Forum: Changi Airport should stop others from copying Jewel's design

The expansion plans for Qatar's Hamad International Airport, unveiled in Doha two weeks ago, feature an indoor waterfall and massive gardens (left) that are strikingly similar to what Jewel Changi Airport offers.
The expansion plans for Qatar's Hamad International Airport, unveiled in Doha two weeks ago, feature an indoor waterfall and massive gardens (left) that are strikingly similar to what Jewel Changi Airport offers.PHOTOS: HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT/FACEBOOK, ST FILE

It is tough to comprehend the allegation made by Mr Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer of Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport, that Changi Airport had copied the design of Doha's air hub for Jewel Changi Airport (Garden concept for airport: Who's the copycat?, Nov 4).

Singapore has long positioned itself as a Garden City and City in a Garden that is situated in a region known for its lush tropical rainforests.

Jewel is a manifestation of that brand positioning.

Any green and blue references that it might have drawn from other structures most certainly did not hail from the arid brown deserts of Qatar, but right here at Marina Bay Sands - namely, the Rain Oculus art installation by American sculptor Ned Kahn, and the ArtScience Museum's rain harvesting facility - as well as the Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay.

The onus is on Mr Al Baker and Hamad International Airport to provide concrete evidence that staff from Changi Airport were present at the discussions for his airport's expansion plans to plagiarise them.

If not, he should immediately retract his defamatory remarks, and withdraw Hamad International Airport's copycat design from implementation.

Singapore has long positioned itself as a Garden City and City in a Garden that is situated in a region known for its lush tropical rainforests. Jewel is a manifestation of that brand positioning.

Changi Airport can and should take steps to prevent any plagiarism of Jewel's key design features, and ensure that its friends and partners respect intellectual property rights as much as it does.

Toh Cheng Seong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2019, with the headline 'Changi Airport should stop others from copying Jewel's design'. Print Edition | Subscribe