|Culture. Nature. Light, These elements provide the structure for a documentary film that explores the vision of one of the world's master architects, I.M. Pei and his newest creation, the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.
Already 88 years old when he accepted the commission, Chinese-American I.M. Pei embarked on another spectacular odyssey. It turned out to be one of his toughest yet: "Very frankly, I didn't feel qualified...my acceptance of the commission was conditional based on my learning something about the history of Islam," he says.
I.M. Pei has described himself as he begins each new project as 'an empty vessel.' This remarkable humility in the face of enormous creative challenges allows him to balance the often competing demands of form and function and realise a building that is stylistically his own, yet serves as a 'stage' for the human being. "It is the light of the desert that transforms the architecture into a play on light and shadow...if one could find the heart of Islamic architecture; might it not lie in the desert, severe and simple in its design, where sunlight brings forms to life?"
By using Mr. Pei's sketches, architectural renderings, models, and thorough interviews with Pei and his close collaborators, the film attempts to understand the 'where', the 'when', and the 'why' that a work must address, convincingly and eloquently and with style.
To Pei this is the heart of architecture. As he says: "Islamic architecture has a desert origin, and therefore it has a certain modesty I don't want to lose."
The new Museum of Islamic Art has already been dubbed 'The Louvre of the Middle East' exposing one of the most magnificent collections of Islamic art.
Directors: Bo Landin and Sterling Van Wagenen; Written by Bo Landin. Producers: Bo Landin, Marianne Landin, Sterling Van Wagenen for the Qatar Museums Authority.