An Oasis of Care

Maryam AlMohannadi, an Interior Design MFA graduate from VCUarts Qatar imagines an oasis of healing and psychotherapy in Qatar.

Despite most of the academic year being held online since May 2021, VCUarts Qatar ensured that students had access to resources that would allow them to incorporate techniques such as product, print, and website design, typography, home fashion merchandising, building code requirements, interior graphics, printmaking, digital painting, and photographic stencil techniques, in their final projects.

“Our first BFA + MFA online show last year resulted in even greater reach, allowing industry and media professionals to view and appreciate the talent and creativity at VCUarts Qatar,” said Amir Berbić, Dean of VCUarts Qatar.  “This year, we’re continuing in the same vein, and we’re thrilled to present the work of our graduating Class of 2021 to you. The projects on display show how this graduating group – despite the circumstance they were in – have ventured off the beaten track to explore areas as diverse as issues that affect humanity across the globe, to those that offer a quirky, lighter twist on the ordinary and every day.”

SCALE puts the focus on one such student who has taken inspiration from an oasis and recreates the same through her design detailing for those who need to be surrounded by calm and nature to heal. Maryam Al Mohannadi finds beauty within nature during the lockdown and this has inspired her to recreate the outdoors within the facilities. “If I were to do the project before the lockdown, I wouldn’t have thought to do that. As HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser said, “Always remember, crises will ultimately fade away. But you, with your knowledge and expertise, will forever remain.”

SCALE engages with Maryam to know more about her designing process and her dreams of working in Qatar.

SCALE: What was the project concept? And how did you tackle it uniquely? What would be your projects’ USP?

MARYAM: A clinic that rehabilitates those who have any psychiatric illness to have the ideal opportunity for treatment and recovery by providing appropriate activities and environment for them.

The design inspiration behind this project is an oasis. Oasis is a natural phenomenon representing the beginning of healing. With its layered aesthetic and the greenery that sprouts from a place devoid of life, it combines both nature and nurture.

My take on this was to offer a place of complete serenity for patients to start their healing journey. When a place is incorporated with natural aspects, people will begin associating it with safety and nourishment—this is what I find to be very important to start with the correct mindset.

SCALE: How differently would you have approached the project if it was not completed during a lockdown?

MARYAM: I believe that during the lockdown, I got to meet a new side of me, one that found beauty to be within nature. This made me choose to incorporate it within the clinic. If I were to do the project before the lockdown, I wouldn’t have thought to do that. As Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, said, “Always remember, crises will ultimately fade away. But you, with your knowledge and expertise, will forever remain.”

Another point would be that I could have been even more creative if I was in a different situation. The lockdown had a lot of stress on me, which has affected my productivity.

SCALE: How excited are you to be part of the professional race and be part of the design fraternity? What are your future plans, and would Qatar be the place you would choose to work in?

MARYAM: I am so proud to be part of the professional and the design fraternity. In my opinion, design runs on minor details that must be taken into account to ensure the success of everything around us.

As an interior designer, I will focus on solving problems in a thoughtful, unique, and aesthetic way that gives visitors a more pleasant feeling and makes them comfortable in the space in any of my future projects.

In light of the rapid development of the State of Qatar, I find it the right place for me to work. At present, the State of Qatar is more in need of youth creativity that keeps pace with the rapid development, which aroused my enthusiasm to put my mark on my beloved country.

All Images VCUarts Qatar