Option One International is an architectural engineering and project management firm that takes pride in having a progressive, non-conventional team that has breathed life into Kuwait and the region at large.
A prime example of its innovative architectural projects is Sahari Mall in the town of Jahra which lies approximately 30 kilometres to the west of Kuwait City.The plot is located at the heart of the town on the main high street and, positioned within walking distance between the new Co-Op and the latest shopping mall, it completes a triangle of destinations around a central government plot featuring one of Kuwait’s few natural wells.
The challenge for the design team was to create a responsible design that is modern, yet culturally relevant; a design that has a positive impact not only on the project site and community, but also on the environment despite the very restrictive regulations of Kuwait Municipality in Jahra. Its exterior is designed to resemble the curved sand dunes of Al-Jahra, traditional tents, the sails of the Dhows, swords of the Al-Arda dance and palm tree fronds giving shade.This dynamic design offers an ever-changing aspect of the building, reflecting the differing state of the sun. Naturally, it is essential in the Middle East to protect buildings from the extreme heat and the sun, hence the amount of glazing is minimised to the ground floor and shaded by canopies.
The interior concept focuses around the central tent, marrying local sustainable building traditions with high tech applications such as double layer PTFE-PVC tent material and high-performance glass.The original design brief was for individually let small shop units of around 22m2, a food court at mezzanine level and an entertainment zone in the basement area. However, during the construction process, key anchor tenants were secured and this demanded different internal layouts. The result was a flexible layout of the shops in order to allow varying tenancy agreements according to current retail market demands. At ground level, the atrium area may be used for seating and tables where visitors can enjoy a tea or coffee.This area is also available for use by the anchor tenants should they wish to use stands and stalls during special promotions.
A central atrium is covered by the cone tent which is supported by a flying mast.This proves the icon of the building and the celebratory focal point from which different parts of the mall are
accessed via the cantilevering balcony corridors. Artistic filigree balustrades repeat the theme of colours and curves of the facade giving visitors a sense of familiarity.The project has its own car park which provides 74 spaces, half of these are located in the basement which helps to inject life into the areas located there.
The appearance of Sahari Mall is so pleasingly aesthetic that a visiting client requested permission from the developer to extend the design to his own neighbouring plot and the Panasonic showroom is now under construction. Imitation is indeed the most sincere form of flattery.