Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Ah, never mind.
There are lots of fascinating discoveries for someone like me to be made while living in Qatar, and I will in time, share some of them with you. But one of the first things that i realised as i walked around Doha is that...
Azeri government would love to turn Baku into Doha. Or perhaps, Dubai.
Now that i realised that, everything makes perfect sense- the style of the new architecture, the love for Land Cruisers, or the endless pulling out of the trees- to make Baku look like a desert. Except, of course, that these guys would love to have more trees here, in the real desert. They are spending a vast amount of money planting green stuff all around Doha, watering it, giving it loving care, looking after every flower.
So i understand now. You want Baku to be like Dubai. But, i doubt it is going to work. First of all, however rich you might get, you are not going to catch up with one of the richest countries in the world. There is simply no comparison here, my friends. It is like me trying to compete with the Azeri first lady. But most importantly, having funds to make the city look the way you wish isn't enough. You need this one more thing...something else...you know?...what was that word again? Oh, yes. Taste.
You see, let me give you a simple example. The photo above is of one of the most beautiful buildings in Doha- the Museum of Islamic Art. It was designed by I.M.Pei. They say Pei spent six months studying Islamic culture to create this stunning piece of architecture.
So what? I heard you say. These guys are loaded, it is easy to get one of the best men in the world to design a building! They can afford to do so! Ah, yes. Of course. That part is easy! But, what i am impressed with is not the fact that whoever ordered this building chose I.M.Pei to design it. It is the fact that he saw that this was a beautiful building when shown the sketches. And did not say Meh...What's this? You call this pretty?! Could you, at least, throw in some golden handles?
That's what i think is pretty interesting. Not only do these guys have money to build great new buildings and hire the best architects in the world; they can also see what is cool. Not always, but quite often. And that is impressive because, culturally, Arabs, of course, love blingey things- just like we, Azeris do. Gold, sparkles...the whole lot. And yet, you find stunning buildings like The Museum of Islamic Art.
So, yes. I now totally understand what direction Azeris would like to be heading, and what they are trying to turn Baku into. Whether they will have enough taste to build something elegant, original or stylish is yet to be seen.