Msheireb Properties and VCUQatar open ‘Strange Wonders’ 2016 Exhibition

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar), in conjunction with Msheireb Properties, officially launched the 2016 ‘Strange Wonders’ exhibition at Company House, one of the four heritage houses within Msheireb Downtown Doha.

The ‘Strange Wonders’ exhibit represents a culmination of the artistic journey of the students, alumni and faculty and staff of VCUQatar.

This year’s exhibition was inspired by a vision set forth by Qatar’s new cultural icon, Msheireb Museums, which mandated that the works of art presented in ‘Strange Wonders’ 2016 derive from a theme of pioneering innovation, industrial development and growth and advancement. This creative guideline is in keeping with the history of Company House during the period of the discovery of oil and the life of those pioneers who set the bases of the modernization of Qatar.

The title “Strange Wonders” is based on a direct quotation from one of the original Qatari oil pioneers, Thamir Muftah, who witnessed the many new changes that came to Qatar with the discovery of oil. He recalled that, ‘we were seeing so many things of the like of which we had never even imagined. Coloured tins, pineapples, pears, oranges, all kinds of strange wonders”.

The exhibition aims to portray the inner core of innovation running throughout a structure of generations. It brings together unique, intergenerational mind-sets, ranging from the students and professors of VCUQatar, to its alumni and staff, and demonstrates an evolution of
a creative industry.

The ‘Strange Wonders’ exhibit also demonstrates VCUQatar and Msheireb Properties’ joint commitment to offering unique platforms that provide students, staff, faculty and alumni with the opportunity to create original works of art and to have their pieces presented to the public within a juried exposition. The exhibition will serve as both inspiration and education for promising local artists on the world of possibilities available within a diversity of artistic mediums.

Through this exhibition, Msheireb Properties underscores its enduring leadership in preserving and sharing Qatari national heritage and pride and to maintain partnerships with all entities that promote Qatar’s rich culture and history and preserves them for the next generations. For VCUQatar, ‘Strange Wonders’ complements and encourages the emerging and established talent within the university’s faculty and student body.

“This event marks one of those occasions to share our insight and capacities, to bridge our intellectual cultures, to foster value and quality, and to build on our distinct histories and heritages. At VCUQatar, we take pride in our creative endeavors as they further reach broader audiences, build partnerships and collaborations, and engage our communities and the world-at-large,” said Craig Anz, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at VCUQatar.

“It was important to Msheireb Properties to sustain our partnership with VCUQatar in the ‘Strange Wonders’ exhibition whereas Msheireb Properties’ mission and vision have always been aligned with a steadfast support of artistic pursuits and furnishing the next generation of aspiring artists with a world-class medium to unveil their creative endeavours. This year’s exhibit was especially significant because it underscores Company House’s directive of being the leading forum for proliferating the history and tradition of the forefathers of Qatar’s oil industry and their seminal role in the modernization and advancement of our nation,” said Hafiz Ali – Director of Msheireb Museums.

“In keeping with our mandate of safeguarding Qatar’s cultural heritage, Msheireb Properties will maintain its pledge of endowing emerging talent and contributing to strengthening Qatar’s rich cultural fabric through community focused initiatives and partnerships such as ‘Strange Wonders’,” he added.

‘Strange Wonders’ 2016 will feature a robust and eclectic mix of stunning and inventive visual arts in diverse materials and forms. Participating students, alumni and faculty and staff include: Sara Khalid Al-Buainain, Shaika Mahmoud Al Mahmoud, Nathan Ross Davis, Nagiya Moideen, Hadeer Omar, Fleming Jeffries, Othman M.R. Khunji, Dr. Thomas Modeen, Corinna Seto and Annette Wendling-Willeke.

Qatar Financial Centre Announces Relocation to Msheireb Downtown Doha

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) announced today its relocation to Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD). New QFC firms will be able to operate from this new designation starting mid-2017. Existing firms can decide to migrate then, or starting 2018. This relocation will serve as a foundation for Qatar’s new financial city.

Unlike other financial zones in the region, this new financial city will be open to all businesses, local and international and will not be exclusively restricted to QFC licensed firms. As such, it will be closer to other international financial and business districts. The mixed-use development will comprise more than 100 buildings, with a combination of prime commercial and residential properties, retail, cultural and entertainment areas.

The inclusion of a number of national entities and government buildings within Msheireb Downtown Doha as a whole represents a significant step toward the realisation of deeper collaboration and economic integration. Msheireb Downtown Doha will encompass five heritage quarters and multiple geographic phases. Tenants will include major government buildings, heritage quarters, four heritages houses within Msheireb Museums, a school and the National Archive, as well as the recently opened Mosque. The result will be a lively urban neighbourhood, which as well as hosting the Qatar Financial Centre and its licensed firms, will also offer leisure facilities and a number of residences including townhouses, upscale apartments and hotels, all centred around a new public square, Barahat Msheireb.

Announcing the QFC’s newest and largest designation, CEO Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida said: “The Qatar National Vision 2030 economic development pillar stipulates the need for open and flexible economic structures, which QFC offers through its business-friendly platform. It also states the need for the creation of a stimulating business climate capable of attracting foreign funds and technologies, and encouraging national investments. At the QFC, we have been steadily building such an environment. Through this relocation, we are taking a giant leap forward on the path of economic diversification.”

“The Qatar Financial Centre’s relocation to Msheireb Downtown Doha is representative of Msheireb Properties enduring promise of enhancing the economic and financial dynamism at Msheireb Downtown Doha. It also revives the history of Msheireb area which has always been a major centre of business and trade. This designation is further emblematic of our commitment to driving leadership, innovation and excellence through challenging convention and finding new methods of leveraging our developments for the way people and companies live, work and conduct business in an integrated, enriching and sustainable mixed-use community,” said Msheireb Properties CEO Abdulla Hassan Al-Mehshadi.

Al-Mehshadi added: “Msheireb Downtown is distinguished by its high-tech infrastructure and being a leader in smart city solutions which consists of state-of-the-art technology that integrates multiple information and communications systems required in the financial sector. Additionally, this relocation will impart confidence to international investors and partners, and will enhance Qatar’s position as a major regional and international financial hub. This will play a central role in diversifying the economy as part of our pledge to the Qatar National Vision 2030.”

Offering businesses and their occupants a modern integrated working lifestyle, Msheireb Downtown Doha blends traditional Qatari heritage and aesthetics with modern technology, and has a strong focus on sustainability. With more than 100 buildings targeting LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) gold and platinum ratings, it will be home to the world’s highest concentration of LEED buildings in the world.

The project also leads in terms of transportation and facilities with cars and traditional services placed underground and a full-scale public transport network, with the aim of creating a pedestrian and environmentally friendly atmosphere. The project will be served by Msheireb station, which has been billed as the hub of the upcoming Metro network, being the major interchange station for the lines.

Following the QFC’s relocation and move of QFC firms, other QFC entities including the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA), the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre (QICDRC) and the Qatar Finance and Business Academy (QFBA) will relocate as well. Their relocation is expected to be complete in 2019.