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Doha to Have its Own Design Biennial

Qatar Museums announces Design Doha, a biennial celebrating Arab creatives across disciplines.

Qatar Museums announced on December 4, 2023,  the inauguration in 2024 of Design Doha, a biennial showcase for excellence and innovation in the design community in Qatar and the MENA region.

An exhibition of 100 Arabic posters will be shown at Design Doha.

Qatar Museums announced that more than 100 Designers from the MENA region will participate in inaugural “Design Doha” to be held from February 24 -28, 2024.

The first design Biennial will be held in Doha Design District, Msheireb Downtown.

The first edition of the Biennial, to be hosted in Qatar’s Doha Design District in Msheireb Downtown to consist of regional survey of Arab designers, new commissions, juried awards, panel conversations with global industry leaders, collaborations with regional design studios, coaching programmes on the business of design, and special events. Msheireb Downtown is a creative neighbourhood that nurtures collaboration, creativity, and innovation and is serving as host for the event. The Doha Design District is the heart of Msheireb, one of the smartest and most sustainable cities in the world, which was meticulously designed to be in harmony with local traditions and modern standards

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.

 

Led by Artistic Director Glenn Adamson, the inaugural Design Doha will take place from 24-28 February 2024.

Doha Design District’s Interior Design Senior Manager Shaikha Al Sulaiti said, “As a dynamic and innovative community, where creative talent can meet and be mutually inspired, the Doha Design District has quickly become a key piece of Doha’s cultural fabric, helping position the city as the regional design hub. We can’t wait to welcome the world’s design community next year and witness the exchange of ideas and collaborations that are sure to abound.”

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. Among these are over 20 activations curated by partner design studios based in the region.

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 illuminating conversations with global leaders of design and the creative industries, according to Qatar Museums.

Arab Design

Rana Beiruti, founder of Amman Design Week will curate Arab Design Now which will be held during the Biennale.

The exhibition programme 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 centre 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 which will be unveiled at M7 during the biennial are Colours of the City: A Century of Architecture in Doha, Weaving Songs in collaboration with Turquoise Mountain, and 100/100 HUNDRED BEST ARABIC POSTERS.

Glenn Adamson said, “For Design Doha, we have adopted a museum-based curatorial model, dedicated to showcasing designers from across the Arab world. The energy in the region is extraordinary, and Doha has rapidly become a global design destination. The biennial will take its place alongside museums, stadiums, studios and infrastructure, creating a platform for the creative industries into the future.”

Fahad Al Obaidly, Deputy Director of Programming and Partnerships of Design Doha.

Fahad Al Obaidly, Deputy Director of Programming and Partnerships of Design Doha, said: “The modern development of Qatar’s design community started 25 years ago with the opening of VCU Qatar, the oldest art and design school in the region. That tradition continues today through the openings of M7 and Liwan and the development of the future Qatar Preparatory School, devoted to the creative industries. This commitment to excellence in design was internationally recognised in 2021, when Doha joined UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network as a Creative City of Design – and we are hoping to reinforce this journey with the Design Doha inaugurating next year”.

Diverse Cultural Activities

Qatar Museums’ M7, Liwan Design Studios and Labs and Doha Design District located in Msheireb will serve as hubs for Design Doha throughout the five-day biennial, which will take place as part of the winter gathering of Qatar Creates, the national cultural movement that curates, promotes, and celebrates the diversity of cultural activities in Qatar and connects residents and global audiences with Qatar’s creative industries, announced Qatar Museums.

The Design Doha Forum, the headline programming event for the biennial, is curated by Dr. Jelena Trkulja, the Senior Advisor for Academic and Cultural Affairs at Qatar Museums. Its primary objective is to position Doha’s design sector within a global context, with a particular emphasis on the design of inclusive and equitable cities. The Forum will bring together Qatar-based and international design experts, who will explore how design can contribute to creating urban spaces that are inclusive and equitable for all. Through engaging discussions and diverse perspectives, the Design Doha Forum offers a unique opportunity to connect with designers, professionals, and other experts while gaining insights into the evolving world of design.

Running throughout Design Doha will be The Designers Breakfast Club in partnership with FROMM, a design platform based between Qatar and Italy. The programme aims to empower emerging designers in Qatar through targeted coaching that aims to enhance creative processes, promote personal and professional development, and equip designers with valuable skills for success in interior, furniture, and accessories design.

Commenting on the partnership, Founder and CEO Alia Rachid said: “Qatar Museums’ initiative with Design Doha marks a significant milestone, and FROMM. is honoured to contribute to this event, particularly through ‘The Breakfast Club’ coaching series. At FROMM., we are dedicated to cultivating our talent, offering comprehensive mentorship, guidance, and business insights — all crucial for bringing their designs to the global stage.”