Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Tour at Arab Organizations Headquarters Building

Several years ago I had my first tour to the Arab Organizations Headquarters Building, located in Shuwaik-Kuwait.  And I remember I was completely astonished by how technologically advanced the building was and how spectacular the architectural details were. This weekend, I had a friend visiting from out of town and thought it would be a great idea to take her there for a visit and refresh my memory too. And I’m glad I did. The building is a masterpiece of architectural detail and rare craftsmanship. A must see by every single person living in Kuwait. 

The building is home to four major Arab organizations: the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development, OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries), the Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation and the Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Company. You can find out more about it by clicking here

The tour was a marvel of unique architecture and a mix of modern with traditional artisan craftsmanship from Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Syria, Morocco, and contributions from Kuwaiti artists. I’d like to share with you some of my favorite moments and some really interesting facts about the building. 

Take for example this massive hand-carved door, shown on the photo above. This door is used as the main entrance of the building. Each door weighs one ton, and they're so well balanced that they will open at the touch of a finger. The doors reminded me of a building I have been to in Italy a few years back called The Pantheon.

Update: Thanks to Chizwa for reminding me to mention the following fact. that all of building's architectural and interior details and the art on display has to be credited to one person only, Mr. Abdulutif Al Hamad, Chairman of the Board. Something we as Kuwaities should all be proud of.

A wooden sculpture designed by a Kuwaiti Artist called Jafar Islah in 1986 was displayed at the building's lobby. 

A beautiful dining table designed by Lebanese artist Nada Debs which is known for mixing traditional and middle eastern elements with minimal and far-eastern concepts.
Do you see the trees at the back? Well, they are over 40 years old, imported from Holland, AND they rotate! Yup, to ensure that all sides of the tree get the right amount of light. And can even be lowered and repositioned if necessary.

The back of the spiral staircase inside the library was completely covered with wooden parquet. 

Everywhere we went, we couldn't see a single electrical wire on the wall or on the floor. They were smartly hidden in the most creative ways. One was this! At first glance you'd think it's just a regular plant pot, but after a close inspection, you notice that only a small part is actually the plant pot. The rest is used as a camouflage for hidden electrical compartments. Smart! 

Antiques and art pieces were displayed almost everywhere. Some goes back to more than 120 years ago! 
Beautifully lit ceiling. Check out the details of the carving. Stunning!

This is a very interesting design of lights covered with calligraphic verses. The interesting part is that you can read the verses by looking at it's shadow reflected on the marble-covered walls. 

This marble table in the conference room reflects the designs of the ceramic tile panels and lighting
Some paintings at the building. My favorite is the one in the above photo by Syrian artist Sabhan Adam
Inside the mosque...
All the stones and bricks used inside the mosque were imported from Alhambra in Spain

*Thanks to The Grapevine for announcing this tour.

8 comments:

miss ghesquiere said...

this is really nice!! the calligraphy lights are amazing. I always see it on the way to villa and always wanted to go in but i didnt think you could if you were not an employee.

Anonymous said...

I worked there; absolutely amazing kelyom nekteshef new stuff. o qema fel shara7eya ;-)

Amani said...

huh brethtaking <3

Confashion said...

miss ghesquiere
I was under that same impression but thanks to thegrapevine.com I came to know that they had a guided tour :)

Anonymous
I'm not surprised! I was thinking how wonderful would it be to work in such a beautiful place. I hope work was fun too?

Amani
totally... siiiigh

star said...

hi I attended a conference once and it was an amazing experience loved the art work soo much

I Heart Apple Chai said...

Ideally, they should be letting people in - on guided facility tours (on Fridays) of say, Arab Organizations Headquarters, Bayan Palace, the Amiri Diwan, the VVIP terminal at Kuwait International, the Liberation Tower, GUST campus among other places of newsy architecture in town.
There's good money earning potential here!

Chizwa said...

This is such a great post. The Arab fund building in Kuwait is amazing. We should recognize that this attention to detail within the interiors, the collection of art and antiques, and the advanced facilities that are unique to the Arab fund should be credited to Mr. Abdulutif AlHamad, Chairman of the board. His passion has become our pride.

Confashion said...

Star
The conference room was really beautiful! So grand and it actually felt like being in a UN building or sth! :)

I Heart Apple Chai
There you go.. a new business opportunity ;)
And I couldn't agree more to ur suggestion!

Chizwa
You're absolutely right. The tour guide did mention that and we were all amazed by this fact. And I have also read about it in the Art and patronage too! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. :)
http://www.confashionsfromkuwait.com/2011/05/art-patronage.html

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