The Future Bedouin Who Infuses Art in the Gulf Landscape

The designer shares the story behind her fabrication studio, and the aspirations for its future.

By Sekka

From the Harmony Heights series. Concept visualisation courtesy of Future Bedouin.

Suppose you have been an active follower of the arts and culture scene of the Arab world. In that case, you will probably have crossed the innovative, digital conceptual visualisations of Dubai and Riyadh-based multi-disciplinary designer Aleksandra Olszewsk?.

The designer’s work showcases how art can be incorporated in the rich landscape of the Gulf region while preserving its heritage and integrity. From Saudi Splash City, a concept which features a colourful bouncing castle and water slide as she envisioned for NEOM in Saudi Arabia, to the Mystic Fungi, luminous mushroom-like installations envisioned for Al Ula desert in Saudi Arabia, the designer’s conceptual digital work is the testimony of how art could be infused in the rich landscape of the Gulf’s region while maintaining the integrity of the heritage and landscape.

The Mystic Fungi series. Concept visualisation courtesy of Future Bedouin.

We had the opportunity to discuss with the designer the inspiration behind Future Bedouin, her fabrication studio, and the aspirations for its future.

What inspired you to start Future Bedouin?

AO: The birth of Future Bedouin, a design and fabrication studio that seamlessly merges the essence of ancient Arabic heritage and culture with a modern and futuristic twist, was inspired by a deep passion for preserving traditions while embracing innovation.

First and foremost, the rich palette of Arab heritage served as a wellspring of inspiration. The profound respect for the wisdom and craftsmanship of past generations, whose skills have been passed down through centuries, ignited a desire to honour their legacy. Through Future Bedouin, I aim to celebrate the intricate artistry, symbolism, and cultural narratives embedded within traditional Arab design.

Yet, as I delved deeper into my creative journey, I realised the power and potential of infusing a fresh, contemporary perspective into these timeless elements. My imagination was sparked by the visions of a futuristic world where technology and innovation shape our lives. I envisioned a seamless fusion of old and new, where the cherished aesthetics of the past intertwine harmoniously with cutting-edge design, materials, and concepts.

This idea of bridging the gap between tradition and the future became the driving force behind Future Bedouin. The studio is dedicated to crafting designs that evoke a sense of familiarity and cultural roots while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of imagination. It strives to create products, spaces, and experiences that reflect the duality of heritage and progress, sparking conversations and challenging preconceived notions.

Future Bedouin seeks to empower the Arab design scene by showcasing its beauty and potential on a global scale. It aims to redefine traditional narratives, breathe new life into ancient forms, patterns, and materials by infusing them with contemporary sensibilities. By doing so, the studio aims to inspire a fresh appreciation for Arab heritage while igniting curiosity for the future.

Through meticulous craftsmanship, innovative techniques, and an unwavering dedication to quality, Future Bedouin aspires to become a symbol of pride for Arab design. It seeks to create a legacy that future generations can look to for inspiration, a testament to the timeless connection between the past and the possibilities of what lies ahead.

In essence, the birth of Future Bedouin is a testament to the belief that heritage and innovation are not mutually exclusive but can coexist in perfect harmony. It is a testament to the limitless potential of Arab design, where the rich tapestry of tradition intertwines with the dynamic spirit of the future, creating a narrative that is uniquely our own.

Al Ula area in Saudi Arabia is a recurrent destination in your conceptual visualisation for this area. What is the inspiration behind the Pink Inflatable Balloon Majlis Pavilion?

AO: In the boundless landscapes of Al Ula, I find my inspiration taking flight. Amidst this timeless canvas of natural beauty, I envision a visionary creation that harmoniously blends tradition and innovation—the Pink Inflatable Balloon Majlis Pavilion.

Drawing from the vibrant tapestry of Al Ula’s cultural heritage, the pavilion emerges like a delicate rose, its pink hues mirroring the hues of the desert sunset. It is a sanctuary of serenity and celebration where ancient traditions find expression in a contemporary form.

The Pink Inflatable Balloon Majlis Pavilion. Concept visualisations courtesy of Future Bedouin.

As I design and craft this inflatable masterpiece, I am guided by a deep reverence for the surroundings. The soft curves and delicate lines pay homage to the undulating dunes, mirroring their grace and fluidity. The pavilion, like a soaring balloon, symbolises the limitless potential of human imagination and the boundless spirit of Al Ula.

