Construction work is about to be completed on the Falcon Tower, a 25 storey skyscraper in the West Bay district, the fastest growing area in Doha, capital of Qatar. The skyscraper was designed by SWA, South West Architecture, a local architecture and engineering studio which has helped create Doha’s new skyline with multi-storey buildings such as the Al Jassimiya Tower. The outer cladding and indoor wall coverings, floors and all special pieces for the building were produced by FMG Fabbrica Marmi e Graniti.
The Falcon Tower illustrates the historic transition Qatar is currently undergoing, opening the doors to the most radical modernity. Doha will host the 2022 Football World Cup, for which the city has already designed fully 22 new stadiums.
Changes that normally take hundreds of years are happening here in a matter of decades. The past is still very much alive, and the traditional Islamic iconography that western tourists look for here is presented in a new interpretation of places, spaces and architectural and decorative solutions of astounding magnificence. An ability to amaze foreigners is what the Falcon Tower shares with other new landmarks in Doha such as Jean Nouvel’s Doha Tower or Ieoh Ming Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art (MIA).
Rising out of a podium that follows the shape of the bay are 25 floors of glass and steel, embraced by a porcelain ventilated façade in which we may read traces of Arabian stylistic features, brought up to date and adapted to practical requirements, in 15000 sqm of Parana beige 60cmx120cm tiles made by FMG Fabbrica Marmi e Graniti. The Italian company also produced the cladding for the podium, glossy big MAXFINE Titanium white tiles measuring 3 metres by 1 metre and a half (4000 sqm) and 1 metre x 1 metre (3000 sqm).
The Falcon Tower will contain a grand hotel with numerous services such as restaurants, guest rooms, 6 lobbies, a swimming pool and spa, and places of refreshment and entertainment for tourists from all over the world, who will find every imaginable comfort here. The interiors, designed by SWA in partnership with one of Europe’s best-known interior design studios, will be finished with Statuario venato Maxfine maxi tiles and Ardesia black honed tiles, also by FMG. 15cmx120cm strips from the Lignum red and brown collection are used to underline the beauty of the special wood finishes in the restaurant area. FMG ceramic mosaic tiles with gold, platinum and white bright finishes are used in certain reception areas, such as the podium and the spa. Numerous special pieces have been designed for the project in collaboration with the Iris Ceramica Group’s product development laboratory, including 15,000 15cmx15cm theme pieces illustrating the passions and traditions of Qatar: racehorses, the falcons still used for hunting, camel races, the tradition of the Shisha, Aladdin’s lamp, the mosque and classic Middle Eastern imagery.
West and east come together to work on this great project, which is like a boundary that does not really belong to either of the two cultural hemispheres. This new eclecticism reflects the identity of visitors to Doha, but come from all over the world; and the linguistic, cultural and geographic plurality of the Emirate is expressed for them in a new international style.
Design: South West Architecture
Location: West Bay, Doha (Qatar)
Total useable floor space: 69,889 sqm
Project start: 2011
Completion: construction underway
Cladding of ventilated façades: Parana beige 60x120 (15,000 sqm)
External cladding: Parana beige 60x30 (5000 sqm)
Cladding of podium and hotel building: Titanium glossy white 300x150 (4000 sqm) and 100 x100 (3000 sqm)
Tiles in guest rooms: Statuario venato Maxfine 300x150 (3500 sqm)
Bathroom tiles and special pieces: Statuario venato Maxfine 100x100 (8000 sqm)
Bathroom tiles in hotel rooms: Statuario venato Maxfine 60x120 (10000 sqm)
Floor and wall tiles in hotel rooms and service areas: Ardesia black honed (1000 sqm)
Floor and wall tiles in Beer & Burger restaurant: Ardesia black honed (1000 sqm)
Lobby tiles: Titanium white Maxfine and Ivory glossy black, with custom water jet cutting (1500 sqm)
Tiles in swimming pool area: Titanium white Maxfine and Ivory black 60x60, with custom water jet cutting (1000 sqm)
Restaurant floor: Lignum red and brown 15x120 (4000 sqm)
Indoor walls in podium, hotel building and spa: Mosaico gold and Mosaico platinum 25x25 (3000 pcs)
Indoor walls in podium, hotel building and spa: Mosaico white bright (4000 pcs), Titanium white and Ivory black 5x5 (25,000 pcs, custom designed)
Special 15x15 custom designed and theme tiles (15,000 pcs)