NURTURING CREATIVITY: The Alaan outlet in Riyadh. AlaanMini is the first in a new calendar of Alaan Projects, devised to promote local talent and support independent designers.
By Anand Holla
As if to complement the ever-burgeoning art scene of the region and of Qatar, Riyadh’s Alaan (meaning Now) – the key contemporary forum, at the heart of the city’s emerging arts scene – has announced its new project AlaanMini, launched right in time for Saudi Design Week.
AlaanMini seeks to nurture the creative talent of children, while showcasing unique local designs in children’s clothing, furniture and other objects. What also makes it interesting and worth checking out is that it is the only Design Week event for mothers attending with children and the only event dedicated to designer children’s pieces.
The fun includes a huge mural map of Riyadh for children to come and help colour in. Little ones can also take away a poster of the map to colour in at home. In addition, for five days in a row, they have got all the Cs covered to inspire the artist in your children: cut-outs, clippies, cloths, collages, crayons and cushions.
Alaan Founder Neama al-Sudairi explains, “AlaanMini is our chance to enthuse children about art, at an event dedicated to beautiful pieces created for children, by local designers and artists. Saudi Design Week is the perfect opportunity to launch AlaanMini. Ours will be the only place dedicated to children in this week. Mothers can explore creative designs on sale for children, while their kids are immersed in creative workshops.
“A key part of our mission is to put Riyadh’s artist and design talent on the map. We are taking this quite literally with AlaanMini by inviting children to come and learn the about Riyadh’s landmarks, helping to colour in our huge mural map of the city.”
AlaanMini is the first in a new calendar of Alaan Projects, devised to promote local creativity and support talented independent designers. Al-Sudairi says, “Alaan Projects celebrates experimentation and entrepreneurship in the art of everyday life. Alaan Projects is our opportunity to assemble designer events with arts education programming.
“We see it as a natural reaction to the crush of global brands that surrounds us. We are proud to present local and regional designers who articulate their own creative vision and craftsmanship in response to the mass-produced world.
“The success of Crate, Alaan’s popup designer showcase brand, opened our eyes to the overwhelming interest in Riyadh for local, limited edition designs for everyday living. Alaan Projects takes this one-step further by including education, workshops, talks and other related activities within unique events.”
During the Saudi Design Week, you can also drop by for Daily Story Time for children, and workshops such as My Family Portrait (cutouts), May 9, 5-6pm, (SAR300) where you use imagination and paper to cut out your own family portrait with fun shapes and colours; Tiny Monster Clippies, May 10, 5-6pm, (SAR350) in which you make mini monsters from cloth clips using paper cutouts and a variety of different materials.
On May 11, kids share their stories – real and imagined – in The Day I Was Born, 5-6pm, (SAR300), about the day they were born and represent the big day through drawing and collage. On May 12, Draw Me A Cushion, 5-6pm, (SAR550), lets you draw a picture and have it produced on a cushion – your very own one-off designer object that you can take home later.
As a proudly authentic Saudi style evolves in Riyadh, Alaan fosters the city’s growing arts community through exhibitions, event programmes and an important arts library. Alaan’s striking exhibition space is deliberately set at street level, welcoming a relaxed, immersive experience.
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