A huge installation… at a drop of a hat.


No two days are the same here at Orchard, and with Wales qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup for the first time in 64 years, it was time to put our creative hats on.With Cymru heading to Qatar, we were challenged with installing a 3m tall bucket hat in Doha for the Welsh Government in support of our national team’s World Cup journey.


The conversation went a bit like this


‘We need a Wales bucket hat’ – ok that’s easy enough.

‘In Qatar’ – still possible, air freight will handle that.

‘It needs to be 3m tall’ – it’s getting interesting, that’s a big hat!

‘It’s to be sited in a public space on the Corniche’ – OK…

‘And we only have three weeks to do this’ – now that’s a challenge!

The original plan was to build the hat in the UK and ship it to Qatar for installation – that way we could control the entire process. Five similar hats were being built already for installation throughout Wales, one more wouldn’t make much difference… But we’d missed the shipping deadline and airfreight would be totally impractical, so we had to get it built locally.

Finding a Qatari-based supplier to deliver this high-profile activation in the run-up to the World Cup was hard, so we reached out to our international networks. We called on our UAE partner One Union who went through their little black book and pulled in some favours. We managed to secure a builder in Qatar who could squeeze us in!

Deadlines were already tight – we had no plans or drawings, but we had to keep moving. Our material of choice, fibreglass, wasn’t an option as we didn’t have time to build a mould. Fabric and a metal frame wouldn’t work as the sun would bleach the fabric and it wouldn’t be secure enough – so we finally decided on sculpting it in Blue Styrofoam and painting the outdoor coating.

With one hurdle down and the hat in construction, we needed to work out how to mount, light and brand it. So, a further dip into our contact list brought back some partners in Qatar and UAE who were able to provide construction, audio-visual and printing onsite.

Our Project Management team back in Cardiff were responsible for the regulatory processes of signing off installing a 10ft high hat with internal light in a public space during an extremely busy construction period on the Corniche – the waterfront promenade in Doha Bay – and the team managed to pull this off totally remotely. In the back of our minds (and budget) was the ability to jump on a flight to Doha if required. We had travel agents on standby if a last-minute journey was needed, but thanks to the experience and dedication of our staff in Wales and the support of our partners on the ground it wasn’t needed.

The installation was a complete success and the hat turned into a focal point for Welsh fans, a hub for the First Minister’s visit, a backdrop for endless international media interviews, and a base for an impromptu performance of Yma o Hyd by Dafydd Iwan!
Hat’s off to our awesome team – that was a huge tick off Orchard’s bucket hat list!

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