Pearl Museum

Doha, Qatar

Client: Hussain Alfardan
Plot area: 5,000m²
Scope: Concept Design

Due to the historical importance of pearl diving in Qatar and the gulf region, where it is considered as a cultural heritage and was once a main source of national income and an important part of human history, the design of the museum had to take into consideration the role of Qatar as a main contributor to this heritage. The design had to exhibit its contents in a design which is inspired by the story of pearl diving in each of its stages, so that it can recreate memories and provide a link between the past, present and future.

The design of the building is inspired by the traditional Qatari house which has a Ground and First level with open courtyards. Through a sequence of galleries and arcades, It tells a story of a journey which was anticipated every year, full of events and human emotions, from happiness and hope, to sadness and fear with the unique traditional “Dasha” music playing.

The visitor can witness all of the events as if they are immersed into a 4D documentary. Starting from the Beginning scene, through to the five sections of the museum which tell us about each stage of the journey using photos and documentaries in 4D with sound, movement and lighting effects.

  • Beginning Scene: Before entering the museum, with “Dasha” music is playing and the general view of the “Mahamil” sail boats sailing towards the gulf.
  • Introduction to the journey and its heroes: Where the visitor gets to know about the sailors, their ranks and tasks, the “Hairat” pearl locations and traditional boats used and their names. These spaces are inspired by traditional houses.
  • Pre-diving events: Here the visitor can get to know about the pre-diving events, the enthusiastic music and more about the “Hairat” pearl locations, in preparation to diving.
  • Diving: Models of divers and their gears, the tools used, pearl types, types of fish are all on display, as if you are diving yourself.
  • Post-diving: The visitor gets to know about events which took place after the diving, the food preparation, opening oysters, storing pearls and the pricing and negotiations.
  • The “Gifal” end of journey and diving season: The methods of checking, weighing and categorizing pearls, their types and values, ending with a gift shop/gallery along with traditional music and chants.