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Desert X AlUla 2022

Royal Commission for AlUla
A site-responsive art exhibition celebrates the natural world and showcases artists from around the world.
Almutadil Canyon before development
AlUla, Saudi Arabia
.5 square km (123 acres)

Desert X is an international contemporary art exhibition, produced by The Desert Biennial, California. Presenting public exhibitions that respond to natural desert settings, Desert X AlUla held its first exhibition in 2020, reflecting an ancient desert region located in the Arabian Peninsula and became an internationally renowned contemporary art exhibition that celebrated the local landscape of AlUla.

Ayers Saint Gross contributed to the programming, siting, and visitor experience efforts for the 2022 Desert X AlUla exhibition, which featured newly commissioned works by 15 artists from all over the world. The featured pieces followed a theme of Sarab to explore ideas of mirage and oasis, while reflecting and contrasting the exhibit’s natural surroundings. The sculpture festival features international, regional and local artists’ interpretations of the desert environment.

When first engaged, the Ayers Saint Gross team explored the raw site. A deep canyon with various landscapes and archaeological features. With the goal of preserving the archaeological sites and minimizing disturbance to the landscape, recommendations were made around visitor arrival sequences and movement, visitor center location, and art installation locations within the landscape.

Looking North from the recommended Desert X visitor center location The view looking north from the Desert X visitor center

The diverse artworks are presented over a large area, encouraging visitors to explore. The visitor center location was chosen to emphasize views out to the landscape and art found within it as well as reference back to the visitor center when out in the landscape, used for both way-finding and visitor comfort.

Ayers Saint Gross team completing a site assessment before making site planning recommendations A shot of large-scale land art on display at Desert X 2022
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Wadi AlFann

Royal Commission for AlUla
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