Last weekend, Astragal jetted to Doha, Qatar, for the star-studded opening of the latest architectural jewel in the Persian Gulf, the jaw-dropping Museum of Islamic Art (pictured above) by nonagenarian US architect I M Pei.
Rubbing shoulders were Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, artist Damien Hirst, gallerist Jay Jopling and Tate head Nicholas Serota (the last two presumably sniffing around for some recession-proof art collectors and donors). Legendary actor Robert De Niro (pictured above right) was also there, having flown out to launch the Tribeca Film Festival Doha, a branch of the festival he runs in New York. The day after the party, De Niro swept up to his press conference at Pei’s new museum by boat, before getting stuck in the outdoor lift that brings visitors from the jetty to the plaza of the museum. As photographers ruthlessly snapped away, the doors just would not open. Asked what he thought of the museum, the unscripted De Niro said he ‘had no words to describe it’. Must have forgotten his lines, thought Astragal.