Some of the most prominent sculptures in Jeddah have been exposed to the natural elements, strong winds and the salt of the sea and had suffered extensive damage over the last few decades. Therefore, the decision was taken to not only restore them to their former glory but also to increase their prominence by creating an open-air museum, housing 20 of these sculptures in a seven square kilometre park along the Jeddah Corniche, known locally as ‘Al Hamraa’.
A lot of work besides restoring the sculptures went into creating what is today the Jeddah Sculpture Museum, the city’s new centre of creativity, it required an underground infrastructure, the construction of visitor facilities, as well as new bases for the sculptures.
A restoration project of this size needed meticulous planning and care. International experts were deployed, each acclaimed in their field. The larger sculptures were restored on-site, whilst the others were disassembled and transported by Mtec to a high-tech workshop purposely set up by Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) to restore them. Here, Plowden & Smith as experts in restoration, undertook the rare opportunity to restore many valuable artworks at the same time. Nest Studios in the meantime designed the bases with informative placards readable by mobile phone technology for the sculptures, and Luxpopoli designed the complex lighting. Less than two years later, in September 2013, the project was completed to community acclaim.