Doha’s M7 design and cultural hub celebrates creativity in Qatar

M7 in Doha – a new hub for fashion, design and tech entrepreneurship – sees architects John McAslan + Partners bring together environmentally conscious design, dramatic minimalism and vernacular architecture

Interior with light filtering through the roof and the design reflectinf on the walls and stairs
(Image credit: HUFTON + CROW)

Doha's newest cultural destination, M7 design and cultural hub, opens this week. The venue, designed by London-based John McAslan + Partners, is a flagship in the Qatari capital's new, ambitious and currently in development 31-hectare Msheireb mixed-use neighbourhood. The project, which aims to highlight creativity in Qatar’s fashion and design industry, has been central to this scheme – its minimalist architecture standing serene and confident at the heart of this brand new part of town. 

Architect John McAslan and his team drew on the region's vernacular architecture and the needs around its specific climatic conditions for their design, aiming to create a building that is in tune with its surroundings and modern, sustainable architecture and technology. A generous atrium becomes the building's core space, surrounded by grand processional stairs that zigzag upwards in an elegant spatial dance. The top is lit by a large-scale opening, artfully shaded by an intricate screen that helps filter the heat. Off it, offices, exhibition halls and multifunctional areas unfold, with a restaurant housed at the very top. 

M7: new addition to Doha’s Msheireb district

interior showing main atrium and staircases with view of different floor levels

(Image credit: HUFTON + CROW)

‘In essence,' says McAslan, ‘we have striven to design a building that radiates a sense of shared discovery. Taking as its inspiration the traditional Qatari courtyard house, the building quality of presence and internal atmosphere is conceived as a massive stone block from which spaces and courtyards are carved.' He continues, ‘This light-dappled environment, reminiscent of the neighbouring historic Souk Waqif, offers a vibrant marketplace of the arts in which Islamic and modern architecture come together.'

Doha's Msheireb district has been designed as a ‘walkable city’, composed of a tight-knit complex of residential architecture and office design, dotted with museums, a mosque, and shopping arcades. Among this rich urban mix, M7 is a key piece of the puzzle, sitting by the central Al Baraha square, and opposite the new Mandarin Oriental hotel, also designed by John McAslan + Partners.

The impressive M7 design and cultural hub will celebrate its soft launch this week with a Dior show, and is then set to host a Christian Dior retrospective (6 November 2021 – 31 March 2022), as part of the Qatar Creates programme

Exterior of the building photographed during the day behind short trees and with clear blue skies in the background

(Image credit: HUFTON + CROW)

A view of the concrete beige staircase with black banister photographed from above

(Image credit: HUFTON + CROW)

A tall black patterned door on grey concrete wall. on the left of the wall is a clear floor to ceiling window with black metal panel detail

(Image credit: HUFTON + CROW)

Interior showcase the beige staircase design with view of different levels

(Image credit: HUFTON + CROW)

Exterior of the building photographed at dusk with clear blue skies in the background

(Image credit: HUFTON + CROW)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).

With contributions from