Layali Diriyah 2024
Layali Diriyah is a two-month event celebrating the heritage and transformation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's founding place. For its second edition, which kicked off on January 11th, Designlab Experience transformed a 35,000 sq.m palm tree farm into a cultural, culinary, retail, and entertainment hub. A highlight of Diriyah Season, the event drew a crowd of over 110,000 visitors.
The Designlab Experience team designed and produced a curated selection of farm-to-table restaurants, shisha cafés, a pop-up market housing local artisanal vendors, a luxury shopping village, art installations, an immersive digital exhibit, and a rich entertainment line-up of local talent. The multifaceted venue was designed to integrate into the historic surroundings and the natural landscape through an earthy color palette and modern interpretations of the region's traditional architecture and artistry.
Designlab Experience converted the palm tree farm into an immersive open-air destination for local and international visitors.
Through a mapping process, the architects surveyed the area to preserve the plant trees and constructed a platform to level the grounds and protect the farm's irrigation system. Nadji architecture and craftsmanship were the central inspiration for the overall aesthetic, a common thread in many structures and installations throughout the space.
Dining venues and cafés showcased the elaborate motifs of traditional Diriyah doors. Signature geometric patterns were engraved on wood paneled doors and walls, and digitally printed on the structural columns. Playful umbrellas at the café seating areas were supported by three-pronged metal poles with colorful flat-top panels inspired by traditional circular designs.
Art installations and immersive digital experiences were additional key elements of the guests' experience. Fragments of Diriyah, a digital exhibit projected on a 360-degree screen, showcased the future vision of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority for the historic area. Collaborations with international artists included From this Earth, a walk-through sand structure by Dubai-based duo Karim + Elias. The evening event featured several lighting installations within the palm trees, such as saucer-shaped and pendant lanterns by New Zealand artist David Trubridge and the Dutch duo Vendel and de Wolf's bonfire-like artwork, a homage to the Saudi outdoor tradition. Palm Whispers, another Karim + Elias collaboration, used gold reflective material to symbolize the sound of leaves.