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Experiencing Design at Saudia Ad Diriyah Formula-e race

Sensing the potential for Saudi’s Design Community
By: Jeroen Frumau

In collaboration with Saudia, Adhlal is spearheading a multi-year initiative designed to foster a dynamic interaction between Saudia and the local design community (i.e. Saudia Design Program), benefiting both parties immensely. This program not only brings us to Jeddah to conduct co-creation sessions and design Majlis but also recently offered me and my colleague Wejdan a unique opportunity to immerse ourselves in the electrifying atmosphere of the SAUDIA Ad Diriyah E-Prix.

Experiencing the Formula E event from behind the scenes opened my eyes to the impactful ways in which such collaborations can be leveraged, especially for the enrichment of Saudi’s Design Community.

Fostering Emotional Connections Through Design

Saudia has been a involved in Formula E from its inception. Insights from Saudia insiders revealed that the Diriyah E-Prix is not just a race; it’s a seminal event marking a significant moment in time. Its inaugural edition in 2018 was a landmark, as Saudi Arabia opened its doors to international visitors, hosting an event of this magnitude for the first time.

These events are more than competitions; they are creators of lasting memories and builders of emotional connections. I envision future E-Prix events as platforms to rekindle the warmth and hospitality of Saudi Arabia, crafting unique event experiences that forge new emotional ties between Saudis and international visitors alike.

Accelerating Design for Speed and Innovation

Formula E represents the pinnacle of electrified racing, focusing on the development and demonstration of innovative technologies. The essence of these events lies not just in speed but in the acceleration and endurance they showcase, highlighting the true potential of emerging technologies and the professionalism across teams.

A tour of the pit boxes revealed that progress is achievable even with limited resources. This ethos provides a fertile ground for the local design community to demonstrate its talent, creating event experiences that resonate with the transformative speed and ignite a creative thrust into the future.

Advancing Sustainable Practices Through Design

The convergence of vast audiences at such events underlines the unique blend of sport, technology, hospitality, and entertainment. However, it also highlights the urgent need—and opportunity—for responsible and sustainable practices.

In collaboration with Adhlal, as part of the Saudia Design Program, we recently hosted the first Saudia Designathon, focusing on innovative uses for repurposed crew uniforms. The creative energy within the design community is boundless, and I am hopeful that the Diriyah E-Prix can become a catalyst for designing sustainable practices that make a real difference.

Conclusion: Accelerating into the Future Together

My experience at the SAUDIA Ad Diriyah E-Prix was more than just an event; it was a source of inspiration, showcasing the untapped potential within the Saudi Design Community. Let’s harness this momentum and accelerate into a future filled with innovation and collaboration.

And, on a personal note, seeing Dutch DJ Afrojack perform live for the first time added a memorable touch to my visit. As a Dutchman contributing to the growth of the Saudi design ecosystem, it was a proud moment that beautifully rounded off my 2024 visit to the SAUDIA Ad Diriyah E-Prix.


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