Conservation of the Kuwait Towers Discs

The Kuwait Towers are old, and due to more than five decades of marine climate exposure, some of the decorative metal discs started to detach and fall to the ground. Back in 2020, the Kuwait Towers was awarded a grant by the Getty Foundation to conduct a technical study to identify the underlying problem behind the disc detachments and develop conservation protocols for carrying out repairs and maintenance. After delays due to covid, the study was finally completed this year.

A couple of weeks ago I met with architect Zahra Ali Baba (@zhrabba) and engineer Jaber Alqallaf (@jeemroom) both from the National Council for Culture Arts & Letters and part of the team responsible for restoration and rehabilitation of the Kuwait Towers. I got to hear about how they along with the rest of the local team collaborated with international experts on the study and it was very fascinating to say the least.

The towers were built out of concrete in the 70s and studded with 41,000 enameled metal discs in different shades of blue, green, and gray, and in a very specific pattern. In the photo above you can get a better idea of the mechanism that connects the discs to the spheres. Because the towers are located right by the sea they’re exposed to the salty sea air that has corrosive effects on both the concrete and metal. The study was conducted to identify the issues with the discs and then set a plan to fix them.

Another thing I hadn’t thought about before is the fading of the color. Over time the discs have discolored with exposure to all the elements and so the color of the towers today, is slightly different than they used to be.

I never really thought about the towers aging and I drive by them every day with the presumption that they’d always be there. But, unless there is a team working behind the scenes to conserve them, they won’t last forever. Thankfully we have a team, and one that really cares.

Design Kuwait

Google Celebrates Abdulhussain Abdulredha

Today’s Google homepage in the Middle East showcases an illustration created by the talented Kuwaiti illustrator, Ahmed Al-Refaie (owaikeo).

Google is celebrating the Kuwaiti comedian and national icon Abdulhussain Abdulredha on his 83rd birthday. Abdulhussain Abdulredha is widely considered to be one of the Arab community’s most significant actors and playwrights.

Ahmed has uploaded the process behind the illustration as well as some more information which you can check out on his Instagram account @owaikeo


Baladiya’s Fast Response

The garbage situation next to my house isn’t anything new, I mean, I’ve been complaining about it for over a decade now. But last week I had an interesting interaction with the Kuwait Municipality (baladiya) over it. At one point the garbage overflowed as it usually does due to the limited number of bins, but the garbage men were emptying the bin and leaving the overflowed garbage on the floor. The trash was just lying there for 4 days straight and the stench was horrible, you couldn’t drive by it without having to roll up your windows.

Eventually, I had enough and decided to contact the municipality over their WhatsApp number. I sent them a message at 8:22 AM, it was a photo of the garbage taken from my window and the location pin. A minute later they asked for more information which I replied with.

An hour later (9:36 AM) while leaving my house I noticed there was a baladiya bobcat and workers picking up the garbage and throwing it into the bin. They actually acted on the issue super fast. I wasn’t sure if the whole send a complaint thing over WhatsApp was still active so glad it was. ‭If you want to also WhatsApp the municipality over a problem you have their number is 24727732‬.


7 Ways to Get Deported from Kuwait

Alqabas newspaper published a list of 7 different things that could get you deported. A redditor translated the 7 things and they are:

  • Fishing in the Kuwait Bay without permission
  • Littering or Dumping waste in non-approved areas
  • Driving without a valid license
  • Taxi drivers who commit Serious traffic violations
  • Indecent public behavior
  • Working a different job than what’s on your work permit
  • Not renewing annual residency

I like the idea of deporting people if they litter but if that were actually enforced, Kuwait’s population would probably be reduced to a million or less. I guess you could just enforce it for a short time, maybe deport a few hundred people to make a point and that would probably stop people from littering.

Design Kuwait

World’s Largest Net Zero Community Planned for Kuwait

Yesterday the Dubai-based developer URB unveiled plans for XZERO CITY, a net zero carbon destination for 100,000 population that is planned for Southern Kuwait.

XZERO is a planned sustainable community, providing a net zero carbon lifestyle for 100,000 residents, in balance with nature. The city will provide food & energy security whilst promoting a green circular economy in an eco-friendly live, work & visit destination.

