Noor Riyadh 2023: DIALOGUE

TPi’s Stew Hume reports on an awe-inspiring visual feast of lighting and lasers – made all the more impressive by a spectacular drone and fireworks show to celebrate the announcement of Expo 2030 Riyadh.

Back for its third year, Noor Riyadh Light Art Festival in its short lifetime has quickly become the world’s largest light festival. Throughout December, the entire city is transformed into a giant canvas for some of the world’s leading lighting designers. This year, the event coincided with the announcement that Riyadh would also be hosting Expo 2030. With even more reason to celebrate, the Royal Commission for Riyadh City was keen to up the ante.

One of this year’s most eye-catching installations was named DIALOGUE, which saw two of the dominating icons of the Riyadh skyline – Al Faisaliah Tower and Kingdom Centre – lit with almost 500 fixtures, with the buildings ‘communicating’ with one another through lighting beams shot between the skyscrapers. During these demonstrations, which took place for two weeks in December, those in Riyadh were also able to listen to a unique piece of music that had been composed by Chris Kuijten for the project, which synced up to the giant lighting show and was playable through viewers’ phones.

 The artist behind the show was Christopher Bauder. No stranger to Noor Riyadh, Bauder had worked on the previous two editions. “The overall concept of the show centred around the idea of communication and dialogue between the two towers as if it were two people, two nations, or two cultures,” stated Bauder. “It’s something that we’re lacking these days and I wanted to symbolise that with this installation.”  

Photos: Ralph Larmann, Groupe F