If you have a long layover in Hamad International Airport, be happy because it is a stunning, state-of-the-art airport. If you have a long layover and you’re an art aficionado, then consider yourself incredibly lucky because Hamad Airport is Doha’s gift to art lovers. The passenger terminal showcases a remarkable incredible collection of work commissioned by Qatar Museums in collaboration with several renowned international artists. And in case you don’t know where to head first, here are our top five favourite artworks to check out. Just stop by, relax and take it all in.
Arctic Nurseries of El Dorado by Marc Quinn
In the departure area, just before passport control, there’s a large white sculpture that mostly looks like flowers intertwined to create an almost mythical-looking piece of an enchanted forest. British artist Marc Quinn created this massive flower hybrid, which is essentially bronze sculptures, using elements from different parts. Various forms of orchids are collaged together and coated with white pigment. The idea represents globalisation and the ability to fly flowers in from anywhere around the world.
Cosmos by Jean-Michel Othoniel
Jean-Michel Othoniel, a popular contemporary French artist, best known for modernising the gardens of the Château de Versailles in France with his striking glass fountain sculptures, recently added to HIA’s art collection with his newest public art piece COSMOS. He was inspired by an artefact he found in the Museum of Islamic Art collection. COSMOS pays tribute to this extraordinary object, using gold to gild the steel structure of the piece to evoke the warm light of the sun. This monumental sculpture reflects Qatar’s culture – it’s a celestial globe projecting the routes of travellers from around the world and resembles bright calligraphy drawn in space when observed from the side or below in Concourse E. If you look at it from front, it looks like a blooming rose.
Flying Man by Dia al-Azzawi
One of the latest additions to HIA’s impressive artwork, Flying Man is located at the Meet and Greet area in the arrivals hall after exiting passport control and at the very entrance in the departures hall. It reminds us of a smaller-scaled version of a certain sculpture in Rio but interestingly, the inspiration for Flying Man is completely contrary to that one. This sculpture by Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi is based on Abu Firnas, a historical figure from the Islamic world who was renowned for experimenting with flight and the two towering sculptures are inspired by Mesopotamian pillars.
Lamp Bear by Urs Fischer
It’s quite possible that you’ve travelled out of Doha and clicked a photo of the 23-foot canary yellow teddy bear under a lamp at HIA’s central foyer. Lamp Bear by Urs Fischer is one of Doha’s biggest clichés and also one of the most far-fetched (in a good way) pieces in the airport. We wouldn’t call it cute or adorable but Swiss artist Fischer’s work is indeed playful and impressive.
Small Lie by KAWS
Ever wondered what happens when a small lie blows out of proportion? Head over to Concourse E to find out. Small Lie by American artist Brian Donnelly, professionally known as Kaws, is a massive sculpture reminiscent of Pinocchio. And when we say massive, we mean 32 feet of Afrormosia wood. If you’re wondering how this sculpture came about, it was inspired by Kaws’ relationship with wooden toys growing up and the warm sensation of wood grain. He created the oversized sculpture to play with an emotional tension of strength and kindness. So, Small Lie makes you feel really small, yet you feel like you want to protect and console it.