The development will provide 30,000 residential units and 30,000 jobs as well as tourism through its various eco-friendly hospitality assets, including a 5-star eco-resort and eco-lodges.

Sounds too good to be true?

I hadn’t heard of the developer URB until last night and looking through their Instagram and website it seems none of the projects they’ve proposed have actually been approved yet. So sadly this looks like a nice presentation but I don’t think anything will come of it.

For more details on the proposed project, click here.

Thanks Hind


360 Mall Currently on Fire

A friend just sent me the video above he took of 360 Mall on fire. Looks like it’s in the new extension near IKEA but hard to tell from the video if its the mall parking that’s on fire or the actual mall. Will post an update once I get more details.

Thanks @nibaq

Update: Looks like fire was put out and doesn’t seem to have been any serious damage.

Kuwait Movies

Lessons of Darkness Now on YouTube

Lessons of Darkness is a film about the Kuwaiti oil fields in flames directed by Werner Herzog and released in 1992. I posted about the movie 8 years ago but it wasn’t available to stream online back then, and now it is.

The style is similar to movies Baraka and Samsara where footage is combined with beautiful music except, in this case, the beautiful footage is mostly of horror and destruction. The first few minutes look like a scene out of a sci-fi film and it’s really an epic-looking film overall.

The film is available on YouTube and in HD. I have no idea how long it will be up there until it gets pulled for copyright reasons so if you haven’t watched the film this is your chance to do so. Here is the link.


The Kuwait Invasion Anniversary

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the 1990 Kuwait Invasion. Every year on the anniversary I like to share some links related to the war, here they are:

Free Kuwait
This is a website that focuses on the campaign that was led by Kuwaitis in exile and is loaded with photos and information.

Kuwait Invasion – The Evidence
This is a website that contains over 1,200 pictures taken right after the 1990 invasion as photographic evidence to all the destruction caused by Iraq.

Short movie: Hearts of Palm
Hearts of Palm is a short movie set on August 2nd 1990 and deals with Kuwaiti students living in Miami Florida during the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait.

The Class of 1990
This is a short documentary about reuniting classmates years after the 1990 Iraqi invasion.

Homemade video from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
Video clips taken by a Kuwaiti family during the Iraqi invasion

Desert Storm Photos
Photos taken by soldiers during Desert Storm.

Short Animation: Sandarah
A captivating story based on true events that took place during the 1990 Iraqi invasion.

First Account of Iraq’s Invasion of Kuwait
Interviews with various Kuwaitis that were in Kuwait during the 1990 invasion.

Iraqi Invasion Pictures
Photos of the Gulf War aftermath.

BBC Documentary: The Last Flight to Kuwait
A series of documentaries on Iraq begins with a look at the fate of British Airways flight BA149 to the Far East in 1990. As the plane landed in Kuwait, Saddam Hussein invaded, capturing its crew and passengers.

Lessons Of Darkness
This film surveys the disaster of the Kuwaiti oil fields in flames, with little narration and scarcely any interviews. Hell on Earth is presented in such transcendent visions and music that one can only be fascinated by it.

Top photo by Steve McCurry, the rest by Bruno Barbey

Information Kuwait

Update on Sahel App in English

A couple of days back I posted about the lack of an English option in the Sahel App and clearly a lot of people are frustrated by this. But I bring you good news!

According to a source involved in the project, the app has had the English option available for a while now but are unable to launch it just yet because some of the entities that are in Sahel have not finished adapting to English and English data. That’s why it’s taken longer than expected to roll out the English version, but it will eventually roll out.

That actually makes a lot of sense. For some reason, I thought it was just about translating the text inside the app to English but I didn’t consider the fact that the English data we input would then have to work with the various different ministries that all deal with Arabic paperwork. The fact that the ministries are now working to have English be an option is actually impressive.


Google Maps Now in Shades of Beige

Ummmm has anyone noticed Google Maps recently? They’ve updated the satellite imagery of Kuwait and the satellite must have passed over during one of our duststorms because all the satellite imagery is now just yucky brown. Link