GSA Pavilion at Saudi Design Week

Project Management & Curation & Art Direction & Marketing

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority (GSA) has a mandate to increase the number of people undertaking physical activity. In 2017 Saudi Design Week’s theme was Design in Motion. Identifying the opportunity for alignment, GSA secured the largest pavilion and appointed ABCD to execute the project. ABCD spent a year travelling the world and forming relationships with sports brands and entrepreneurs. The journey began in Japan as a follow up to a Memorandum of Understanding that had been signed by the Japanese and Saudi governments, and resulted in the Tokyo City Government contributing part of an exhibition connected to Olympics Tokyo 2020. Nike, Asics and Ottobock also exhibited collections and achievements, with Nike launching their hijab design at the stand. GSA had briefed ABCD to ‘inspire a nation to be more active’, and the pavilion took visitors on a journey setting out the current Saudi statistics on fitness and activity, as well as the evolution and achievements of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic teams, before sharing the inspirational stories of international brands. The exhibition was curated to show that working in the sports economy doesn’t mean only aspiring to be an athlete or trainer; jobs such as a fashion designer of athletic-wear, a physiotherapist helping rehabilitate people who have suffered limb loss or an engineer developing reflective materials, would also be ways of contributing to sports. Taking this position, the exhibition showcased the inspiring possibilities of a 360-degree sports economy, one of the central aims towards a ‘thriving nation’ as set out by Vision 2030. Over five days, the pavilion received some 20,000 visitors.