Inside, a warm and inviting space awaits. Soft cushions and flowing fabrics create an ambience of comfort and relaxation, inviting visitors to unwind and connect. The pink hues, imbued with joy and playfulness, evoke a spirit of celebration and togetherness.

The majlis, a symbol of Arabian hospitality, forms the heart of the pavilion. It becomes a space where stories are shared, ideas are born, and connections are forged. As the gentle breeze passes, it carries with it the whispers of Al Ula’s rich history, infusing the atmosphere with reverence and inspiration.

This pavilion is not merely an architectural marvel but an immersive experience. As visitors step inside, they are transported to a world of wonder and possibility. The play of light and shadow, the gentle sway of the structure, and the embrace of the natural surroundings create a multisensory journey that leaves an indelible mark on the soul.

In designing this pink inflatable balloon majlis pavilion, I seek to honour the spirit of Al Ula—a place where past and present converge, were nature and human creativity dance in perfect harmony. I hope this creation will inspire a sense of awe, ignite the imagination, and foster connections that transcend boundaries, reminding us of the infinite beauty that lies within and around us.

Have any of your digital conceptual visualisations been realised on the ground?

AO: You can find my works in many private collections in the UAE, KSA, Qatar and recently in the UK, USA and Australia. There is also a permanent public art installation in Dubai, UAE.

What do you aspire for Future Bedouin to be?

AO: Looking into the future, I envision Future Bedouin as a visionary design and fabrication studio that has become a global beacon of innovation, creativity, and cultural fusion. Our work will transcend boundaries, captivating audiences worldwide with our unique blend of old Arabic heritage and culture infused with a modern, fresh, futuristic twist.

As we grow, Future Bedouin will collaborate with renowned architects, designers, and artists, embarking on ambitious projects that redefine the boundaries of creativity. We will curate immersive exhibitions and installations that transport visitors to new realms, inviting them to explore the intricate layers of Arab heritage and its symbiotic relationship with the future.

From the Rosa Rocks series inspired by Al Ula’s landscape. Concept visualisations courtesy of Future Bedouin.

Our studio will be a hub of experimentation and exploration, pushing the boundaries of design by utilising cutting-edge technologies, sustainable materials, and ground breaking fabrication techniques. We will pioneer new methods of translating traditional craftsmanship into contemporary contexts, creating visually stunning and conceptually profound products.

The future Bedouin’s impact will extend beyond physical spaces and products. We will forge partnerships with educational institutions, fostering a new generation of designers who embody our ethos of blending tradition and modernity. Through workshops, mentorship programs, and collaborative initiatives, we will empower emerging talents to carry forward the legacy of Arab design and contribute to its evolution.

Future Bedouin will actively engage with local communities as a socially conscious studio, promoting cultural exchange and celebrating diversity. We will work closely with artisans, supporting their craft and providing them with new platforms to showcase their skills. By bridging the gap between heritage and the future, we will ensure the preservation and revitalisation of traditional art forms for generations.

Our designs will grace prestigious exhibitions, museums, and public spaces, garnering international recognition for their ingenuity and cultural significance. Future Bedouin creations will become coveted symbols of contemporary Arab identity, revered for their ability to evoke a sense of pride, heritage, and forward-thinking.

Ultimately, Future Bedouins will be a driving force in shaping the global design landscape, inspiring dialogue, challenging perceptions, and transforming how we perceive the intersection of tradition and the future. Our creations will nurture a deeper appreciation and understanding of Arab heritage, contributing to a more inclusive and diverse world.

Future Bedouin will be a trailblazer, showcasing the power of design to bridge the gaps between cultures, generations, and ideologies. With each project, we will weave a tapestry that connects our shared humanity, transcending borders and leaving an indelible mark on the world of design.

Are there any exciting projects in the pipeline?

AO: Multiple projects are being designed, fabricated, and implemented currently and in the near future. Due to the sensitive nature of the projects and the fact that my clients want to create a wow factor, I won’t be able to share much of the details, but I can tell you that we currently work with some of the most recognisable luxury lifestyle and fashion magazines, clothing and jewellery brands as well as some government entities from the region. So, you better stay tuned!

Find out more information about Future Bedouin here.

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