Princess Nourah Al Faisal on meaningful encounters

Princess Nourah Al Faisal on meaningful encounters

For entrepreneur and designer Princess Nourah, travel is an opportunity to create connections, dig into new cultures and bring something important back home with you: ideas
09 August 23
Princess Nourah Al Faisal Image source: Image with thanks to Maha Al Sharief

In this piece, Princess Nourah Al Faisal shares some of the journeys that have had the biggest and most meaningful impact on her growth and life.

Whether its discovering Japan on a road trip or finding inspiration while at a textile exhibition in Hong Kong and witnessing all the buzz around Eindhoven’s repurposed buildings, it’s all about memorable learning experiences.

For the love of travel, art and colour

Most of my travels revolve around work, particularly for exhibitions. I frequently visit Europe, often exploring workshops and exhibitions in countries like France and Italy. Singapore has also been a destination for my work, showcasing my jewellery collection. However, when I choose to travel purely for personal reasons, I seek a memorable experience. I am drawn to unfamiliar destinations and new encounters. One journey stands out as particularly special – a road trip with my younger brother. It was our first time embarking on such an adventure together, and I was thrilled when he invited me. Although he is used to such trips, Japan was uncharted territory for both of us. While I am not particularly passionate about cars or driving, spending quality time with my brother was my priority. The trip lasted only a week, but it was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable journeys I have had in years.

Amplifying culture and heritage through travel

Regardless of where I find myself and what I am engaged in, I feel like an ordinary Saudi citizen who embraces the opportunity for cross-cultural dialogue. During our time in Japan, my brother and I immersed ourselves in a completely new environment, though we discovered certain cultural parallels that reminded us of home. Japan was a captivating novelty for me. Whenever I embark on such trips, I strive to absorb and learn as much as possible. I find solace in quietly marvelling at the beauty of the surroundings, especially admiring diverse architectural styles. Visiting galleries and similar venues often unveils similarities between cultures, affirming our shared human nature while offering valuable opportunities for mutual learning.

Connecting the dots worldwide

After Japan, we briefly visited Hong Kong, where we came across an astonishing hub known as The Mills. This converted building serves as a space for exhibitions, retail, and local design, with a strong focus on sustainability. It also houses a miniature museum, which featured a textile exhibition at the time. The exhibit brought my attention back to my work with Saudi textiles, their promotion, their artistic potential, and the way they can evolve. Witnessing the supportive and collaborative atmosphere within the community there led me to reflect on various projects emerging throughout Saudi, created by the design community for the design community. By providing the necessary space and opportunities, we allow creatives to shape their own future rather than attempting to fit them into pre-existing moulds. The concept of The Mills perfectly captures this essence – providing space and fostering connections and interactions.

Implementation of ideas in Saudi Arabia

While a certain idea has been on my mind for some time, finding successful examples of its execution is crucial. Therefore, during my travels, I seek out communities and micro ecosystems that exemplify this concept. It is fascinating to witness the transformation occurring in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, which is built around the historical infrastructure of Philips. Instead of demolishing the old buildings and replacing them with new structures, these buildings have been repurposed into schools, universities, and more, resulting in a thriving design ecosystem. The entire city buzzes with energy, seamlessly blending the past with the future. I have encountered similar dynamics in Hong Kong, Singapore, and other places – an inspiring fusion of past and future, along with a cross-pollination of diverse communities.

Favourite Tourist Destination in Saudi

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Al Balad. Despite the ongoing renovations and the work yet to be done, the potential of this historical district is immense. Having family ties to Jeddah, it has always held a special place in my heart. Witnessing the area’s vibrancy, with numerous businesses, residents, and the restoration of old houses into boutique hotels, fills me with excitement. As I stroll through its streets, I can envision the promising future that lies ahead.