By HermoineFeatured

Design Doha unveils stunning works by Arab creatives from across the region

By Hermoine Macura-Noble
Special to The Times Kuwait

Design Doha, a biennial showcase for excellence and innovation in the design community in Qatar and the MENA region, opened its doors to the public this week.

Attracting more than 100 designers from the Arab world, the inaugural event hosted in Qatar’s Doha Design District, features regional Arab designers, new commissions, juried awards, panel discussions, coaching programs and various other special events.

Established under the leadership of Qatar Museums’ Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Design Doha will be a new platform for practitioners from across the Arab world, helping to build professional pathways and engage with the acclaimed design professionals from around the world who will convene at the event.

“As a global hub for culture, Qatar Museums not only builds museums and galleries and presents great collections and exhibitions but also develops the nation’s creative industries and helps emerging talents to be successful in their careers…The inauguration of Design Doha is a testament to the excellence and innovation of our region’s design community. With so much talent in the region, our aim is to provide a platform to support Arab designers in advancing their creative practices and businesses and to share their talent with the world,” explains Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

The inaugural Design Doha will take place from February 24th-28th and will feature events held within Msheireb, led by Artistic Director, Glenn Adamson. Design Doha will offer exhibitions of work from a wide variety of design practices, ranging from architecture, urbanism, and landscape design to textiles, wood, glass, ceramics, and graphic design.

A site-specific commission by South Korea-based designer Choi Byung Hoon will go on permanent view at the National Museum of Qatar, and a commission by Dutch designer Joris Laarman entitled The Doha Dragon will be installed in the Doha Design District.

Juried prizes will provide monetary awards, mentorship opportunities with international design experts, and market exposure. Design Doha will also feature a series of conversations with global design and creative industry leaders.

The exhibition program will be anchored by Arab Design Now, a regional survey of more than 70 Arab designers, which will be on view from 24 February to 5 August 2024 at M7, Doha’s Center for Innovation, entrepreneurship, fashion, and design. Curated by Rana Beiruti, Founder of Amman Design Week, Arab Design Now examines how local and regional designers balance contemporary design with traditional methods derived from the region’s heritage, with a particular focus on environmental and sustainable design.

Other exhibitions worth visiting include “Colors of the City: A Century of Architecture in Doha” and “Weaving Poems” in collaboration with Turquoise Mountain.

Turquoise Mountain, a non-profit organization founded by His Majesty King Charles III, presents the captivating “Weaving Poems”, a showcase of the talent of Afghan-born, Amman-based artist and designer Maryam Omar, who has been commissioned to create a series of abstract carpets inspired by the rich oral heritage of women weavers in Afghanistan.

Presented at the M7 theatre space, each carpet bears a testament to Afghanistan’s creativity and cultural heritage. Omar has drawn deeply from the poems associated with weaving practice, recited and cherished by the women weavers. The installation is completed with passages transcribed from communal poems and by photography and sound recordings that capture the artistry of these extraordinary women.

“In the next ten years, I would like to see the biennial’s impact on the city. It’s about the representation of Arab design Architecture and products that represent our culture and identity. We wanted to bring them together to not only celebrate but also give them the weight and respect they deserve,” concludes Fahad Al Obaidly, Deputy Director of Programs and Partnerships for Design Doha.

Design Doha aims to be a unique platform for local, regional, and global design excellence with projects developed in close collaboration with local institutions such as M7, Liwan, VCU Qatar, and Msheireb Properties, as well as international partners, establishing a solid support base and fostering a sense of community ownership.

Shaikha Al Sulaiti, Senior Manager of Interior Design msheireb Properties, shared her excitement about fostering a new generation of creatives in Design Doha. “In terms of interior design, we have names such as Casina, Minotti, B&B Italia, and many more brands located in Msheireb’s downtown design district. We considered them our partners, and we hope they can use their heritage and design philosophy and use this platform to influence local artists in furniture and product design as well as architecture.”

By Hermoine Macura-Noble The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.By Hermoine Macura-Noble
The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.

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