More than just another exhibition in a celebrated historic building, Treasures from The Al Thani Collection – Masterpieces from a Royal Collection was said to prove “the harmonisation and self-assured poise, between the great historic art civilisations and the architectural significance and decorative splendour of Beijing's Forbidden City – one of the most remarkable world Heritage sites.”
Aside from the extremely tight schedule, one of the great challenges of this commission was to present a chronological presentation of human development within a distinctly complex environment. This was compounded further due to the limited ability to configure, attach, embellish or suitably light the space within a plethora of totally understandable restrictions associated with a wooden building of such significance. So, while on one hand it was clear that by adding to the structure or infrastructure, it would benefit the display and long-term usability of the building, the space's majestic qualities honed from simple materials and techniques could be compromised, so avoided.
This outstanding collection of antiquities, in a variety of mediums, also contributed to increasing the display concerns. It therefore became necessary to carefully tailor the various display environments to respond to the objects' conservation requirements. In order to accomplish this, significant testing was necessary to ensure the integrity of each display and the build quality necessitated extreme precision. In addition, and to enhance the somewhat limited lighting infrastructure, bespoke solutions were devised, to accommodate various LED up lighters and subtly concealed fibre optic light lenses, to generate a refined yet dramatic effect.
The exhibition was opened by the His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani of the Al Thani Collection Foundation, and Mr Luo Shugang, the Minister of Culture of the People's Republic of China. It attracted upwards of 15,000 visitors per day.