December 07, 2021

Malls in Kuwait are aplenty, but vibrant, mixed-use community spaces? Not so much. Enter Al Andalus: Kuwait’s latest, trendiest mixed-use project.

Al Andalus is a lifestyle destination – for individuals, families, and businesses alike – promising endless retail, leisure and recreation experiences and interactions. Set to open its doors in early 2022, the project is looking to redefine – even revolutionize – Kuwait’s shopping mall experience. It seeks to create a different kind of space; a community hub and crossroads where people can shop, dine, relax, work, visit the spa or seek medical care.

With a total built up area of 59,000 sqm covering a plot area of just over 10,350 sqm, the project includes 18 floors in total, including: the two levels of the mall itself, a dedicated floor for a gym and spa; six floors for clinics; nine floors for offices featuring modern units of varying sizes; a basement housing an 11-screen cinema; as well as a stand-alone parking structure connected via a bridgeway, which will accommodate up to 1,200 vehicles. For a seamless flow of footfall, each side of the project is serviced by a separate section of elevators.

Here is a closer look at the project:

• What does the design of the project take inspiration from? And how is it different from other malls?

The site for Al Andalus is actually the site of one of Kuwait’s first cinema theatres, called Al-Andalus Cinema, a well-known landmark and cultural pillar. Which is why the project is paying homage by maintaining that name.

The façade of the tower on the project is inspired from the character of the old building. But the overall inspiration for the project comes from urban tissue: the idea was to achieve a human-scale “urban sector” concept, with a strong relationship between interior and exterior spaces with many different viewing perspectives – with the architectural language and proportions respecting the pedestrian scale.

The shopping mall will offer a unique experience, a shopping street mall so to speak, as an alternate option to the typical shopping malls you see Kuwait. It seeks to cater to the community with a new entertainment destination set within an urban context, with a vibrant space offering a multitude of outdoor activities and recreation options, above and beyond the food and beverage offerings.

What makes the general ambience of the project unique is how the spaces interact and fuse together. Different components and facilities seamlessly merge together to create a dynamic, fluid space that encourages movement and interaction. These components include: outdoor spaces, seating areas, the square and plaza areas, walkways, an abundance of greenery, balconies, shades and urban fixtures.

• What are some of the most distinctive materials used for the facades and interiors?

To achieve a timeless architectural look, the materials chosen and used play a key role. Hence, for this project, all facades have been cladded with a unique combination of durable and visually distinct materials, that help achieve the standout signature aesthetic we are looking for: an open street feel,

The tower façades are cladded with Classical Roman Travertine stone, with a rough finish which ages nicely.

The podium has a variety of materials, such as the copper metal mesh, which keeps changing color perpetually with time. Next to it, a block has been cladded with European Antique Clay Brick, a traditional warm material to ensure the genuineness of the development with time.

Other components are cladded with Jura limestone, proven to be highly durable in Kuwait’s harsh weather, in various different finishes and patterns.

As for the outdoor flooring, we have selected the Italian Porphyry cobblestone with a rough finish, to give the plaza and the outdoor space a classically-inspired pedestrian feel. With two directional strips of Travertine marble which are set to stretch the scale of the space.

As for the interiors, since the project is core and shell for the tenant spaces, only public areas were treated with the same standards, with flooring covered with Jura grey stone vein cut with honed finish to also reflect the age of the project. In parallel, all core walls are dressed with the Mocca Cream Portuguese stone honed finish – all in big pieces to reflect the grandness of the spaces.

• What are the construction works currently taking place?

Currently the construction is in its final stages. All concrete works have been completed, followed by the external skin and the stone cladding – with glazing having reached considerable progress, where you can see plainly the combination of all the different elements. The electro-mechanical works are also being handled in parallel.

At this point, the landscape area is being prepared to receive all layers of infrastructure and finishing with the plantation.

The overall progress of works is currently at approximately at 80%.

• When are construction works expected to be completed?

The works are expected to be achieved by end of this year, including the testing and commissioning of all systems. Of course, the snagging shall continue throughout the soft opening and tenant fit-out period to ensure optimal conditions and results.

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