Piaget is proud to announce, in collaboration with the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), HEAD – Genève (Geneva University of Art and Design) and Turquoise Mountain, the completion of the 2021 Piaget Design Competition in AlUla, the globally significant boutique heritage and culture destination in north-west Saudi Arabia.
The Piaget Design Competition is and initiative created to support and invest in the artisanal talent of Saudi Arabia’s next generation of creatives. For the past nine years, Piaget has worked with HEAD – Genève on initiatives recognizing and fostering the creativity of students from around the world. In 2021, the Piaget Design Competition comes to Madrasat Addeera in AlUla with the objective of reviving design principles rooted in heritage through mentoring and fostering of local talent. The Piaget Design Competition is the most recent initiative in an already strong and lasting partnership between RCU and Piaget, which showcases the craftsmanship and value of ambitious design that is true to Piaget, in a destination that has inspired and been home to artists for millennia.
Twelve students from Madrasat Addeera in AlUla were called upon to take part in the Piaget Design Competition, with the challenge of designing an inspirational piece of luxury inspired by AlUla’s rich history and natural beauty. A region of Saudi Arabia renowned for its breathtaking and spectacular landscape, AlUla and its iconic landmarks provided the inspiration for each student’s design, while taking cues from the DNA of Piaget, a Maison renowned for jewellery imbued with emotion and refined savoir-faire.
Each student involved in the program received ongoing mentoring from professors from HEAD – Genève, as well as being paired with students from HEAD – Genève, who provided additional mentoring throughout the design process to help take their skills and designs to the next level. In mid-May, at the completion of the design and mentoring process, each of the twelve students presented their work to a panel of judges comprising of representatives from the four organisations involved.
Following the assessment process, the esteemed judging panel determined the top three submissions, with Aysha Musa Al Shalali awarded first place, Ashwaq Saud awarded second place, and Raghad Ayman Arafah awarded third place.
The winning entries were chosen for their poetic sense of design, for demonstrating the skills learned throughout the mentoring process, and for the quality in which their creations reflected the natural beauty and landscape of Al Ula. Al Shalali received particular praise from the judges in relation to her sense of storytelling through design, and the way in which she formed a representation of her family and culture through her work. In second place, Ahwaq Saud received acknowledgement for the graphic, contemporary interpretation of iconic date palms. Lastly, Raghad Ayman Arafah, in third place, was praised in particular for the technical skill displayed through the submission, with contrasting textures between the set stones and surrounding metal. In recognition of their outstanding work, each of the three winners received special awards from Piaget.
As a brand with a strong and consistent sense of corporate social responsibility, Piaget is proud to have played a role in bringing this global design competition to Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with RCU. The competition is intended to have a dual purpose, not only enriching the educational experience of the twelve students involved, but also supporting the visibility and protection of regional craftsmanship. Through world-class mentoring and the lending of Piaget and HEAD – Genève’s experience as leaders in their respective fields, the Piaget Design Competition creates a platform to celebrate the beauty, and further cultivate the creative spirit of AlUla and Saudi Arabia.
Nora A Aldabal, Arts and Culture Programming Director at RCU said, “The initiative aligns perfectly with the Saudi Vision 2030 and RCU’s recently launched Journey Through Time Masterplan. We intend to create a community of engaged, skilled, inspired locals who will be part of the authentic AlUla story. When the redevelopment of the old girl’s school, Madrasat Addeera, is complete it will be part of an exciting creative arts and culture hub. The Piaget competition has been a phenomenal opportunity for the local students to access the creative talent of a world-leading luxury jeweler”.
Located 1,100 km from Riyadh, in North-West Saudi Arabia, AlUla is a place of extraordinary natural and human heritage. The vast area, covering 22,561km², includes a lush oasis valley, towering sandstone mountains and ancient cultural heritage sites dating back thousands of years to when the Lihyan and Nabataean kingdoms reigned. The most well-known and recognised site in AlUla is Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 52-hectare ancient city, Hegra was the principal southern city of the Nabataean Kingdom and is comprised of more than 100 well preserved tombs with elaborate facades cut out of the sandstone outcrops surrounding the walled urban settlement. Current research also suggests Hegra was the most southern outpost of the Roman Empire after conquering the Nabataeans in 106 CE.
In addition to Hegra, AlUla is home to a fascinating historical and archaeological sites such as: Ancient Dadan, the capital of the Dadan and Lihyan Kingdoms, which is considered one of the most developed 1st-millennium BCE cities of the Arabian Peninsula; thousands of ancient rock art sites and inscriptions at Jabal Ikmah; Old Town, a labyrinth of more than 900 mudbrick homes developed from at least the 12 th century, and Hijaz Railway and Hegra Fort, key sites in the story and conquests of Lawrence of Arabia.
About The Royal Commission for AlUla
The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by royal decree in July 2017 to protect and safeguard AlUla, a region of outstanding natural and cultural significance in North-West Saudi Arabia. RCU is embarking on a long-term plan to develop and deliver a sensitive, sustainable transformation of the region, reaffirming it as one of the country's most important archaeological and cultural destinations and preparing it to welcome visitors from around the world. RCU’s development work in AlUla encompasses a broad range of initiatives across archaeology, tourism, culture, education and the arts, reflecting the ambitious commitment to cultivate tourism and leisure in Saudi Arabia, outlined in Vision 2030.
Piaget epitomizes daring creativity – a quality that has continued to permeate through the Maison since its beginnings in 1874. From his first workshop in La Côte-aux-Fées, Georges-Edouard Piaget devoted himself to crafting high-precision movements in a feat that formed the very foundations of our pioneering name. In the late 1950s, Piaget unveiled the ultra-thin movements that would later become the Maison’s trademark and the cornerstone of the Altiplano collection. As a true innovator of the watch and jewellery world, Piaget strongly believed in creativity and artistic values. It is within the walls of our “Ateliers de l’Extraordinaire” where master artisans continue to harness rare skills that have been preserved and perfected from generation to generation, transforming gold, stones and precious gems into dazzling works of art. Through its pursuit of masterful craftsmanship, the Maison has created emblems of daring excellence channelled into its collections including Piaget Altiplano, Piaget Polo, Limelight Gala, Possession, Sunlight, Piaget Rose and Extremely Piaget.