Arts & Culture

Q Life

Design Doha Celebrates Arab Design Excellence

June 2024

Fahad Al Obaidly

Q Life sat down with Fahad Al Obaidly, Deputy Director of Programs and Partnerships for the Design Doha Biennale, to learn more about the inaugural Design Doha event. 

Earlier this year the Design Doha Biennale opened its doors for the first time.

Running until 5 August, this landmark cultural event is showcasing the region’s greatest design talents.

Highlighting the exceptional creative environment across the Arab world, Design Doha welcomes industry leaders, connects local designers with global buyers, and nurtures a new generation of innovative Arab designers.


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In February 2024 Qatar Museums debuted Design Doha. Can you explain its purpose?

Our purpose is to celebrate excellence in Arab Design, providing a platform not only for Arab designers to showcase their products, but to connect with global buyers and industry leaders.

How is Design Doha making an impact?  

The impact of Design Doha is shown in the connections being built between MENA region designers and international platforms. We noticed immediately how buyers, other design biennales in Milan, such as Salone del Mobile Milano, or in France, and directors, were here in Doha scouting for Arab designers.

Could you share one of your proudest moments from the event? 

The proudest moment for me, personally, was when I saw the Arab designers, all of them here in Doha, connecting, collaborating, and sharing ideas. It brought me close to the mission of Design Doha and that we achieved it from the first inaugural edition.

I think that is our legacy. We made every Arab designer think of Doha as a platform for them to be celebrated, connected, and to be amplified beyond Qatar.

Image Courtesy of Edmund Sumner/Qatar Museums/Design Doha 2024

Can you tell us about the ‘Arab Design Now’ exhibition?  

Our main exhibition is called ‘Arab Design Now’, curated by Rana Beiruti. We feature 74 Arab designers, and over 100 artworks and designs.

The creative expression of our designers comes from their land. They’re using local materials, they’re using their artisanship, craftsmanship – and that really stands out. It was refreshing to see how they interpret or translate the creative expressions through their products.

Can you tell us about some of the Qatari designs featured in the exhibit?  

Abdulrahman AlMuftah, Maryam Al-Homaid, Asma Derouiche, Joe Bou Abboud – they all exhibited their work amongst the MENA region designers, and I really felt there is a synergy – there is similar creative expression across all of them, that all of them united in their creative voice.

Is there a piece that stood out to you within the exhibit?  

A piece that stood out for me was the Green Bridal Chest by Naqsh Collective. The piece spoke volumes about the craftsmanship and the artisanship of Palestine, especially how they interpret the motifs, traditions, textiles, and embroidery.

Designers, when they find a way to express who they are, where they’re coming from, and bring it to the contemporary world and make it a globally appealing product – that is a success story.

What should we expect next from Design Doha? Are there any initiatives or plans to expand the event’s impact?  

Design Doha will happen every two years. The inaugural edition was in 2024 and the second one will be 2026. Our plan is to cement voices from the MENA region and bring Arab designers to the global market, and I think that is something that will be ongoing through many initiatives, including design residencies, design funds, and connecting them with buyers and galleries from around the world.