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An Iconic Design Masterpiece – the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha opens to Worldwide Acclaim

22/11/2008

With award-winning I. M. Pei as the architect, galleries designed by internationally renowned Jean-Michel Wilmotte, and world leading UK based ClickNetherfield responsible for the showcasing, the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar stands as a formidable and magnificent edifice housing a dazzling collection of Islamic art. Opened on 1st December by His Highness the Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in a storm of blue and gold fireworks, the museum takes the visitor on a magical journey across cultures and through time with over 800 exhibits spanning 3 continents and 1300 years.

Doha

”This was one of the most difficult jobs I ever undertook” said Pei, who describes the essence of Islamic architecture as “where sun brings to life powerful volumes and geometry plays a central role.” Breath-taking in its austere simplicity this imposing white building, constructed on a stand-alone island, is a unique expression of Pei’s vision of Islamic design.

“We are proud to open the doors of this magnificent Pei masterpiece and to share with the world the exceptional depth and vitality of Islamic art” said Abdullah Al Najjar, CEO of Qatar Museums Authority, “and each artefact was chosen for the story they tell.”

These remarkable stories are wide ranging and imposing from room size silk tapestries and carpets to an exquisite Indian Jade pendant (1631) belonging to Shah Jahan (who created the Taj Mahal as a tribute to his wife) and worn to cure a broken heart. Fragile manuscripts on display include one of the rarest and earliest versions of the Qu’ran to survive possibly written within decades of the death of the Prophet Muhammed, and a page from a colossal Central Asian Qu’ran c.1400 created for the emperor Timur. Notoriously difficult to read the clarity achieved in this exhibition is astonishing. Described by Mike Chaplin, Technical Director at ClickNetherfield, as “the largest project we have ever undertaken with some of the largest cases ever constructed” he went on to explain that “the complex designs required to ensure the illusion of transparency was achieved even in cases up to almost 5 metres in height.” The results are stunning with each of the diverse and exquisite Islamic treasures clearly able to tell its own story.

The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is the latest in a series of ambitious projects that ClickNetherfield has completed in the Middle East.

International award-winners, ClickNetherfield specialise in conservation, security challenges, and unique, high quality, innovative showcase design and construction. Their focus is to provide a complete solution for the client, offering an experienced ‘in-house’ team of professional staff and operatives on site and worldwide to ensure a seamless service from concept to handover.

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