Kuwait House - Portfolio
I wrote the captions for an article on a Kuwaiti house - interior design by Alidad Interiors (@alidad_ltd) - for Architectural Digest Middle East (The Royal Issue, 2016).
The walls of the library are decorated with lacquered and embossed hand painted patterns in patinated tones of red, black, silver and cream, inspired by 18th and 19th century Ottoman interiors. The sofa is inspired by 19th century French canapes and a bespoke fringe was created by Alidad. The slipper chairs are a combination of two Pierre Frey fabrics ‘Sevilla’ and ‘Alhambra’ designed by Alidad for Pierre Frey.
Alidad’s inspiration for this Ante Room came from the traditional wooden Ottoman Yali houses found on the banks of the river Bosphorus. The walls of the room combine a number of different materials and techniques, including hand painted strieed mirrors with brasswork applied on top of them. These frame hand painted gold and black floral panels around the windows, which reflect the red ceiling, which is hand painted with gold flowers and scroll-work.
This unique entrance hall uses three different colours of marble, which has been especially treated in order to remove any shine, therefore making it look much older and more like a stone finish. The architraves are carved out of stone and created to look like rope, a design element often seen in Islamic architecture. Niches were created in order to house the vases, which all have 16th century inspired Turkish Iznic patterns, and are created in the shape of mosque lamps, with three handles. The bespoke sofa, designed by Alidad, is based on 16th/17th century European chairs, and is covered in a Veraseta silk velvet and incorporates studded details which derives from the same period.
The library’s octagonal atrium is inspired by an ancient Islamic shape, it has been cleverly designed to hide the ventilation grills, which sit below the framed gilt scripture panels running around the frieze. The painted and lacquered design of the ground floor continues into the first floor where bookshelves holding a collection of European and Arabic books sit above the 19th century Bohemian chandelier, traditionally made for the middle Eastern market.
The drawing room is one of the largest rooms in the house. The cut and bevelled mirrors embedded within carved white plaster work are inspired by traditional Persian designs. The niches in the anteroom were designed by Alidad to house a collection of Behemian glassware belonging to the client. They are hand painted with a delicate flower design to emphasise the contrast in scale with the rest of the room. A 19th century orientalist painting hangs on an antiqued mirror above the fireplace.
Alidad was entirely inspired by Islamic design vocabulary in the master bathroom, he used a combination of two different marbles to create a number of geometric and striped patterns. The vanity unit is created from the same marble supported by nickel legs, designed by Aildad . Alidad wanted to ensure that every inch of the space was utilised so he created storage behind the mirror, which opens like a cupboard, as well as creating a storage cupboard behind one of the etched glass doors.
The walls in this dining room are a combination of verre eglomisé, hand printed wallpapers and specialist hand painting on raised and fielded panelled walls. The rhythm created by changing the levels of panelling is punctuated by the colourful 19th century Japanese Imari plates, which are fitted into the recesses in the outer panels. The mahogany table was custom made for the room as it was so large, Alidad hand selected the wood to be used and aged it to make it seem like it could have been original. The chairs are designed by Alidad and upholstered in Pierre Frey’s ‘Sforza’ velvet.
Words // Yosr El Sherbiny
Photography // James McDonald