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‘Masterpieces of Furniture Design’ exhibition dives into evolution of design with centuries-old pieces

The exhibition runs from 8 September until 9 December.

The evolution of design has long been a critical area of study for designers of all ages, with museums and history books providing a glimpse into the perspectives of creators from different eras.

As a flourishing art and design capital, Doha has gathered centuries-old furniture from all over the world for its “Masterpieces of Furniture Design” exhibition.

Taking place at the M7 in Msheireb Downtown, in collaboration with Germany’s Vitra Design Museum, the exhibition features more than 50 iconic pieces which allow visitors to visually travel through time in order to understand the evolution of furniture over the past 200 years.

The exhibition, which runs from 8 September until 9 December, is the first non-fashion event to ever take place at M7.

“We’ve been really eager to do this exhibition and obviously, it’s one of our mandates to support all disciplines of design. We’re hoping that this will inspire our designers and our community,” Maha Al Sulaiti, Director of M7, told Doha News on Thursday during a media tour of the exhibition.

Doha News.

Upon entering the exhibition, visitors are greeted with a visually-pleasing contrast of shades and colours, contrasting beautifully with the venue’s dim-lighting.

With each step into the gallery, visitors are greeted with a unique piece shaped by every designer’s complex thought process from a different period and place. 

Whether it is a throne made of guns, an incomplete seat, or stacks of bricks in the shape of a chair, the items on display provoke conversations on their designs between visitors.

The pieces are grouped based on seven design principles: Innovating Crafts and Technologies; Designing Sustainability; Learning from Nature; Comfort Zones; The Social Question; Less is More; and Dialogues between Art and Design. 

“[The exhibition] is a great introduction into what design is about. It shows what criteria are important. It shows which pieces have changed the evolution of modern furniture. And so I think it’s a great introduction into learning about modern design,” Dr. Mateo Kries, the Director of the Vitra Design Museum, told Doha News.

Pieces by deceased artists and designers, including Virgil Abloh and Zaha Hadid, are among the items on display at the exhibition, further proving the immortality of art and design.

The items also exhibit the strength of art in crossing geographic borders and transcending time and space.

Dr. Kries told Doha News that the exhibition at M7 comes “at the right moment” in Doha.

“I’ve seen that Qatar has a very lively and emerging design scene, so I think the exhibition comes at the right moment. I think it can inspire young designers in their own work. It can create relations with designers here that might relate to certain pieces from the exhibition,” Dr. Kries said.

In addition to the furniture exhibition, M7 aims at merging cultures and adding a Qatari touch by featuring 10 bespoke pieces of furniture made by seven Qatar-based designers, promoting the Gulf state’s thriving design community.

The design hub also aims to provide a holistic design experience by getting the public to join the conversation on art and design through a number of workshops and talks with curators including Dr. Kries. 

Some of the workshops lined up for people of all ages include one on Home Styling, and one for youngsters titled Vitra Playhouse.