JEDDAH: An iconic table shared by Gulf Cooperation Council leaders at a recent summit was designed by a Saudi artist.
Lulwah Al-Hammoud produced the designs for the piece of furniture which took center stage at the meeting of GCC Member States, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar, as well as representatives from Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.
She told Arab News of her pride and excitement at seeing the table used by the leaders of the organization. Its design was inspired by the changes taking place in Saudi Arabia and its mission had been: “we are entering a new era, but we are not forgetting our traditions”.
After accepting the design challenge, Al-Hammoud was initially nervous because she was not a furniture designer, but it turned out to be “a very nice experience”. And her training in contemporary Islamic art and calligraphy helped.
The round table is made of wood and in its center are triangles of different colors of wood that rotate outwards with lines of copper, a metal, she noted, little used in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Hammoud pointed out that she opted for triangles in her design because the shape was common in traditional Saudi architecture.
She said, “The triangle can also be modern and universal, but at the same time I wanted to capture growth and the act of evolving.”
The idea behind the design was to create something that represented “Saudi Arabia’s vision while staying true to our roots”, she added.
One of the challenges for Al-Hammoud was to create a round table that could accommodate different numbers of people.
“It can be odd or even, so the design had to be smart. It took me a while to figure out how to do this. With advice, I was able to get by.
“I’m really happy, because for a table like this, they could have easily gone to the best furniture designers in the world, but they chose to believe in local talent.”
Al-Hammoud has nine solo exhibitions to his name, with some of his works exhibited at the British Museum, Jeju National Museum in South Korea, Saudi Arabia’s Greenbox Museum of Contemporary Art in the Netherlands, and Los Angeles County. Museum of Art.
The United Arab Emirates-based Barjeel Art Foundation has described Al-Hammoud as a pioneer of the contemporary Saudi art movement.
She said, “I take art very seriously; I feel like it’s a very important tool for education. It’s a window to tell people who we are, it gives the true story of a certain civilization.
She fell in love with Islamic art while researching the subject and was fascinated by the philosophies and sciences behind each form.
“My art has always had spiritual elements; it doesn’t talk about the moments I live or the space I occupy. I’m talking about a higher dimension, spirituality, my place in the bigger scheme of things and my connection to God,” she added.