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Abdulrahman Gazzaz: “Art allows our society to evolve in a positive way”

Yalla!

Abdulrahman Gazzaz is a young architect living in Jeddah. Two years ago, he created Bricklab with his brother. Today, their work is visible all over the Gulf and in Barcelona.

After almost ten years spent abroad studying in England and in Canada, Abdulrahman Gazzaz returns to Jeddah to co-found Bricklab, an architecture and design firm, with his brother.

The duo’s firm has taken part in designing offices, a shop and a restaurant. Their work is being demanded all over the Gulf region. They were recently chosen by Barcelona Design to participate in a project that celebrates Arab creativity.

We caught up with Abdulrahman Gazzaz the Lyon Biennale, where he was part of the delegation of Saudi artists, to ask him a few questions.

How would you describe the artistic scene in Jeddah?

Abdulrahman Gazzaz: I would say it is very progressive, it has been evolving a lot for the past 10 years. It’s becoming more and more interesting, more people are appreciating the role of art within our culture. So I think it is elevating the society into something much better.

What makes Jeddah the Saudi capital for the Arts?

Abdulrahman Gazzaz: I think Jeddah has a very diverse culture. There are always people coming in from different countries, of course because we have Mecca or Medina. So you get a lot of pilgrims and those people get to remain in the city, so it’s all these ideologies from different parts of the world mash up into one and that’s where creativity really becomes stimulated i think, in a very different way than it is in Riyadh.

If you had to pick an artist that inspire your work?

Abdulrahman Gazzaz: There are many! But I think, the architect, or artist that most inspired me would be Étienne-Louis Boullée, he’s a visionaire architect, around 17-18th century. He would always propose things that were beyond the reach of technology at the time. So i think that was very interesting, to create a sort of utopia within the world of architecture and art as well.

What are the opportunities today for a young artist in Jeddah?

Abdulrahman Gazzaz: I think there are a lot of opportunities really, because it’s very progressive now and people are thriving for different things to happen. I think performance, that was something that wasn’t really present, is becoming more and more present, digital art, conceptual art, all of these things, people are hungry for it, it’s interesting.

How do you think Jeddah will change in the next 10 years?

Abdulrahman Gazzaz: I think there’s going to be a lot of changes. With the Entertainment Authority there are introducing a lot of different artists into the city, they are exposing a lot of local artists outside of the city as well. There is also a burst of art schools as well, in different forms of education, so I think it is really going to evolve into something better.