Alma 1938 have reached the shortlist in the International Hotel & Propery Awards

Shortlisted for the Public / Cultural category in the design et al International Hotel & Property Awards, Alma 1938 designed and crafted the exterior cladding of Hall 1, for a £1.2 billion convention centre in Doha.

The leather wallcovering for Hall 1 is a cladding system comprising of leather panels arranged as a tessellation based upon a pattern by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. The client also wanted this piece to look like a work of art.

Design Brief

“An artwork installation in the foyer of Convention Centre; a 20m double curvature substructure almost 2000 square meters in area. Irregular shaped panels were to fit with zero tolerance.”

1400 LED lights were positioned at various junction points

1400 LED lights were positioned at various junction points


Favorite / Key aspect of the product

“It is a unique project. It has never before been done to make 7500 handmade pieces fit with zero tolerance on such a difficult structure.”

Why does the design work so well?

“The architect designed this piece using 7500 leather mosaic panels on a flat surface and thought that this would work on a surface which curves in 2 directions, up and down and side to side. He never gave any thought as to how this would be made. The architectural vision gave no thought about how the design, drawn flat, would work on a double curvature building.”

“We succeeded where others failed and created a 3D model using the clients brief, incorporating the structure with its curvatures and the pattern designed by the architect.

Alma came up with this design brief:

– Devise a methodology to design the panel and its fixing method

– 7500 panels needed to be made by hand by at least 10 individuals

– Each panel had to be given a unique size

– Each panel had to look uniformed

– Each panel had to fit with zero tolerance and be removable

“The panels could be made mechanically for a flat surface, but because this building was curved in 2 directions (and larger in the middle, smaller at the top and bottom), it used handmade leather panels. We met the customers brief exactly and no wood or even marble on this project fitted as well as the leather.”

“This is the only leather man made mosaic on a building in the world.”

View more work from Alma 1938 on their new website.