Michael Mogensen

NIUN is immersive design questioning how creativity, innovation and technology are used as part of the official narrative of the near future as Saudi Arabia seeks to transition from an oil to a service economy.

"NIUN is space age, future but past, neo-dystopian, broken-sacred geometry, with a psychonaut aesthetic." - Mitch Sinclair, Design Director IDEO & Creative Director Palmwood Foundation.

The Challenge

How is the near future discussed in Saudi Arabia (and the Gulf), and how are creativity, innovation and technology used as part of an official narrative? What (and just as importantly, who) is missing from that version of the country's future? What could be more relevant to the Gulf, rather than a version of Silicon Valley?

NIUN was funded by Saudi Aramco’s culture and innovation hub, Ithra. The work references Neom, a 26,000 sq. km. mega city slated to be built in the desert with the aim of bringing together the world’s innovators, where life will largely be automated, and connected through the Internet of Things.

Role and Methods

Designer and concept. Production and direction, research, project management, and presentation.

Research, producing and launching images and short clips on social media; engaging with and interviewing social media users and others (often anonymously); creating prototypes such as a homestead in the desert; film; an immersive exhibition; and series of talks to present the work and discuss what creativity, innovation and technology mean in a Gulf context.


Established an ongoing collaboration with Gulf-based designers, artists and technologists around the role of creativity, innovation and technology in the context of the region. Work showcased in the Middle East, Europe, the US and South Korea.


Ahaad Alamoudi

"To be in NIUN is to enter into a whole new headspace. It is storytelling and time travel into the future and the past as a way to explore what's happening here, right now." - Muhannad Shono, architect, designer, artist

NIUN in the Journal of Futures Studies.