Qatar Museums (QM) took part in the Milan Design Week (Salone del Mobile.Milano 2021) recently, promoting the country’s rich history through an initiative that invited the international creative community to reimagine underdeveloped historical sites across Qatar.
The initiative, under the patronage of its Chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, encouraged designers, architects, financiers, restauranteurs, and others from around the world to combine thoughtfulness, innovation, sustainability, and stewardship to identify new ways to honour Qatar’s past and also create experiences, activations, and installations that can be enjoyed for generations to come.
The transformations seek to culturally inspire locals and tourists alike, to ensure that all who visit Qatar are immersed in the country’s culture and can appreciate its unique offerings. A presentation outlining the sites and their possibilities was on display at Milan Design Week.
QM first identified nine underdeveloped cultural sites across Qatar during its inaugural Hospitality Symposium in June 2021. The sites that have been selected for investment, curation, and activation include Al Ghariyah, Al Areesh Village, Al Jassasiya Rock Carving Site, Lekhwair, Al Najadah Houses, Smaisma Houses, Zekreet House, Al Husain Police Station, and Al Jemail.
The locations vary in scale, size, and structure, with some steeped in history and existing design to others that function more as a blank canvas.
In a press statement, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa said: “Each year, Milan Design Week brings together the most influential designers, brands, artists, and other creatives in the world, so we are thrilled to have the opportunity here to invite the design and cultural communities to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime collaborative process. We have long believed that to remain an international hub of art and culture in the future that you must invest in creative people today. “There are no limits to the ways that these historic destinations can breathe new life, whether in the form of a restaurant, public park, commercial development, educational facility, public art installation, hotel, and beyond.
“While we are in the early stages of this exciting project, this is the latest example of QM working across borders and cultures to help create a more diverse and progressive nation, one that introduces new voices and ideas to establish Qatar at the forefront of education, environmental stewardship and sustainable practices within the region.”
The winners of the 2021 Ro Plastic Prize, part of RoGuiltLessPlastic, for which HE Sheikha Al Mayassa serves as honourary president of the international jury, was also announced as part of the week’s activities.
The Ro Plastic Prize, an international initiative founded and curated by Milanese designer Rossana Orlandi, aims to unite the design community to use plastic waste to develop the future of design: plastic re-using, recycling, and upcycling. This year’s prize was held under the theme “Save the waste, waste is value”.
Lvaro Catalán De Ocón won in the Urban and Public Furniture Design of Ro Plastic Prize 2021 category for his “Plastic Rivers” project. The winner of the Responsible Innovation Projects of Ro Plastic Prize 2021 category is Tom Meades for his “Gomi Speaker – world’s first portable speaker to be powered by waste” project.
Maria Koijck won in the Emotion on Communication of Ro Plastic Prize 2021category for her “this is the waste of one operation, my operation…” project. Each winner will have their projects exhibited in Qatar as part of Qatar Museums’ expanding commitment to sustainable programming.
QM Vice Chairperson, Eng Issa al-Mohannadi, who attended the awards ceremony on behalf of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa, said: “As a custodian of sustainability, QM is extremely proud be part of the Ro Plastic Prize – an initiative that plays an integral role in championing greener practices throughout the design world. On behalf of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa and QM, I would like to extend congratulations to the winners. We look forward to showcasing your projects in Doha in the near future.”