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Jewel Changi Airport refutes Qatar Airways and airport CEO’s design ‘copying’ allegations

Jewel Changi Airport has been reportedly accused of “copying” Hamad International Airport’s design which was reportedly in the works for close to six years ago. The accusation was made during a press conference held in Doha two weeks ago, where Qatar Airways CEO and Hamad International Airport CEO Akbar Al Baker said to the media that the design was “copied by individuals from that country”.

Without explicitly mentioning Jewel, several media outlets quoted the CEO saying that the difference between the two was that “one is a shopping mall, and one is an international airport”.

Hamad International Airport revealed its expansion plans at the press conference, which included a indoor tropical garden as well as a water feature. According to an official press release, the expansion plan also includes a landscaped retail and F&B space to enhance the multi-dimensional offerings of the airport. In addition, the Hamad International Aiport will also feature an Al Mourjan lounge that has spas, gymnasiums, restaurants and business centres.

Meanwhile, Jewel Changi was unveiled in April this year and was designed by Changi Airport Group (CAG) and architect Moshe Safdie. Jewel Changi was designed as a multi-dimensional tourist destination featuring a Forest Valley and Rain Vortex. CAG said in an earlier statement that the concept for Jewel’s design represents the juxtaposition of a park and marketplace. Marketing has reached out to CAG, Hamad International Airports and Safdie Architects for a statement.

In an ST article, CAG chief executive Lee Seow Hiang said for CAG, the mission for Jewel was to create a “game-changing airport experience”. He added that Safdie Architects were appointed after a pitch process in 2012. According to Lee, lead architect Safdie has not worked in Qatar, and has not travelled to that region.

Safdie said in a statement to ST that the team is “delighted” that Jewel’s “uniqueness and originality” has been recognised internationally and even resulted in many wanting to “emulate” it.

“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,” Lee said.

Jewel has been making headlines in recent times and CAG has been working hard to extend the longevity of the buzz with a brand film and launch of animated stickers. At Jewel’s recent official opening Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong touted Jewel as one of the “instantly recognisable icons of Singapore”. According to the PM, the place has been “gushed over” by foreign leaders he has spoken to as well as media outlets such as the New York Times, which has featured Jewel in an article describing how visiting Singapore was “a trip to the future”.

Teaser images from Hamad International Airport:

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[MARKETING is proud to once again present PR Asia in Singapore this year. Join us for a series of exclusive case studies, interactive and thought-provoking discussions this 13-14 November in Singapore and discover the latest strategies, insights and groundbreaking ideas to elevate your PR practice. Register now!]

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