JEDDAH: Saudi design companies are increasingly creating products inspired by the Kingdom’s history, heritage and traditions.
One is Samuda, which aims to promote local art by designing unique gifts and souvenirs that feature largely unknown gems of the country.
The brand is named after a village in Al-Qassim province that has a spectacular landscape covered in lavender.
“It’s a remote area, but in spring it turns into a completely purple scene of lavender flowers,” a member of Samuda’s design team told Arab News. “This area is also famous for white camels, it is also a place where campers come to enjoy the view, which is captured in the first pieces of Samuda’s designs.”
The brand, established in 2020, has also incorporated other Saudi landscapes and heritage elements into its products, including the AlUla rock formations, Al-Qatt Al-Asiri Arabic art, historic Diriyah and the ancient architectural wonders of Rijal Alma.
The rose fields of Taif, the marine life and coral reefs of the Red Sea, the beauty of the Arabian leopard, Saudi coffee, and the ancient gates of the Hijaz are also used as inspiration.
Samuda’s products include ties, shorts, ponchos, hats, scarves, blankets, wooden boxes and trays, playing cards, and puzzles. Prices start at SR150 ($40) and the most expensive is SR25,000 ($6,649). Blankets made from 100 percent pure cashmere are among the highest-priced items.
All products are designed in Saudi Arabia and made in Europe.
Saudi jewelry brand Charmaleena has pieces that also reflect local culture, Islamic architecture, the emblem of Saudi Arabia and the two holy mosques.
The Jeddah-based brand was co-founded by two Saudi sisters, Leena and Hala El-Khereiji, designer and creative director, and CEO, respectively.
“All of our collections tell a story, and each piece within a collection continues to write and develop that story. Our pieces are handmade and designed with the intention of allowing a woman to show her individuality and self-empowerment. Our jewelry evokes a sense of distinction and beauty in a woman,” said Leena.
The company has launched more than 20 collections that include many multi-function pieces.
The Salam collection offers two of the brand’s most emblematic necklaces inspired by the holy mosques of Mecca and Medina.
The Mecca-inspired necklace features a small black cube representing the Kaaba in black onyx and 18k gold, and seven moving diamonds; and the second necklace features the green dome representing the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina in green aventurine, white onyx, 18k gold and diamonds.
In 2012, Charmaleena won the British Council’s Young Creative Entrepreneur in the Kingdom award.
In 2014, the brand was honored by Forbes Middle East for being one of the Top 100 Creative Entrepreneurs Shaping the Future of Saudi Arabia.
Another local brand, Desert Design, offers products and services with a Saudi twist.
Based in Alkhobar, it was founded by Qamar and Farid Bukhari in 1990 to promote the beauty of craftsmanship in Saudi Arabia through home interior pieces that are 90 percent handmade, including rugs, doors, sofas , engraved tables and cushions.
The owners stated: “The look of our own Saudi heritage built and redesigned in such a way that it enhances the furniture into an art object. The brand is a way to revive forgotten arts by encouraging artisans to continue producing said arts, so that people can appreciate the uniqueness of such furniture.”