January 1, 2020

National Museum of Qatar Lighting Design by Ateliers Jean Nouvel and L’Observatoire International: 2019 Best of Year Winner for Shining Moment

In the past decade, Doha has become a locus of envelope-pushing architecture, with structures by the likes of OMA, Zaha Hadid, and Interior Design Hall of Fame member I.M. Pei rising up where desert meets downtown. One of the latest additions to the city’s sci-fi skyline is the National Museum of Qatar, a 430,000-square-foot water­front destination by Jean Nouvel. The crystalline mineral formation known as the desert rose inspired Nouvel’s design, an explosive composition of sand-toned glass fiber–reinforced concrete disks.

The angular intersections of these cantilevered forms create a play of sunshine and shadow on the facade, further annunciated by L’Observatoire’s lighting scheme. Principal Hervé Descottes set aglow the disks in a manner intended to make the structure seem both “alive” and “myste­rious,” he explains. “Following artistic direction from Jean, we approached the illumination as a symbol for spatial, historical, and cultural connection.”

Indeed, light not only washes the complex curves but also seems to radiate from the building’s core, projecting out from the interstitial apertures like “an eternal energy,” underscoring the building’s physical qualities—and status as an emblem of global connectivity.

Photography by Iwan Baan.

Project Team: Ateliers Jean Nouvel:
Philippe Charpiot; Kirsi Marjamaki-Mas; Julie Parmentier; Giulia Felice; Lucia Giudice; François-Xavier Foillard; Alvaro Lopez; Geraldine Leydier; Valle Pinero; Francisco Silva; Claire Bufflier; Daniela Fortuna; Georges Groppas; Maximilien Montanaro; Ghita Berradia; Michel Calzada; Bernard Duprat; Narjis Lemrini; Aroa Lujan; Jose Monteiro; Marian Moravek; Samuel Nageotte; Juliana Park; Edouard Perves; Paul Pires Da Fonte; Matthieu Puyaubreau; Magdalena Sartori; Anna Voeller; Marilena Cadau; Adrien Chauveau; Victoria D’alisa; Yaêlle Devaux; Hakan Aldogan; Maja Kwasniewska; Benoit Pailloux; Pablo Alvarenga; Valentin Bernard; Yann Heckler; Ana Taborda; Kiyomi Suzuki; Laura Collins; Khadija Djellouli; Miguel Reyes; Anthony Thevenon; Edmondo Occhipinti; Susan Constantine; Toshihiro Kubota; Aurelien Coulanges; Renaud Pierard; Sabrina Letourneur; Floriane Abello; Jennifer Kandel; Sophie Laromiguiere; Tanguy Nguyen; Daniele Pasin; Anita Peboeck; Jim Rhone; Antoine Wendling; Pierre Edelman; Michel Desvigne; Ana Marti-Baron; Eric Anton; Keely Colcleugh; Mizuho Kishi; Sebastien Rageul; Marie Maillard; Eugénie Robert. L’Observatoire International: Christopher Marta; Margherita Bilato; Solenn Borchers; Nicolas Dufils; Gianni Franceschi; Anna Muslimova; Mathilde Rouiller; Francesco Secone; Leah Xandora.

> See more from the December/January 2020 issue of Interior Design

Recent Projects