THE DISTRIBUTION: The multidisciplinary designer Sara Khalid discusses the “Jardin des hommes”
DUBAI: In another victory for the Saudi art scene, the highly anticipated Hayy Jameel has announced that he will finally open the doors of his vast 17,000 square meter cultural complex in Jeddah in the winter of 2021. Hayy Jameel, who is pulling his nom du The Arabic word for “neighborhood” is meant to be exactly that: a space for collaboration and creative exchange. The new cultural complex adds to the growing list of new cultural businesses launched in the Kingdom in recent years as Saudi Arabia continues its mission of promoting a “creative economy”.
“Hayy Jameel should be a second home for Jeddah’s creative community – a vibrant, multidisciplinary complex created specifically to support the art scene and nurture next-generation talent,” Antonia Carver, director of Art Jameel, told Arab News.
“This is an extremely exciting new era for Saudi culture in general. Now, by complementing and supporting the dynamic and large-scale developments led by the Ministry of Culture and government-affiliated entities, we have the first major contribution from the private non-profit sector and one with an entirely civic purpose ”, she added.
Located in a three-story building in the residential Al-Mohammadiyyah district of northern Jeddah, Hayy Jameel will feature the launch of Hayy Cinema, a 200-seat cinema that marks Saudi Arabia’s first independent cinema; Hayy Arts, a 700 square meter exhibition center; Hayy Studio, an artists’ studio; Feta Hayy, a versatile space for performances, workshops and conferences; Hayy Learning, a community-driven educational platform offering a curriculum that offers in-person and virtual learning, research and learning; and Hayy Residents, a space that will bring together pioneering creative businesses in Jeddah, ranging from contemporary art and performance to design and publishing, as well as bakery institutes, new cafes and restaurants.
The resort is designed by waiwai, an architecture studio based in Dubai and Tokyo, also creator of the Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park opposite the Jameel Arts Center in Dubai. The cinema is designed by Jeddah-based Bricklab, a commission awarded to the company following an international design competition organized by Art Jameel.
Jeddah has long been known for its creative scene, with its annual 21’39 festival taking place across the city since 2013; its Athr gallery and its Hafez gallery, two of the most renowned art galleries in the Kingdom; and its multitude of emerging and established Saudi artists. The city will also host the first International Red Sea Film Festival in November 2021. What the scene lacks, however, are spaces to create and incubate artistic production.
In many ways, Hayy Jameel arrived as the missing ingredient in Jeddah’s cultural mission. It differs from the Jameel Arts Center in Dubai in that its aim is not only to act as a museum or exhibition space for the Jameel family collection, but to foster intercultural dialogue and creative production. .
“We see the Jameel Arts Center as a museum of contemporary visual arts and Hayy as a multidisciplinary creative hub,” Carver added. “The two embrace a creative dialogue, while Hayy focuses more on artistic production. “
Such ideas are reflected in its architecture. Its three-story structure is characterized by high facades that reflect the intimacy of a private house, while the interior space is open and centered around Saha, a common courtyard believed to be a reinterpretation of the traditional courtyard typology with a surrounding landscaping rooted in sustainable and green practices. The airy ambience of the structure is supported by natural light, which penetrates from all sides, further enhancing the space as a place for easy dialogue and creation. The building uses a steel structure with aluminum cladding and a concrete floor – elements that provide flexibility to the spaces, allowing them to be used in a versatile way for exhibitions, events, workshops and more.
Hayy’s architecture and design has already won numerous architectural accolades, including gold at the Hong Kong Design Awards; Silver at the New York Design Awards; and the Honor Award for Exceptional Design from the Middle East section of the American Institute of Architects. It was also nominated for the 2A Continental Architectural Award as well as the London Design Awards.
Hayy’s inaugural show called “Basic: What’s on Your Plate?” Is co-organized with a London-based partner, the Delfina Foundation. Inspired by the diverse demographics of Jeddah, the exhibition will explore the relationship between food and memory, ecology and place through the works of more than 30 artists, thinkers, performers, researchers, filmmakers and other creative practitioners.
The launch date for these conversations is set for November 2021 and will run until April 2022, supported by a public program of lectures, performances, and educational and film programs, with contributions from regional and international artists. Workshops will also be organized for people of all ages, from children to the elderly, proving how accessible art is to everyone and the creative journey and the knowledge gained through it are sustainable.
Hayy Jameel also marks the 75th anniversary of the Jameel family’s global philanthropy.
Based in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Jameel family has long been one of the Arab world’s greatest patrons. For decades, Art Jameel has supported artists and creative communities across the Middle East through exhibitions, commissions, research and community development, driven by the belief that the arts can be open and accessible to all. Hayy is the next chapter in Art Jameel’s journey.
“Art Jameel was born in Jeddah, and Hayy is our most ambitious project to date,” Fady Jameel, president of Art Jameel, told Arab News. “This homecoming, at a time of local interest and unprecedented investment in the arts, is an important moment for our family.”