Qatar Museums has announced the inauguration in 2024 of Design Doha, a new biennial showcase dedicated to design. Set to run from 24–28 February, the event will take place across venues in Msheireb Downtown, Doha’s creative neighbourhood.
Founded under the leadership of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the chairperson of Qatar Museums, and led by Glenn Adamson as artistic director, Design Doha will feature a host of exhibitions and events at Qatar Museums’ M7, Liwan Design Studios and Labs and Doha Design District in Msheireb. The biennial will focus on bringing together local, regional and global design communities as well as supporting new practitioners by connecting them with established professionals.
Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said: “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.”
Featuring more than 20 activations, the exhibition programme will cover a wide scope of design practices, including graphic design, architectural, urban and landscape design, and textiles, wood, glass and ceramics. The main highlight is Arab Design Now, curated by Rana Beiruti, founder of Amman Design Week, and running from 24 February to 5 August 2024 at M7. Surveying the work of more than 70 Arab designers, the exhibition explores the intersection of contemporary and heritage-inspired methods, with a focus on environmental and sustainable design. Two other exhibitions – entitled Colors of the City: A Century of Architecture in Doha, Weaving Songs and 100/100 HUNDRED BEST ARABIC POSTERS Round 04 – will also open during the biennial.
More than 20 activations curated by partner design studios based in the region will be unveiled as part of the exhibition programme. These include a permanent site-specific commission by Choi Byung Hoon at the National Museum of Qatar and a commission by Joris Laarman entitled Doha Dragon at Doha Design District.
Glenn Adamson said: “For Design Doha, we have adopted a museum-based curatorial model, dedicated to showcasing designers from across the Arab world. The biennial will take its place alongside museums, stadiums, studios and infrastructure, creating a platform for the creative industries into the future.”
The biennial’s headline programming event is the Design Doha Forum, curated by Dr Jelena Trkulja, senior advisor for academic and cultural affairs at Qatar Museums. Bringing together Qatar-based and international design experts, the discussions in the forum will revolve around the topic of inclusive and equitable urban design. Other highlights of Design Doha include a launch event for AI Journal by Liwan Design Studios and Labs, a new design publication that provides commentaries on creative, cultural and intellectual matters related to design.
Events in support of emerging designers include The Designers Breakfast Club, organised in partnership with Qatar- and Italy-based design platform FROMM and which will offer coaching in interior, furniture, and accessories design. Qatar Museums will also issue two open calls in the run-up to Design Doha. The first to go live, launching on 7 December, will provide graphic design students, recent graduates and established graphic designers based in Qatar the opportunity to work with UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network to create the official logo of Doha Design City. Opening on 17 December, the second will invite emerging practitioners in the fields of interior, product, furniture and craft design to participate in the Design Doha Prize. The four winners will receive a monetary award as well as opportunities for mentorship and exposure to international markets.
Design Doha will be held as part of the winter gathering of Qatar Creates, the country’s year-round art and culture programme.