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Option One International is a Project Management and Architectural / Engineering firm that offers a boutique-like, professional service where the client can deal directly with the partners and know that their project will be given the utmost in careful attention.

The company has two award-winning projects featured here, Ahli United Bank (AUB) Headquarters in Bahrain and Mermaid Residential Complex in Kuwait. ‘Balance’ is the word that AUB identified as being key to the success of its new HQ.This balance had to be between the need to provide an equal focus on staff, place and technology as well as the need for the architecture to reflect an image of a youthful. non-conformant and rapidly growing bank.

The result is that the sinuous facade reflects the progressive attitude of AUB whereas the tediously straight wall symbolises the bank’s perseverance and its purposeful, business-oriented culture. The grand wall plays another metaphoric role acting as a reminder of Bahrain’s own name which it assumed after Islam. It symbolises the ‘Barzakh’, which is the barrier that separates the ‘sweet water’ from the ‘salt water referred to in the holy Qur-an.

At the time of planning and design, the area surrounding the site was undeveloped architecturally except for City Bank building across the road.This gave Option One International the opportunity to establish the identity for the future architectural trend in the area. The resulting five-storey building sets a new standard whilst, together with City Bank, creates a gateway for Sanabis.Ahli United Bank Headquarters has also managed to separate itself from the 40-storey blue tower in the background instead of trying to compete with it.

With Mermaid Residential Complex, instead of designing yet another 20 storey high residential tower, the 40 x I 60m2 boomerang shaped waterfront plot features SO duplex villas. Designed over five levels and containing 10 villas per floor, the building gives each property the benefit of a sea view. All amenities are located on the roof including an infinity swimming pool, health club, squash court, multi-purpose hall, barbecue area and children’s playground.

In order to give the duplexes the level of privacy typical of a villa, all units can be accessed by car using a ramp or car lift to their back gardens.The first 10 villas on the ground floor have private swimming pools to compensate for their sea view being somewhat compromised. Each villa of approximately 350m2 has
two levels with the lower one containing a double height reception, living and dining areas and a spacious kitchen.The upper level has a family lounge, master bedroom with en suite bathroom, and two additional bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. Additionally, each villa is provided with a large terrace at lower level for spill over space during parties.

The airy double height living spaces were designed to create a panoramic sea view by providing a glass screen of 18m wide x 7m high. What is more, family living at upper level was located so that the owners can enjoy the same stunning view without affecting their privacy.