Case Study; Arabian gold in The Avenues, Kuwait
Harvey Nichols’ gold PVD clad store
The design of the store façade can be probably best described by saying that it looks like lots and lots of towering organ pipes. Convoluted rivulets of gold piping run from floor to ceiling on the main area of the façade and are echoed again on the first floor and in the interior. The façade is not only visible from the outside, it forms part of the backdrop for the Veranda restaurant on the first floor as seen in the image below. The store is located on The Grand Avenue and the feel is that of an outdoor avenue lined with palms and boutiques. Although the store is under cover from an arched glazed canopy the cladding is exactly as if the store were facing the outdoor elements. The cientele were analysed and clearly understood to demand a luxurious shopping experience as well as the opportunity to buy luxury goods. The pressure would be on to make this store stand out , in a shopping complex with this fanfare and levels of expectation. The UK’s Harvey Nichols Edinburgh and Bristol stores restrained claddings of local stones and granites needed to be matched in gravitas and “wow” factor in Middle East terms of reference. The answer could only be gold. This is where the Double Stone Steel PVD coated coloured stainless steel could really be the only alternative to actual gold. The success is indubitable as in every marketing piece for The Avenues, Harvey Nichols’ store is firmly in the frame. The Arabic love of, or indeed reverence for, gold goes back centuries. The first Arabian gold was mined in 3000BC in what is known as “The Cradle of Gold”, its real name being Mahd adh Dhahab, the leading mining area within the Arabian Peninsula. In this instance, the store front is not clad with actual gold (unlike the store designed by Rem Koolhass, Fondazione Prada, Milan which is clad in 24 carat gold leaf). It gleams and has the rich depth of hue and allure of gold but is in fact PVD coated coloured stainless steel. PVD was specified for its durability and ease of handling during construction.
Four IV, the interior designers selected to design the Harvey Nichols Kuwait store, have an established track record for creating interiors for luxury shopping venues. Their work for the Kuwait Harvey Nichols was awarded “Highly Commended” in the 2015 Retail Week Interiors Awards. The store itself contains 500 global brands, the largest children’s department of Harvey Nichols worldwide , personal shoppers, valet parking and a concierge service. The look of the store had to be as luxurious as the merchandise and the shopper’s experience.
The Avenues complex
The Avenues complex designed by Gensler The Avenues consists of 545 stores with a budget of $500 million to build. The Avenues is in the Al Rai district of Kuwait city and has been collaboratively designed by Gensler from their London and Los Angeles studios alongside the developer, Mabanee who are based in Kuwait.
The Harvey Nichols background
Harvey Nichols is a British department store with its original shop founded in Knightsbridge, London by Benjamin Harvey in 1831 located on the corner of Sloane Street. When Benjamin Harvey died in 1850 his wife took on a partner, James Nichols and the store became Harvey Nichols & Co. The store in The Avenues is the first Harvey Nichols to open in Kuwait and is across two floors which gives 10,000 square metres of retail space. The Middle East is the tenth largest market for luxury goods.