Sa’af by Azaz Architects

Edited By Sarah Hejazin

As part of Dubai Design Week’s fifth edition, designers were challenged to recreate the local classrooms of their cultures through one common theme: “ways of learning”. Supported by Ithra, Shahad Alazaz, founder of Azaz Architects presents this year’s Saudi Arabia Pavilion ‘Sa’af’.

In collaboration with local craftspeople, ‘Sa’af’ is a research-led project that works to safeguard palm fronds weaving, a craft native to the Eastern Provinces of Saudi Arabia. Each textile is an interpretation of a process and story. Interlocking them is the symbolic representation of the community.

Saudi families have relied heavily on palm trees. They are evergreen and their leaves can be harvested all year round, making them a reliable material. They used stems for roofs and supporting structures for houses and leaves for walls and inner roofing.

‘Sa’af’ is a giant suspended surface composed of different woven styles mixing color, scale and texture. Designed to maximize interaction with both the inner and outer skins of the textiles, the mesh melts to the ground inviting people to climb up the surface where activity and the movement of people can be seen.

The cocoon invites people to become very close with the textures to inspect them. Depending on where one stands the surfaces are brought to life, and the scale of the weaves evokes a dynamic game of light and shadow. The project explores the potential of a classic craft in transmitting a unique spatial experience.

About Azaz Architects

Shahad Alazzaz is the founder of Azaz Architects. The boutique firm provides architectural services for interior and exterior projects being entirely client-centric aiming at excellence in quality of design. This proven approach has created a broad and rich portfolio for Azaz Architects, despite its two-year history. Since establishing, the firm has been recognised by the International Property Awards in two categories: Architecture Single Residence and Mixed-Use Architecture. Additionally, the firm was recently awarded the title of 2019 Best Boutique Design Firm in Saudi Arabia by Lux Life Magazine. Shahad is also the representative of Riyadh to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). 

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