruits and herbs.

design space alula pays homage to the saudi desert’s biodiversity at milan design week
the exhibition pays tribute to the ancient oasis city’s natural and cultural landscape

 

 

fusing geology and crafts at milan design week

 

The AlUla Design Residency program brings forth an array of designs that intertwine architecture, design, geology, and history. Parisian artist Leo Orta’s Peculiar Erosions blurs the line between sculpture and everyday objects with a bench and a series of chairs. Crafted from clay bricks, rebar, and straw, their elemental forms draw inspiration from the mud brick architecture and geological wonders of AlUla’s landscape alike. The shapes recall those created by the erosion of basalt and sandstone, caused by wind and water. From Debris by West Indian design studio Raw Materials is a collection of carved stones, lanterns, and metal pieces that reimagine local historical instruments with materials from the oasis. 

 

Jeddah-based architect Leen Ajlan’s Takki offers a modern reinterpretation of traditional recreational spaces with a versatile modular platform. Serving as both a gaming table and a sharing space, it revisits local pastimes and communal traditions, aggregating new forms of social interaction and playfulness. Meanwhile, French collective Hall Haus unveils Haus Dari, a contemporary take on traditional cushions and diwans, an integral facet in AlUla’s social fabric. Surface! by Bahraini, the Danish architecture firm, is a flexible steel divider that integrates with different environments to facilitate interaction and engagement or serve as a screen or curtain.  

design space alula pays homage to the saudi desert’s biodiversity at milan design week
furniture and accessories in dialogue with the theme, Materia Natura 

sabine marcelis' exhibition at milan design week evokes AlUla's desert landscape
Surface! by Bahraini, a flexible steel divider that facilitate interaction and engagement or serves as a curtain

design-space-alula-milan-design-week-designboom-w1

 

project info:

 

name: Design Space AlUla

exhibition design: CLOUD, Studio Sabine Marcelis 

curators: Samer Yamani, Ali Ismail Karami

program: Milan Design Week

location: Santa Teresa Mediateca, Brera, Milan

on view: April 14th — 21st, 2024

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