“Somebody copied our design, which was already on the table six years ago…. We had individuals from that country, I will not name it, who took that and did it (themselves).”

This was what Mr Akbar Al Baker, the CEO for Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport said at the press conference. He acknowledged that their future indoor tropical garden at Hamad International Airport is similar to Singapore’s Changi Jewel.

In case if you are not in the loop, Doha’s Hamad International Airport has announced the next stage of expansion that is set to be completed by 2020. In the upcoming expansion, the airport will feature a new indoor garden that is set to look like this:

Future indoor tropical garden at Doha Hamad International Airport. Source: Executive Traveller

This is what the existing Changi Jewel looks like:

In response to this accusation, Changi Airport Group (CAG) CEO Lee Seow Hiang told The Straits Times that “We value the originality and creativity of ideas as we innovate to elevate the Changi experience for all our visitors. We respect intellectual property rights and expect the same of all our partners.”

Back in July 2012, to source for the best ideas around the world, a competitive process was put in place. The contract was eventually awarded to CapitaLand, who proposed a design conceptualised by Safdie Architects. As claimed by CAG CEO, Safdie Architects informed CAG that they had not done any work in Qatar and that Mr Safdie had never visited the country.

Here is what Mr Safdie had to say about the accusation,

“We have been pursuing the concept of gardens as a focal point for the public realm for many decades. We have also explored the concept of harvesting the rain into internal rainfalls at Ben Gurion Airport (Israel) and Marina Bay Sands.”

“The success of these explorations have further inspired and led us to create a new icon in the Jewel that we see today – a new kind of urban place that celebrates the elements of nature and urban life.

If you want to read further into this accusation here is a video by The Straits Times, where Transport and Housing editor Karamjit Kuar discusses the legitimacy of the accusation.

H/T: The Straits Times

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