The concepts designed by our students re-imagine what the experience of using the metro might involve. Visual, material, and digital content and interfaces were envisioned as offering ways for metro users to engage with content about Doha and the people who live and work in Qatar
Students from various programs at VCUarts Qatar who are taking our Graphic Design Spring elective, GDES 491 Studio Topics in Design, recently got a chance to develop their design abilities and ideas in direct relationship to the public space of the Doha Metro.
Graphic Design students Afreena Niaz, Hind Al Saraireh, Lana Abou Selo, Tuleen Al-Naji and Rogsh Emmanuel Garcia, along with Interior Design student Maryan Abdis Amad Mohammed and Shaikha Alansari, a Painting + Printmaking student, shared their project concepts titled ‘Doha Metro: Doha Social’ with representatives from Qatar Rail at a presentation held at our campus.
From Qatar Rail, Areej Allan, Senior Public Relations Specialist, Dhabya Mohammed Al-Kuwari Internal Communication and Branding Manager and Kaltham Mohd Al Mannai, Qatar Rail Branding Specialist attended the presentation.
The concept of the “Doha Metro : Doha Social” project was initiated by Graphic Design Assistant Professor Peter Martin who developed the elective studio course that goes by the same name. The module saw students explore the potential for the metro’s public spaces to become even more socially and culturally active and impactful.
The project started out by exploring how artists and designers in Qatar could feature their creative works throughout the Doha Metro’s public-facing spaces.
The concepts designed by these students re-imagine what the experience of using the metro might involve. Visual, material, and digital content and interfaces were envisioned as offering ways for metro users to engage with content about Doha and the people who live and work in Qatar.
The anticipated encounters with art and design projects like these would transform the Metro into a place where users would relate to each other and their diverse experiences, helping cultivate an even more interconnected and compassionate society in Qatar.
By doing so, the students hope to elevate the experience of using the Metro into a celebration of the rich diversity of human interactions that best reflect the cosmopolitan and inclusive nature of the country.
Peter Martin further explained, “The Metro is Doha’s most accessed and largest public space. It can also be seen as being almost completely digital, with nearly all riders carrying their smartphones. Metro travel results in situations where people have waiting times. Our concept explored the idea of whether travelers could use such interludes to view and participate in creative projects such as hearing stories or playing with interactive installations.
“For instance, imagine metro riders scanning their cards to enter. The scanning process would trigger an automated system that sends an SMS “question of the day” to their phones. They would respond to the question while riding the train. By the time they arrive at their stop, they can view their responses, along with the responses shared by other travelers, as visualized data displayed in the metro station that they transit through or leave.
“The experience offers metro users the chance to see that they are traveling with other people who have preferences and interests – some of which may be similar, and some different, but nevertheless, displayed together in one space.”
One of the participating students, Lana Abou Selo, shared the research and inspiration behind her concept, “While developing my idea for the metro, I interviewed several metro users to gather insights on what they might want after a long day. Some expressed a desire to meet and talk to someone about their day, while others preferred meeting people online to avoid the anxiety of in-person interactions.
“My idea involves travelers answering three questions as they enter the station, then exchanging notes with two others of the same gender. Finally, if they desire, they could meet these individuals in the station’s cafe or meet online.
“Since the Metro is a very diverse space, if my idea were to be implemented, it could foster greater openness among people, enable them to learn new things from each other and allow them to create connections with people from different parts of Qatar.”