The discreet glamour of ceramics
Kuwait City is an outstanding real-world example of Marc Augé’s most celebrated essay. A place of supermodernity with soaring skyscrapers, a fantasy island straight out of Peter Pan (the famous Green Island) and hotels worthy of the Thousand and One Nights, it is hardly a surprise that it should also boast one of the largest shopping malls on the planet.
Called The Avenues, the mall is located in the Al-Rai area along the Fifth Ring Road. In all, it has around 800 shops and department stores offering the widest variety of merchandise, from haute couture to sportswear, from home decor to food, as well as cinemas, restaurants, bars, leisure and entertainment areas, spas and wellness centres. In this fantastic architectural landscape, visitors stroll between glazed pavilions and indoor fountains, European style palaces and spaces reminiscent of the street life of SoHo in New York, traditional Arab neighbourhoods inspired by ancient souks and artefacts that embody all the expressive power of our own times.
One of the most exclusive areas is the Prestige enclave, home to some of the most renowned worldwide luxury brands from Prada to Louis Vuitton, from Christian Dior to Chanel, and from Burberry to Harvey Nichols — the brand we will look at in this article. Founded in 1831 by Benjamin Harvey, the group is now an international luxury and fashion giant controlled by Hong Kong businessman Dickson Poon, whose retail sector activities stretch from North America to Europe, from Japan to China and Southeast Asia.
The store designed for The Avenues spans two floors and an area of 10,000 square metres and brings together a total of 500 international fashion brands, as well as exclusive products, beauty treatments, a concierge, valet parking and personal shopping.
It also houses the largest childrenswear department ever created by the group.
The project was designed by London-based agency Four IV which operates in the fields of graphics and interior design and specialises in integrated projects and services for some of the world’s most important luxury goods retailers.
The practice’s association with Harvey Nichols Group has become consolidated over the years through store projects in Istanbul, Ankara and most recently Kuwait City, each with a unique design for an original shopping experience.
For The Avenues, the London-based practice created a sequence of fluid spaces where the envelope and furnishings appear to melt away in a transparent, pale coloured atmosphere and the volumes are highlighted by subtle golden backgrounds, allowing the fashion products and garments to receive the attention they deserve. The design of the surfaces was crucial to the success of the project, in particular the seamless floor covering.
With this in mind, the designers chose the More collection from Ceramiche Caesar, full-body porcelain tiles that deliver the technical performance essential for high-traffic surfaces in the widest range of sizes, colours and installation solutions. In this specific project, the tiles were laid in a diamond pattern produced by waterjet cutting from a 90×90 cm size in a matt finish and colours Lux, Manhattan, Eclypse, Nylus and Sahara.
Caesar, More series
Lux, Manhattan, Eclypse
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <= 145 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >= 50 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 matt
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant