As a highlight of the Qatar Germany 2017 Year of Culture, a mutual exchange of arts, culture, science and sport between the two countries, Qatar Museums (QM) opened the Driven by German Design show, which celebrates the evolution and achievements of German design. The opening was attended by HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, former German president Christian Wulff, Hans-Udo Muzel, German ambassador to Qatar, and Matthias Müller, Chairman of the board of management, Volkswagen Group.

The exhibition, running at QM Gallery ALRIWAQ in Doha from 3 October 2017 — 14 January 2018, brings together for the first time different design disciplines including architecture, graphic design, product design, automotive design, fashion and furniture design. It offers visitors a range of insights into both the artistic value of developments in design and their cultural significance by showcasing design concepts and works created in Germany or developed by German designers since 1945.

The show also embodies the ambitious vision of its curator Martin Roth, who sadly passed away during the final stages of the show’s development. Roth is considered one of the most innovative and active cultural managers of the last decades. As director of world-famous museums in Dresden and London, he was committed to creating engaging platforms for a wide audience and encouraging them to experience and be inspired by art.

HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said: “The Driven by German Design exhibition brings the best of German culture to the people of Qatar and the region by celebrating more than six decades of the country’s most famous design icons. This landmark design show is a major highlight of the Qatar Germany 2017 Year of Culture and typical of the world-class exhibitions and events that Qatar Museums is increasingly famous for delivering to the highest standard. Its success is the result of deep collaboration between an enormous range of partners and truly demonstrates the rich cultural relationships between our two countries.”

Matthias Muller, Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen Group, noted at the opening of the exhibition: ”This retrospective of 70 years of German design has a close connection with Volkswagen Group and its brands. Many of our vehicles have given expression to the Zeitgeist of their era as well as shaping German cultural identity. This will continue to be our aspiration for the future, as digitalisation and new drive concepts affect automotive and industrial design. We are thrilled that "Driven by German Design" offers visitors a hands-on experience and in this way directly appeals to their individual potential for innovation.”

Dr. Gabriele Landwehr, Director of the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region, said: “With this expertly curated presentation of German products for the Qatar Germany Year of Culture, Volkswagen Group and Qatar Museums not only present the master objects and their creators in a remarkable overview of 70 years of design, but also convey the spirit that is driving the German design. We are proud that German design is so well regarded in Qatar. Live speakers who will guide the visitors will allow them to enjoy a history lesson on German design. The various accompanying education activities and workshops will also allow children and students to learn about the inspiration and skills that made these master designs possible.”

Over 400 objects will be on display, including a number of studies and prototypes that have never before been shown in public. Five exhibition areas are dedicated to the most important periods of post-war German design and showcase the works of more than 30 designers that have influenced design history in both Germany and around the world.

The exhibition documents the development of design in Germany based on the pioneering works of Frei Otto, Achim Menges, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, Dieter Rams, Richard Sapper, Max Bill and many others. Though it does not claim to be exhaustive, it presents the widest possible range of design forms. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to take a closer look at the designers’ methods and try out their own ideas.

A design lab at the center of the exhibition, which was co-developed by Volkswagen Group, provides a window into design processes. For example, visitors can experience how an idea is generated and developed through to production based on a chair design by Konstantin Grcic and several prototypes from industrial designer Stefan Diez.

To complement QM’s strong commitment to education, workshops and talks focusing on the theoretical and practical aspects of design will be held by experts such as Dr. Mateo Kries, Director of the Vitra Design Museum, and Prof. Lutz Fügener from the Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences. Through these workshops, university students will have the opportunity to work on a project together with the world-renowned Porsche Design Studio.

Driven by German Design was organised by Qatar Museums in partnership with Volkswagen Group, the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region and the German Embassy Doha as part of the landmark ‘Years of Culture’ initiative developed under the guidance of QM Chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The year-long programme is made up of a wide variety of exhibitions and events in addition to literary and art workshops, film screenings, concerts and performances, sports competitions and trade shows. The Year of Culture initiative is sponsored by Qatar Airways and the St. Regis Hotel.