Mathaf Case Study
When the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) and the Qatar Foundation (QF) partnered to adopt His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani’s private collection of over 6,000 pieces of Modern and Contemporary Arab art, their objective was to build an institution that would instigate an Arab art movement in the world. To become the leading voice on Arab Modern and Contemporary art in the region and beyond, facilitating interest and dialogue about Arab Art between artists, scholars and the general public.
Wolff Olins partnered with the QMA and QF to help build the entire brand for the Museum. We took a deep dive into the growing world of arts in the Arab world, met with artists, scholars and art enthusiasts from the region, and mapped out the international competitive set. Based on these insights we developed the brand idea “Ideas Welcome” where art is inspired by ideas and ideas are inspired by art. The ambition was to create a digital museum with a physical space, where people can engage with art beyond the physical space in Doha, Qatar. We worked with poets, artists, and culture experts to create the new brand identity, the new name Mathaf (Museum in Arabic), and two typefaces both in Arabic and English. We designed the digital experience including website architecture, wireframes and layout. We worked closely with the architect to craft a holistic museum experience. We produced thought-provoking items for the museum gift shop and created a range of marketing collateral and advertising campaigns.
Mathaf opened on December 30, 2010. As of February 2011, the museum had already 2,000 fans on Facebook and strong interest from the region. H.E. Sheikha Mayassa complimented Wolff Olins for having built such a strategically considered and cohesively delivered brand: “I believe the arts and Mathaf have a role to play in building a new identity for Qatar, but one that’s rooted in tradition.”