Desert Nation in Transformation

Desert Nation in Transformation

May 2019

Everyone is talking about Qatar, the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The emirate in the Persian Gulf is currently not only building stadiums, however, but also changing its entire infrastructure. Among those involved is a cunning salesman who is shaping the country’s new image using technology from Niederönz.

When the first oil deposits were discovered in Qatar in 1939, it created a gold rush atmosphere in the desert nation. The “black gold” quickly developed into the new economic mainstay of the emirate on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. In the 1970s, one of the largest natural gas fields in the world was added to the portfolio. This guaranteed Qatar reserves for the next 150 years – at least.

Today, a renewed sense of change prevails in the richest country in the world: “Vision 2030” was initiated under the leadership of the Emir of Qatar. The desert nation is planning to develop from a car country to one with a networked city and good connections to all suburbs – with the goal of creating a higher quality of life. Districts and new quarters outside of Doha will become accessible with a new metro system.

The result of a lengthy design process and many prototypes: Final assembly of a metro sign
The result of a lengthy design process and many prototypes: Final assembly of a metro sign

Old Tradition, New Vision

With his metal processing company Gulfcrafts, Vicken Deyirmenjian is advancing the implementation of this vision. The native Armenian moved to Doha from Lebanon almost 20 years ago. Mr. Vicken, as he is called in Qatar, wanted to leave the war-torn land behind and sought safety for his family and his new business venture. “I was exhausted from the unstable political situation,” Deyirmenjian recalls. The search for stability and new opportunities led him to Doha. His new home offers exactly what he lacked in Lebanon. Natural resources have not only brought prosperity to the emirate, but also security. For many years, Qatar has therefore been popular among migrants and expats.

Craftsmanship has a long tradition in Vicken Deyirmenjian’s family. In Armenia, his grandfather ran a small workshop for manufacturing brass objects. His father carried on this tradition in Lebanon, and produced souvenirs and everyday objects at first. Later, he expanded his line of business to trophies for sports events and signs of all kinds. His offspring further continued the family tradition. Deyirmenjian founded his company in Qatar, Gulfcrafts, and started producing trophies and medals. At that time, it was a four-man operation. Today, the company has 450 employees.

Opening Doors at a Height of 300 Meters 

Shortly after founding the company, Deyirmenjian took on smaller orders for signage. The big breakthrough came in 2004, when the Olympic Tower was built in Doha. The highest building in Qatar, it rises to a proud 300 meters and is designed to represent a torch; thus, the tower is known today as The Torch Doha. Gulfcrafts designed and produced all of the internal and external signage. “When we installed the Olympic rings at a height of 300 meters, that was an emotional moment,” Deyirmenjian remembers.

After this prestigious contract, the busy Mr. Vicken’s intense development work paid off: Gulfcrafts established itself as a specialist for signage. The company won over numerous companies as customers, along with the Doha city planning office. However, this flood of orders also brought new challenges: “I realized that we needed our own laser cutting system in order to manage the orders in a timely manner,” says Deyirmenjian. Around ten years ago, the entrepreneur came across Bystronic at EuroBLECH. “The attractive design of the machines particularly caught my attention.” After the trade show, the Gulfcrafts applications were put on the test stand in the Experience Center in Niederönz, and a detailed report with the test result was sent to Doha. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Vicken ordered his first laser cutting system, a Bystar 3015.

Read the complete story in Bystronic World 1.19

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