News story

Innovative sculpture flies into Saudi Arabia

With help from UKTI, 2 Farnham based artists are shipping four 12m high sculptures to Saudi Arabia to feature in the country’s busiest airport.

King Abdulaziz airport

King Abdulaziz airport

Designed by artists Neil Musson and Jono Retallick, ‘Dawn’ will be the focal point for over 30 million passengers a year who will pass through the newly expanded King Abdulaziz airport when it opens in 2015.

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) have actively supported the artists, helping them with critical issues around the logistics, documentation and finance for the project.

The Saudi Arabia commission

The 4.5m diameter sculptures use LED light effects inspired by the movement of clouds. It is made of 16,000 LED lights, 3840m of beautiful transparent suspension cable, 320 internally lit acrylic blades and the latest software creating subtle movements of colour.

The contract for the airport was clinched after they displayed a piece at the 100% Design show in London – a key annual event in the design and art world. They undertook a commission in six weeks and the results were seen by Areen Design who asked if they could propose concepts for the new King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In competition with artists from across the world, the British duo’s design was chosen by the leaders of the country, including the King of Saudi.

The duo are currently organising shipping of the sculpture, with help from UKTI, which will be suspended from the airport’s roof when it’s complete.

Neil said:

We were absolutely delighted to secure this commission. The completion of the project marks the start of a new direction for our company, musson+retallick.

We have created something dramatic and beautiful and look forward to installing this in such a contemporary space.

Jono added:

‘Dawn’ is a monumental sculpture which references the positive elements of travel; the freedom of flight and the opportunities this offers. The sculpture also brings the latest lighting technology into the heart of a major new airport to enhance the traveler experience and signify its importance as a destination.

It will create a positive experience for travelers and ensure our artwork is seen by millions of people each year.

Export to Mexico

The company are now following up leads in Mexico after experiencing significant interest following a visit with UKTI to GREAT week Mexico in October during Mexico Design Week, and have signed up to UKTI’s renowned Passport to Export Programme.

Find out more about UKTI’s Passport to Export Programme.

Gill Carr, International Trade Adviser for UKTI said:

The hugely impressive works that musson+retallick create were always destined for huge success, so I’m delighted that UKTI were able to offer support. We are now working with them to help them develop an international strategy to expand into other appropriate overseas markets. British creativity and innovation are one of the strongest exports we have and it’s important that UKTI continue to support this industry to ensure it gets the profile it needs overseas.


The two friends, who met at Farnham art college 20 years ago. They recently joined together to form their company musson+retallick, to collaborate on sculptural installations. Since then they have worked on acclaimed projects ranging from styling exhibition entrances for ‘100% Design’, to exterior installations for the 2012 Olympics.

If you are interested in exporting, arrange a face to face meeting with an International Trade Adviser.

Published 18 December 2014