Tradition-Inspired Shops and Cafés at the New National Museum of Qatar
The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) will have gift shops and food sites, opening soon over the course of several weeks after its public opening this week. Similar to the carefully chosen aesthetic of the museum itself, each outfit was created by an artist whose vision was inspired by the grand design of the desert rose.
Japanese-born Sydney-based designer Koichi Takada, who won the competition to create the stunning indoor spaces inside NMoQ, designed the museum shops (a gift shop and a children’s gift shop), the Desert Rose Café, Cafe 875 and Jiwan Restaurant. These shops are all inspired by traditional Qatari hospitality and the idea of taking a respite after a long journey. The design also sought to compliment Jean Nouvel’s architecture.
Principal Architect Koichi Takada, explained that designing the interiors of the National Museum of Qatar was an opportunity to create a unique experience for visitors to allow them to be immersed in Qatar’s cultural heritage — the traditional and historical past, and its development into a modern state as the cultural hub of the Middle East. He said that each interior space offers a fragment of the Qatari history that aims to enhance and fulfil a cultural and memorable experience for museum visitors.
The ‘Dahl Al Misfir’ (Cave of Light), located in the heart of Qatar, is a beautiful underground sanctuary formed largely from fibrous gypsum crystals that give off a faint, moon-like, phosphorescent glow. This natural formation inspired the design of two museum shops opening soon at the NMoQ. Their organic architecture echoes Koichi Takada’s vision of bringing nature back into architecture, establishing relationships that connect people and nature through design. Using a cutting-edge 3D modelling software, the architect achieved the design of curves and surfaces that aim to transport visitors to the site of inspiration inside the cave walls.
The interiors are constructed from 40,000 wooden pieces, which form a three-dimensional puzzle. Each wooden piece is entirely unique and fits only with its exact counterpart. They were assembled by hand in Doha by Italian master carpenter, Claudio Devoto and his team of artisans.
The main gift shop will stock a large collection of well-designed, exclusive gifts, inspired by the history, heritage and culture of Qatar. IN-Q Enterprises, which operate the gift shops, have worked in collaboration with local artists and designers to develop authentic and original merchandise.
The gift shops, located on the first floor of NMoQ, will operate from 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday to Thursday, and 1:30 pm to 7 pm on Fridays.
The children’s gift shop will offer a diverse range of locally designed souvenirs and gift items, including educational toys, books, puzzles and games.
The children’s gift shop will operate from 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday to Thursday and from 1:30 pm to 7 pm on Fridays. This shop is also located on the first floor of NMoQ.
Desert Rose Café
The Desert Rose Café is located on the ground floor and opens to both the lagoon (at the Corniche side) and to the Baraha courtyard. The café is an oasis of desert rose formations, offering a perfect mid-way resting spot for visitors to break the journey through the galleries. The design of Desert Rose Café is a direct reference to the impressive urban scale of Jean Nouvel’s architecture, recreating the interlocking disc design on a smaller scale.
The Desert Rose Café is hidden under a large architectural disc, with a low ceiling that mimics a cave entrance. The subtle ambient floor lighting is installed among interlocking discs of the banquette seating, smoothing the intensity of daylight and giving visitors a respite on the journey through the NMoQ.
Desert Rose Café will be operated by Chef Nouf Al Marri, founder of Kashta restaurant and Chef Nouf Company for restaurant management, one of Qatar’s most recognised culinary stars specialising in local cuisine.
The café will be open to the public starting on 28 March, between 8 am to 7 pm, Saturday to Thursday, and from 1 pm to 7 pm on Fridays.
Café 875 was inspired by traditional Qatari gold jewellery, with the concept of ‘875’ representing the grade of the gold’s purity. This 875 gold theme carries through the café’s design, offering patrons a chance to dine in a traditional Qatari setting inspired by Bedouin nomadic lifestyle and hospitality. The fabric used in the cafe blends the traditional black and white stripes of Al Sadu weaving, a symbol of the country’s transition into a ‘modern’ Qatar.
Café 875 is located on the mezzanine floor over the main lobby and designed to be ‘hidden’ from visitors so as not to physically overwhelm the arrival experience. The wooden profiles of the seating medallions are angled to follow the ceiling of interlocking discs flying over the main lobby and the café.
The medallions were also designed with a special up-lighting effect that evokes the allure of 875 gold. Each medallion is designed to cast a ring of light onto the architectural ceiling, intended to attract visitors to come up to the mezzanine and discover the ‘invisible’ café.
Café 875 will operate during museum hours and will open to the public in the coming months.
The Jiwan Restaurant, located on the fourth floor at the top of the museum, has a terrace with a stunning panoramic view of the Doha Bay. It embodies the unique landscape of the ‘inland sea’ or ‘Khor Al Adaid’ where the sea comes deep into the heart of the desert. Jiwan derived its name after the Qatari word for the ‘perfect pearl’, rose-tinted white, completely round with a lustre so pure that it comes alive with radiance.
The restaurant’s ceiling is inspired by traditional fishing nets, which uses over four million pearl-like crystal beads suspended from the ceiling to create a sense of diving into water.
Jiwan will operate during museum hours and will open to the public in the coming weeks.
Admission to NMoQ, MIA and Mathaf will be charged at the entrance. General admission will be QAR50 for adults; QAR25 for students and free for children under 16, Culture Pass Plus, Culture Pass Family Members, and visitors with disabilities. Tickets will be free of charge for Qatari nationals and residents of the State of Qatar with a valid Qatar ID.
General admission tickets include exhibitions within the museum and are valid for three consecutive days from the date of the first admission. A Museum Pass is QAR100 and permits admission to all museums and venues, valid for three consecutive days from the date of the first admission.
Check out this link for more details on tickets and admission requirements.