It has been called the world’s most beautiful museum shop, and with its billowing walls of European oak, the gift shop in the National Museum of Qatar is worth a visit in itself. Inspired by one of Qatar’s caves, Dahl al Misfir, which is famed for its mineral formations, Koichi Takada Architects have created an equally captivating space.
The 170 square metre area is framed within a design that acknowledges the country’s tradition and history and its role in the desert landscape, as well as its position as a modern nation. Nature has been brought into the architecture, giving the visitors something to connect to.
The walls are made up of 40,000 oiled wooden staves that were produced using CNC technology in Italy. No two staves are the same, with each one being so unique that it only fits in one place in the whole structure. The pieces were assembled by hand with finger joints, which is perhaps why the architects describe the work as being like putting together a gigantic 3D puzzle. Each segment is screwed to the row beneath. The wall sections are also fixed to an underlying steel frame.