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On a date with post-modern modernity at the Four Seasons Kuwait

Designed by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelburg of Yabu Pushelberg, New York, the Four Season Kuwait definitely counts as one of the most strikingly designed hotels in the world.

by Ronitaa Italia Sep 14, 2019

It is almost as if you are stepping into a capsule of modernity. Richly layered details inspired by Middle Eastern motifs and architecture are reinterpreted beautifully to represent a rich, precisely-modern lexicon. The interiors of Four Seasons Kuwait, designed by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelburg of Yabu Pushelberg, New York, are at once sculptural and grandiose, reinforcing the initial impression of plush modernity.

Of the overall effect, Pushelberg says, “Our aim was to create a sense of wonderment in Kuwait; to surprise and delight guests. This hotel was designed with the refined, well-travelled and culturally-informed traveller in mind. There is a distinct connection to the place within the design vocabulary; however, even though the context is from within the Middle East, visitors are transported beyond the boundaries of Kuwait.”

Yabu adds, “Layered throughout are subtle references to Middle Eastern art and architecture, detailed and reinterpreted in a modern way. Materials, a sense of texture, patterning and colours in particular are all informed by the intensity of the desert and the local climate, playing with the contrast between daytime heat and cool nights.”

As soon as you enter, soaring ceilings enhance the sculptural quality of the architecture, punctuated by an iconic crystal sculptural installation suspended from the centre of the lobby ceiling.

The 43-foot spiral staircase is lined with illuminated steps that climb to pre-function event space on the first floor | Four Seasons Kuwait | Yabu Pushelberg | George Yabu, Glenn Pushelburg | STIR
The 43-foot spiral staircase is lined with illuminated steps that climb to pre-function event space on the first floor Image Credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

The reception desk, designed as a sculptural object, sits at opposite ends from a stunning framed view of the grand stair. Set against a backdrop of intense burnt orange, the monolithic grand stair extends up the full height of the lobby. The impact is quite simply, stunning. Leading to the elevator lobby, set against deep indigo walls, cabinets of carefully collected sculptural objects add interest and texture.

The lounge with its thick carpets and curved oak panels carries a sense of effortless homecoming | Four Seasons Kuwait | Yabu Pushelberg | George Yabu, Glenn Pushelburg | STIR
The lounge with its thick carpets and curved oak panels carries a sense of effortless homecoming Image Credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

The lounge is furnished in a way that recreates a sense of homecoming, with its impressive range of colours and textures. The room is bordered by curved oak panels, layered with custom glass screens. Wood floors are thickened with deep indigo area rugs, while the layered bronze lightbox casts a gentle glow over the entire area.

The intimate lounging niches around the indoor pool | Four Seasons Kuwait | Yabu Pushelberg | George Yabu, Glenn Pushelburg | STIR
The intimate lounging niches around the indoor pool Image Credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

The treatment rooms and suites in the spa are intimate, with a soft distinctive home-like finish. Convex walls in the hammam area will make guests feel warmly enveloped in luxury. The neutral palette here is enhanced with soft, subtle indigo gradients. The indoor pool with the glowing lanterns above is inviting, to say the least. Perimeter walls and the pool itself are lined in deep indigo stone and textured limestone highlights the archways. Niches between arches allow for Intimate lounging areas furnished with plush daybeds and bronze accents.

The passage leading to the guest room | Four Seasons Kuwait | Yabu Pushelberg | George Yabu, Glenn Pushelburg | STIR
The passage leading to the guest room Image Credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

The corridors leading up to the rooms are lined in oak and embellished with Middle-Eastern inspired patterning that is at once distracting and interesting. The rooms are explicitly chic with every possible comfort carefully catered to. Neutral furnishings are complemented by dashes of bold colour and sculptural elements. Up-lit indigo glass and burnt-orange lacquer panels are some of the defining elements in the guest rooms. All the furniture was custom-designed exclusively for the project. Other bespoke details include hand-laid mini herring-bone oak floors and the flat-woven rugs in the sleeping area.

The rooms are warm and plush, with every possible comfort catered to | Four Seasons Kuwait | Yabu Pushelberg | George Yabu, Glenn Pushelburg | STIR
The rooms are warm and plush, with every possible comfort catered to Image Credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

Wrapped entirely in stone, with small mosaic tiles on the curved wall behind a free-standing tub, the bathrooms make a design statement of their own. The vanity, designed as a piece of furniture, includes the same bronze accents as the custom-designed furniture in the guestroom. Layered, framed mirrors with integrated lighting complete the bespoke look.

The bathroom, with its freestanding tub, makes a statement of its own | Four Seasons Kuwait | Yabu Pushelberg | George Yabu, Glenn Pushelburg | STIR
The bathroom, with its freestanding tub, makes a statement of its own Image Credit: Virgile Simon Bertrand

As Yabu says, “The Four Seasons is known for being a gracious host, for familiarity, comfort and the highest level of service. With this property, we aim to broaden that appeal, to focus some of the existing attention to detail into design, to up the ante in design terms, making the hotel experience completely immersive and perhaps most importantly, extremely memorable.”

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About Author

Ronitaa Italia

Ronitaa Italia

A prolific writer and journalist with 20 years of experience, Ronitaa has helmed premier magazines - ELLE DECOR India, GoodHomes, Home & Design TRENDS. She is known for her engaging content, piquant ideas, and reportage of design trends.

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