My apartment makeover

Posted by Mark

Back in April I bought the Bang & Olufsen A9 sound system for my apartment. The A9 had looked so beautiful in the store but when it came time to take photos of it for my blog I just couldn’t make it look good which is why I ended up using stock photos from their website instead. I realized I couldn’t make it look good because my apartment looked horrible. Around the same time I was invited by the team at West Elm in Avenues to pass by and check out their store. I had only passed by the store from outside before and had gotten the impression it was an expensive brand so never really went in. But on that day I got shown around the place and I just fell in love with everything since their furniture had a very New York loft feel. Then I found out their prices were slightly more expensive than IKEA but less than THE One and it hit me, I needed a makeover. My apartment was looking outdated and I needed a fresh start anyway with my recent divorce and all so I asked them if they’d be interested in doing a makeover and they liked the idea. Last week I finally had everything done.

My apartment is a beautiful duplex located in one of my favorite places in Kuwait, the old Salmiya shopping street. The apartment has very nice space and a lot of potential but wasn’t getting any TLC. When I first moved in I was broke and couldn’t afford to furnish it properly and then later when I did have money I was spending it all on my apartment in Lebanon. Not only that but the walls had the most horrible colors that somehow seemed like a good idea years ago. The first thing I did when West Elm came over to check my place out was let them know what my issues were with the current setup and what I was expecting from the makeover. For example my living space had enough seating for around 5 people so when my friends were coming over I wouldn’t have enough space for everyone and the space I already had was very focused around the TV. I couldn’t have big lunches or dinners at my place either since my dinning room table fit only 4 people. I hated the lights in my apartment, I hated my kitchen which was an ugly purple and my living space was a bright magenta (it was a phase I went through so don’t judge me) which I honestly couldn’t stand anymore. I didn’t want a TV in my new space because I thought having a TV would be anti social plus I already had a TV room upstairs. I wanted the space to be very social and one that could hold a lot of people. Usually when people come over the groups are divided between the kitchen and the living space so I wanted people sitting in the living space to be facing the kitchen so they’re more connected. Finally I needed to have my iMac downstairs because I do most of my work on my iMac and I didn’t want to take any work with me upstairs. Based on those criteria’s we sat down and decided what we were going to do.

The first thing we decided on obviously was to change the color of the walls. They recommended I go with a dark grey which I was hesitant to at first but now I’m so glad I did. I also ended up ordering really beautiful Orla Kiely wallpaper to add a bit of color to the walls. I’ve loved Orla Kiely’s stem patterns for a very long time and figured it would give a slightly retro feel to the space which it did. I’ve also always loved baby blue walls and thought it would match perfectly with my KitchenAid Mixer so I had my kitchen painted a baby blue. I actually ended up repainting my whole apartment including my bedroom and my TV room since after I saw what a big difference it made to my space downstairs I wanted to change everything.

On my first visit to the West Elm store the first thing that caught my eye was an incredible bookcase/sculpture they had on display. I right away asked them about it and they told me it wasn’t for sale and that it was actually built by one of their talented employees out of wood recycled from their crates. It was love at first sight and I knew I had to have it. So after nagging them about it they finally told me I could take it. This was going to be the centerpiece to my living space. It was just insane looking, it wasn’t perfect, it had flaws and it was all over the place but that’s who I was and that’s why I needed this.

For the couch we decided to go with the Tillary 8-piece Sectional. It was comfortable, cozy and it would fit perfectly in my space while holding a lot of people. It came in a bunch of colors but I wanted grey which I thought was very bachelor pad’ish and worked well with the wallpaper and the black glossy floor. For the dinning room table we went with the Parker Dining Table. I liked it because it was minimal while still looking slightly retro like my wallpaper and it was also expandable so it could hold 6 people when closed and 8 when open. To give the table a funky touch we chose the John Vogel designed chairs and got matching barstool versions to use with my kitchen bar. Finally the accessories and lights, they had a ton to choose from and other than the lights I let them decide on the accessories for me and damn what a difference the accessories make. The rugs and the random accessories on my tables all around the apartment just give the place such a warm and cozy feel.

