Kuwait Rising

Kuwait Rising

Sahar Ghazale, Thomas Klein International, TKI

A national committee will be set up to enforce the green building coding system in Kuwait, according to a report by Ventures Middle East with the Al Ahmad International Financial Centre designated as the first LEED certified structure in the region.

Sahar Ghazale, a Lebanese/American interior designer living in the city, said the country has always been keen on design and architecture. “Kuwait has a background of appreciating good design and its benefits,” she said.

Thomas Klein International (TKI) and its Chicago-based architects, PS Studio, have unveiled the design concept of the Wasabi outlet for Sultan Group. It will serve Japanese cuisine and draws inspiration from the traditional paper folding techniques of Origami and Kirigami.

“The restaurant is divided into three main seating areas, across two levels, and each area is defined by a different spatial ‘fold’, different in colour and material. The three folds are comprised of wood, metal and textile respectively.

Another design highlight is Hermès, which opened its first store in Kuwait City. With its façade of openwork metal panels, the 300m2 store reflects the spirit of the Parisian house interpreted by the architecture agency RDAI, (Rena Dumas Architecture Intetieure), which is based in Paris and is responsible for the design of all Hermès stores worldwide.

TKI was also tasked with developing the interior of Prime & Toast. The main feature of the restaurant is the vertical farming section which represents the fresh produce used, and the rest of the space was designed around this idea.

“We have adapted the design slightly so that the vertical farming structure will be located adjacent to the window, allowing all the plants access to natural light,” said Daniel During, principal and managing director, TKI.

“The location of the vertical farming structure also means that the plants will act as a natural curtain to soften the incoming light into the restaurant.”

The number of projects underway add weight to Ghazale’s opinion that there is an increasing acknowledgement towards the need for interior design in both residential and commercial projects. She said the challenges, however, lie in the market’s supply of state-of-the-art material and the proper professionals to apply these finishes.

“In that matter, many companies and designers are forced to provide them through personal efforts. Progress still needs to be made in the FF&E sector.

“On a positive note, the prevalence of a young generation known for travelling at every opportunity, and eager to start new businesses with trendy images, is a great factor in shaping the present and future perception to the importance of interior design,” she added.

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