Doha Landmarks in Miniature from Build Doha

Nimrah Kabiruddin combined her childhood love for LEGO® with a technique she picked up during her undergraduate years at VCUarts Qatar – laser cutting, to create her own venture under the name ‘Build Doha’.

Nimrah at Qatar Foundation’s gift shop with ‘Build Doha

VCUArts Qatar alumni Nimrah Kabiruddin’s laser-cut building models are not just fabricated architectural monuments but they are about recreating memories. They can also be seen as jigsaw puzzles of small pieces that combine to reiterate experiences.

“I love it when my creations remind people of their home in Qatar or also when kids imagine something completely different yet connect with their memories,” she says pointing to the elaborate architectural structure of Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor in miniature, “This is a symbol of fraternity between Kuwait and Qatar, and also a close favourite of mine due to the idea behind this structure. I also like it because children associate this structure with a boat, making this piece a valuable piece to cherish.”

The architectural structure of Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor

All this started when Nimrah was finishing an independent study in the Fall of 2018 at VCUarts Qatar as part of her course study. “I fell in love with laser cutting when I did an independent study where our team produced 3D printed and laser cut products. I took that newfound skill and expanded on it. The idea for my wooden puzzles was born as a response to creating a landmark of Qatar for the course. I wanted the wooden model to be not just a display piece but something that can be pulled apart and rebuilt, much like LEGO®,” she says.

Soon after graduation, Nimrah started designing and creating products that depict Qatar’s famous buildings and landmarks, all in laser-cut plywood. She began selling these at Qatar Foundation’s gift shop under the brand name ‘Build Doha’, where they proved to be a success.

The Arches of Bidda

Her first piece is the Arches of Bidda, “It is the most memorable monument from my childhood in Doha,” she says.

Today, she continues to expand. And she’s picked up a few awards on the way. A few years back, she won first prize in the Msheireb Museums Design Competition for her laser-cut model of the Msheireb mosque.

The memory building laser cuts.

She also participated in the QBIC Fablab’s Qatari Cultural Design Competition during the World Cup and was selected to the top 10 category. Her design was showcased at Scale 7 in Msheireb Downtown Doha for the duration of the World Cup tournament.

Laser-cut model of the Msheireb mosque for the Msheireb Museums Design Competition.

Recently, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) chose her laser-cut miniatures as graduation gifts for the University’s outgoing Class of 2023.

Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) used Build Doha’s laser-cut miniatures as graduation gifts.

Nimrah collaborates with Qatar Business Incubation Center to design and create her laser-cut landmark miniatures. The miniatures are produced in various sizes.

She explains, “I create different sizes as some corporate clients prefer specific dimensions that suit corporate gifts, while individuals generally prefer something smaller that they can showcase in a display cabinet in their homes, or even use as keychains. Either way, most customers see them as treasured souvenirs or keepsakes.”

Qatar Foundation Ceremonial Court in miniature.

Nimrah graduated from VCUarts Qatar with a BFA in Graphic Design, in 2019, and from HBKU with an MA in Comparative Religions.

The FIFA World Cup 2022 Stadiums are next on the agenda for this designer to recreate in miniature, especially the Al Bayt Stadium.

Images Courtesy VCUarts Qatar and Build Doha.