I can’t believe how my place looks so different after the makeover. I still need to buy my dinnerware and a few more accessories from them but the overall look is done. The difference is night and day and I now love spending time chilling on my couch listening to music while browsing on my iPad or hanging out with friends. Friends are also loving the fact that I don’t have a TV in the space since without it all the attention goes on socializing. To think all this started because of my Bang & Olufsen A9. I just wanted it to look good at home and I ended up getting a whole makeover done around it. Now my A9 looks like it was made for the space and the bookcase looks like it was built around it. If you’re interested in checking them out, West Elm is located in Avenues Phase III near Harvey Nichols and opposite Life with Cacao. Here is a link to their [Facebook Page]

Photos of the bookcase and accessories were taken by the super talented @tammyque


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Graffiti Supplies at “Not Just a Pop-up”

Posted by Mark

If you’re looking for graffiti supplies I found some for sale last night at the “Not Just a Pop-up” event that was held at Dar Al-Funoon (behind Casper & Gambini in Kuwait City). The event was supposed to be just one night but they’ve extended it for two more hours tonight, 8PM to 10PM. They had Montana spray cans, a collection of caps as well as Krink markers and some stencil books. So if you want any tonight is the last night to pass by.


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Event: Class of Chairs 2013

Posted by Mark

Date: Wednesday 24th to Friday 26th July 2013
Time: 9:30PM to 11:30PM
Location: Contemporary Art Platform

Update: Here is some more info from their Facebook page

The Class of Chairs is a satirical commentary on the stereotypical characters found within school life. The school culture in Kuwait is relatable to Hollywood’s pop-cultural representation of the high school hierarchy and social groups found in playgrounds and classrooms.

The collection of chairs is a literal adaptation of the different student typecasts found in international and public schools in Kuwait. Each chair represents an individual high school persona, where the character’s attributes are translated in the design aspect of its material and functional use.

The template of each chair was based on the classical 1950’s European school chair in which different manufacturing processes were used to materialistically translate the different student characteristics. The Class of Chairs attempts to evoke nostalgic scenes of past high school memories to create a relatable experience for the viewer.

Collaboration between :
Aseel AlYaqoub, Jassim AlSaddah, Yousef Al-Mehdari


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Jaber Al-Ahmad Olympic City in 3D

Posted by Mark

The concept consists of a plan in the shape of infinity, around the existing Jaber Stadium and a new man-made lake on which will float three Olympic sized stadia. Contained within the main superstructure are another Olympic stadium, a five star hotel and a shopping centre. The tower, working within the long tradition of Kuwaiti tower-based architectural icons, contains a seven star hotel as well as luxury apartments, VIP suites for the stadium, and a Michelin star restaurant with extraordinary views. [Source]

I’m guessing the project was never approved since the last I heard of this was back in 2011. [Vimeo]


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Design the National Assembly logo

Posted by Mark

The Kuwait National Assembly have a logo competition taking place, if you’re interested to give it a shot head over to their website [Here]

The rules and details are in Arabic and I can’t seem to find the English version. Don’t worry though the last day to submit a logo is November 1st so you have lots of time to have someone translate it for you.

Oh and the first prize is a cool KD5,000.

Photo by Jeff van der Wees
Thanks Rayboy

Update: Mustapha translated the competition guidelines into English. You can check it out [Here]


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Event: Not Just a Pop-Up

Posted by Mark

Visual Therapy presents their first ever art show, “Not Just a Pop-Up”, featuring original artwork and prints by Kuwaiti artist F160 and Brooklyn-based artist Zebadiah Keneally.

Local graffiti artist Monstariam will be painting a live mural during the show which will also include a graffiti shop offering a unique selection of street art supplies and merchandise. In addition, the shop will debut Visual Therapy‘s 2nd t-shirt collaboration. This time they teamed up with Iranian artist A1one, a pioneer of the street art movement in Tehran.

Date: July 16th 2013
Time: 8-11PM
Location: Dar Al-Funoon.

Please visit www.visualtherapyonline.com for more details, and follow @VisualTherapy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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Kuwait Cultural Centre scale model

Posted by Mark

The scale model (above) of the Kuwait Cultural Centre (rendering below) is currently being exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts for the summer. From all the projects that are currently being worked on this is the one I am most excited about. I just love the design.

Check out the scale model [Here]
Check out more info and renderings [Here] and [Here]


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Spotted in Mishref

Posted by Mark

Photo by @ovnadal


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Burj Al Shaya

Posted by Mark

These renderings are the final approved concept for Burj Al Shaya designed by Gensler, the same architects behind The Avenues. The building consists of two towers, the tall tower will serve as the new Alshaya headquarters while the second shorter tower will be the Four Seasons Hotel. The location of this building is next to Burj Jassim in Kuwait City and it’s expected to be completed by mid 2015. From what I understood Alshaya haven’t released the renderings to the public yet but some people have leaked them online. Those two in this post are the only ones I’ve been able to find.

[Source1] [Source2]


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Zaha Hadid wins competition for Saudi Arabian metro station

Posted by Mark

I would love to spend a day inside Zaha Hadid’s mind. Construction will supposedly start this summer and be completed by 2017. [Link]

And Kuwait, where’s our metro at?


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