Richard Storer-Adam takes us on a tour around the fourteenth largest shopping mall in the world, built in the middle of a desert with more than half a million visitors a week.
Richard Storer-Adam is Managing Director of Double Stone Steel Ltd
A flagship Mall
2007 saw The Avenues open it’s doors for the first time. The owners of The Avenues have continuously strived to develop and enhance the shopping experience of all consumers in Kuwait to outstanding levels. Levels that the very least equal or in many occurrences surpass the shopping experiences enjoyed in Europe or America. The owners’ ambitions for The Avenues are enormous, it is planned to be the 3rd largest mall in the world when finished. These ambitions truly reflect the region’s general optimism and confidence.
The Avenues has set a new benchmark and raised standards throughout the industry, particularly in the Middle East. It truly is a world class shopping and entertainment destination. At the moment, The Avenues is one of the largest malls in the world (14th) and houses more than 800 stores spread over the 7 districts.
To me The Avenues is a wonderful achievement. Built in the scorching desert and at a truly enormous cost, in a country with a small population, it shows the determination of the Kuwaitis in particular and the Arab world in general to invest in their own economies, in their own populations. More than 500,000 people a week take the time to enjoy the mall.
The Avenues Concept was inspired by the natural forms of the desert sand dune, rock formation and the sky. It was designed to attract renowned international brands that could not be found in the region at the time. It was to have spacious mall areas where consumers could relax, meet with family and friends, have something to eat and enjoy the shopping.
It features over 200 stores, restaurants and cafes, some wonderful perfume houses, 11 screens at the massive Cinescape with the wonderful VIP Cinema area.
The home furnishing zone includes international stores, such as Ikea and Pottery Barn, The White Company along with Zara Home with some of these brands making their debuts in Kuwait.
The glass roof is made to allow the sunlight to flood into the internal area which gives the feel of an outdoor space. International designer brands are found here including Mont Blanc and Dupont. The area contains over 200 stores and a wide variety of restaurants and cafes, lots of family entertainment and great play areas for the kids.
There is a Carrefour hypermarket which is the first Carrefour in Kuwait and which is extremely popular with Kuwaitis. Here you find a designated specialty Kids’ zone which contains clothing stores aimed at children and includes several internationally famous high-end designer brands such as Guess Kids, Ralph Lauren Kids, Petit Bateau, Dolce & Gabbana Kids and good old Mothercare. For relaxation-seekers, the 2nd Avenue also houses two top tier Spas.
The Prestige Mall is Kuwait’s largest luxury shopping destination by a very long way, it contains all the high-end brands you could ever want, as well as fabulous cafes and restaurants that serve the finest international cuisine. The Italian designer, Roberto Cavalli opened a beautiful restaurant, clad entirely in jewel-like, mirrored and polished stainless steel panels by Double Stone Steel.
A famous meeting point
The Prestige Mall has an outstanding 23 meter high x 46 meter diameter stainless steel dome. The dome features PVD coated stainless steel by Double Stone Steel. The dome has its own lighting system and has become extremely popular with locals and tourists. If you want to meet someone at The Avenues, you meet them under the dome.
This beautiful dome was fabricated to enhance and reflect the luxurious feel of the outstanding brands in the Prestige Mall, these brands include such households names as Harvey Nichols in Kuwait, Chanel, Burberry, PRADA, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, Berluti and Armani.
The unique stainless steel architectural arches that frame all the stores, utilise copper coloured, PVD coated stainless steel elements fabricated by Double Stone Steel that are beautifully complemented by the ‘Portoro’ stone, which was selected and cut then imported from the mountains of Italy. The Prestige Mall embraces the largest quantity of this exclusive, luxury stone to be used in a public are anywhere in the world. This material is usually found in palaces, stunning is the only word.
Walking down the tree-lined Grand Avenue is much like walking down a grand shopping boulevard in the centre of Europe. The Architecture of the retail facades features three styles – European, local and contemporary. The Grand Avenue Boulevard is covered with a transparent roof structure that reinforces and enhances the feeling of being outdoors. The Boulevard is over 500 meters in length and approximately 22 meters wide. It is a great place to take part in mall-walking. The materials used in the construction of the Grand Avenue are versatile and include Portland Stone, brick (imported from the United Kingdom), ceramics, mosaics, stainless steel and timber.
The streets are paved with natural stone from various different countries of the world – Turkey, Spain, China and Italy. The floor gives architectural character to the district. Includes the “Galleria” zone, which houses a number of fine dining and international restaurants.
This is a two-floor extension to the present shopping experience, holding a variety of recognised brands. It offers a classic mall environment of an architectural style that is contemporary and modern. Includes courtyard plaza that has cafes and restaurants, which enhance the lively atmosphere of the district. The district includes the “The Jewellery”, where the design and color of the retail façades reflect the high value of the goods on sale inside.
It features a beautiful fountain, which allows visitors to enjoy the seating around it. KidZania is located on the first floor, above the “The Jewellery”, and is an entertainment centre that provides children and their parents a safe and unique educational environment that covers an area exceeding 5,000 sq.m.
Influenced by New York’s bohemian Soho district, SoKu is an acronym for the South of Kuwait. SoKu offers an iconic urban shopping experience that was designed to attract Kuwait’s youth, and the district is perfectly poised to house leading brands. These include the Ferrari Store (well it is Kuwait) and Tommy Hilfiger.
Soku’s edgy, urban architecture provides a “street savvy” appeal and a cultural environment that encapsulates everything in up to the minute retailing.Tree shaded courtyards provide focal meeting spaces, strategically positioned to further animate the space. A specialised zone for sportswear and equipment is located on the first floor, housing the best sports brands such as, Nike, Adidas, Reebok, and Soccer Scene.
Modelled to mirror a traditional Kuwaiti Souk (market), this district is an interpretation of this region’s traditional retail architecture. It features narrow winding streets and really is somewhere you can get lost in. It is a lot of fun and shoppers will find lots of traditional and very unique items.
You can extend your visit to the Souk by spending some time relaxing in one of the wonderful cafes and restaurants that offer the very best Kuwaiti cuisine. The Souk is designed to reflect the active daily lives of Kuwaitis in the past.