The names of upmarket stores and retail outlets include Van Cleef & Arpels, Caran D’Ache, Dunhill and Gap. The features of the Villagio Mall include a miniature Venetian canal complete with gondoliers, a play area and lots and lots of places for people to spend all their cash.
What they didn’t seem to have is a fire-fighting plan, sprinklers, evacuation schemes and trained personnel; or even a fire alarm which wasn’t routinely ignored by everyone familiar with the huge complex. I have helped build and commission malls and shopping centres, I know how complex and cumbersome the safety requirements can be; but they have to be observed.
Qatar’s Sheik Abdullah said all buildings in the country abide by safety requirements. Seems a pity that small children had to die before this statement was proved, shall we say, inadequate!