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Design Doha

Qatar Museums launches Design Doha biennial for MENA and international designers

Qatari art and culture institution Qatar Museums has announced the first edition of Design Doha, a biennial event that will feature over 100 designers from the Middle East and North African region.

The inaugural Design Doha will take place from 24 – 28 February 2024 across the existing Doha Design District in the Qatari capital's Msheireb neighbourhood.

A building in Doha, Qatar
The first edition of Design Doha will take place next February

Launched by Qatar Museum's chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the first edition of the biennial will showcase work from more than 100 designers from the Middle East and North African (MENA) region.

The participating designers' practices range from architecture, urbanism and landscape design to graphic design, textiles, woodwork, glass and ceramics.

Close-up of design work featured at Design Doha
Creatives from across the MENA region will showcase their work, including Abeer Seikaly. Photo by Emanuele Tortora

The biennial will also feature work by international designers. Among these projects will be a site-specific commission by South Korea-based designer Choi Byung Hoon, which will be permanently exhibited at the National Museum of Qatar.

Dutch designer Joris Laarman will also create a piece called Doha Dragon, which will be installed in the Doha Design District.

According to the biennial organisers, the programme will be anchored by Arab Design Now, a "regional survey" of over 70 Arab designers that will be held at the design district's M7 centre.

The exhibition will be curated by Amman Design Week founder Rana Beiruti and will examine "how local and regional designers balance contemporary design with traditional methods derived from the region's heritage," according to Design Doha.

Various other exhibitions will take place at M7 during the biennial, including a display of 100 Arabic posters and another show focusing on a century of architecture in Doha.

As well as these exhibitions, Design Doha will bring together a series of talks and other events including the Design Doha Forum – a discussion platform created to "position Doha's design sector within a global context, with a particular emphasis on the design of inclusive and equitable cities".

The biennial will also publish two open calls for submissions for the event, "celebrating Arab creatives across disciplines," said its organisers.

One competition will invite emerging creatives from the MENA region to showcase their work, while the other will consider graphic design students, recent graduates and established graphic designers based in Qatar for the opportunity to work with UNESCO's Creative Cities Network to create the official logo for Doha Design City.

100 Arabic posters at Design Doha
An exhibition of 100 Arabic posters will feature at the biennial

"Recognising that there are far too few platforms in our region for designers to present their work, the inauguration of Design Doha is a testament to the excellence and innovation of our region's design community," said Sheikha Al Mayassa.

During this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, Dutch architecture office UNStudio revealed its designs for the Dadu, Children's Museum of Qatar. French designer Philippe Starck unveiled plans for the Qatar Preparatory School, also commissioned by Qatar Museums, at the same event.

While the official event will run from 24 to 28 February, various exhibitions will be on display in Doha until 5 August.

The photography is courtesy of Design Doha.

Design Doha takes place from 24 to 28 February 2024 in Doha, Qatar. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.