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The Avenues Kuwait : Al Rai Retail Development

The Avenues, Kuwait Building – design by Gensler

8 Dec 2009

Kuwait Shopping Development

Foundations set at Gensler designed retail city

London – Construction of Phase III of Kuwait’s largest shopping destination is underway, securing interest from leading international retail brands.

Designed in collaboration by the London and Los Angeles offices of global architectural practice Gensler, and in conjunction with Kuwaiti developers Mabanee, Phase III of The Avenues – located in the Al Rai district of Kuwait City – will consist of more than 86,000 sqm of retail space when completed in early 2012.

The Luxury Mall internal; The SoKu ; The Luxury Mall external ; The Mall
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The development will bring together six unique shopping experiences, each with its own character (The Mall, Grand Avenue, SoKu, The Souk, Luxury Mall and Bazaar). Inspiration for the design was taken from leading retail cities where distinctively different districts can be found side by side.

Once complete the third phase will house 545 retail units in total, including 52 food and beverage outlets. The mall has already attracted interest from leading international brands with Harvey Nichols having already agreed terms.

Chris Johnson, managing principal of Gensler London, said of the project: "The Avenues is the region’s premier shopping, lifestyle and entertainment destination and Phase III will elevate this offering, positioning it as a world class retail shopping destination. Truly a retail evolution, The Avenues completely redefines the shopping experience for the consumer; it is as much about place making as it is retail design.

"The scheme takes reference from the great cityscapes and retail locations around the world. These cities emanate vibrancy, character and a diverse range of retail offerings and experiences – a philosophy that leads the Phase III design."

Located close to the centre of Kuwait City, The Avenues has set a benchmark for high quality retail in the region. Phase I of development opened in 2007 and houses more than 230 retail units including an IKEA showroom as well as retail brands Banana Republic, Gap, H&M, Zara. Phase II opened in 2008, offering over 200 higher-end shops, a large food court and outdoor dining venues.

As well as being appointed lead architects on the project, Gensler’s design teams are responsible for delivering the interior design, way finding and marketing materials.

Mohammed Alshaya, Chairman of Mabanee Co. SAK, the owners and developers of The Avenues Mall, commenting on Gensler’s selection and subsequent contribution said: "With the success of the initial two phases of The Avenues, seeing them quickly established as the premier shopping and leisure destination within Kuwait, we were looking to adopt a different design approach for the latest extension.

"The pedigree of Gensler, in providing world class architectural designs, naturally made them the perfect partner for Mabanee as we strive to create another exciting chapter in the continued development of The Avenues. The start of the construction is another milestone for our company, and we look forward to our opening in 2012, offering the population of Kuwait a new and dynamic experience."

The Bazaar ; The Grand Avenue; The Souk
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Introducing the retail areas:

The Mall links Phase III to the existing centre and will provide the widest selection of fashion trends. Within The Mall there will be the Gold Souk – 134 units stocking jewellery of all descriptions.

The Grand Avenue, like SoKu and the Souk, has been designed to feel like an outdoor space. It takes inspiration from tree-lined boulevards and major retail centres around the world. The retail facades are a mix of European, regional and contemporary styles whilst the transparent roof enables natural light to penetrate the space.

SoKu – an acronym for South of Kuwait – takes its inspiration from New York’s bohemian Soho district. Restaurants, cafes and bistros will attract Kuwait’s younger trendier crowd. The edgy, city architecture captures the ‘street savvy’ vibe.

The Bazaar takes inspiration from the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul and will house 34 units below ground.

Luxury Mall will house up to 70 high-end brands, including two anchor tenants, as well as 16 food and beverage units, in deluxe surrounding. This will be the ultimate shopping experience including valet parking and hands free shopping. The focal point of which will be a 21m high central dome.

The Souk provides space for small start-up retailers. Modelled on the customary Kuwaiti Souk, this district is an interpretation of traditional regional retail architecture, including narrow streets.

The Avenues Kuwait City images / information received 081209


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