2 April 2019
by Michael Webb
As a counterpoint to the sculptural complexity of Nouvel’s architecture, the Sydney-based firm of Koichi Takada has designed two museum shops inspired by the Cave of Light, a geological marvel in the heart of Qatar. A hand-assembled vortex of 40,000 pieces of wood soars high overhead and morphs into shelving and display units. Takada also designed a mezzanine-level café, where a trio of wood-railed enclosures are lined with cushions (traditional Berber patterns woven by Missoni) to recall desert tents. A second café and Alain Ducasse’s restaurant are still under construction.
The National Museum is a fusion of old and new, architecture and spatial drama, unique in its form and content. It’s surrounded by a landscaped park that features the country’s terrain and drought-resistant vegetation. And, as architect Ibrahim Jaidar observes, Nouvel’s building marks the transition from historicism and mimicry of Western models, to a brand of modernism that is rooted in the cultural traditions of Qatar.
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