Photography: Tarek Al Ghoussein's Al Sawaber at The Third Line, Dubai



Many cities have them, experimental megastructures that not only embody blueprints of future utopias, but which also attempted to transform the way their inhabitants lived.

In many instances they are now associated with urban blight, unemployment, delinquency and exclusion, proof positive of Modernism's failure and satirised in books such as JG Ballard's High-Rise.

In London there is the subject of Ballard's dystopia, the Barbican, a plug-in city within a city, while in Paris there are the Grands ­Ensembles, massive post-war housing projects such as the post-modernist Les Espaces d'Abraxas designed by Ricardo Bofill, who was also responsible for the more colourful and infinitely more welcoming Walden 7 development near Barcelona.

For the moment, Kuwait City also belongs on this list thanks to the Al Sawaber Complex, a sprawling estate close to the city centre that was designed in 1977, now earmarked for demolition.

Originally designed to accommodate 900 apartments in nine neighbourhoods, as well as public gardens and kindergartens, ­markets, cafés, restaurants and play areas all on a 24.5-hectare site, the development was intended to be "a landmark in the progressive housing programme for Kuwait, serving as a prototype for future housing developments", according to its Canadian architect, Arthur Erickson, the designer of Abu Dhabi's Etisalat headquarters and revolving Le Meridien Hotel, amongst many other projects.

The design, however, was never realised as its architect had intended. Construction began in 1981 and by the time the estate was fully populated in 1989 only 524 apartments were built, housing 2,600 residents.

From the outset, the development's design was seen to be culturally challenging. Not only were the 295-square-metre apartments only a third of the size of local single-plot houses but their density and proximity was deemed to offer insufficient privacy.

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Erickson had also failed to make room for diwaniya, traditional gathering and social spaces for Kuwaiti men, and when these factors were added to the fact that the scheme was built below its optimal density and with few of the facilities the architect had intended it is perhaps no surprise that the success of the scheme was short lived.

After the 1990-91 Gulf War, the Al Sawaber Complex steadily changed from being a residence for Kuwaiti nationals into a home for a wide variety of expatriates of different nationalities and faiths, which is just one of the reasons why Tarek Al Ghoussein believes Al Sawaber should be considered a partial success.

"You had Christians here, Hindus and people from both sects of Islam and there were no issues even though they were living only 15 feet from one another," says the Kuwaiti-Palestinian artist, who teaches at New York University Abu Dhabi and has lived in the UAE since the 1990s.

Starting in 2014, Al Ghoussein began to revisit Kuwait and Al Sawaber, taking pictures of each of its apartments in a process that only finished earlier this year. What started as a matter of intrigue soon became an obsession and resulted in more than 150 visits.

“I think I would say it’s probably the first project where I really feel like I’m done, completely. I went into every apartment, I did research on the place whereas other projects I’ve done didn’t require that,” Al Ghoussein says.

"I went so many times that friends in Kuwait would say 'You're going again?' I know every inch of the place."

As well as capturing images that speak of the history of the apartment's recent inhabitants and their attempts to make the apartment's impersonal interiors feel like home, Al Ghoussein also found himself focusing on the accumulated detritus of everyday lives such as posters, stickers, ornaments and wallpaper, some of which feature in his new solo show, Al Sawaber, which recently opened at Dubai's the Third Line gallery.

"I felt like I was an archaeologist, almost. I became infatuated with recording everything," the artist admits, still unable to explain his feelings to his own satisfaction.

“I found posters, images of Christ on a card, paintings, a fax machine, Shiite posters that I had never seen before. It made me realise just how special this place was.”

Al Ghoussein is not the only person to have fallen under Al Sawaber’s influence. In recent years the almost completely abandoned development has become a haunt for graffiti artists and parkour enthusiasts as well as a younger generation of architects, academics and conservation campaigners including Asseel Al Ragam, an architect and professor in the college of architecture at Kuwait University.

“This was not only the first example of state housing in Kuwait City, it was also one of the earliest examples of collective housing in the Gulf,” says the academic, who has been campaigning for Al Sawaber’s adaptive reuse.

As well as writing academic articles about Al Sawaber and lecturing on the development at a Unesco conference on modern Arab heritage that was held in Kuwait in 2015, Al Ragam also presented Al Sawaber at the UAE Modern conference, which was recently held in Dubai.

"Of course it needs to be updated and upgraded for contemporary use but I also think there is a completely different demographic today who would appreciate these kind of buildings inside the city," she says.

“But we just need to come up for the correct economic argument for how we can maintain and sustain it today.”

For Al Ragam, Al Sawaber’s survival is more than a matter of architectural history, it is also a matter of deconstructing what she believes to be long-held but erroneous beliefs.

“Certain ideas have become truths and norms and now it’s very difficult to get Kuwaitis to go beyond the idea that apartments don’t work for Kuwaiti families, when in actual fact a lot of local families are currently converting their single family homes into apartments,” Al Ragam insists.

“There is no doubt that this is the go-to example of why ­apartments do not work but that is a myth that needs to be deconstructed. Having Al Sawaber as a prototype could really cater to a younger demographic.”

While he admits to strong feelings for the place, Al Ghoussein’s response to the development is much more ambiguous.

The artist took his final shots of the buildings just two weeks before the opening of the current show, an act he says felt like a moment of completion, and only plans to return when demolition begins, an events he feels is all but inevitable.

"It's a complicated project and a complicated issue and I'm in the middle of it. Is it worth preserving?" Al Ghoussein asks.

“I can see why some people would say that it’s too late somehow to get it back to the way it was and that it’s too expensive to renovate it, but I’m torn.”

Al Sawaber runs at The Third Line gallery in Dubai until January 20. For more details visit www.thethirdline.com

COMPANY PROFILE

Founders: Sebastian Stefan, Sebastian Morar and Claudia Pacurar

Based: Dubai, UAE

Founded: 2014

Number of employees: 36

Sector: Logistics

Raised: $2.5 million

Investors: DP World, Prime Venture Partners and family offices in Saudi Arabia and the UAE

Three ways to get a gratitude glow

By committing to at least one of these daily, you can bring more gratitude into your life, says Ong.

  • During your morning skincare routine, name five things you are thankful for about yourself.
  • As you finish your skincare routine, look yourself in the eye and speak an affirmation, such as: “I am grateful for every part of me, including my ability to take care of my skin.”
  • In the evening, take some deep breaths, notice how your skin feels, and listen for what your skin is grateful for.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

Director: James Gunn

Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

Rating: 4/5

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Tell Me Who I Am

Director: Ed Perkins

Stars: Alex and Marcus Lewis

Four stars

FINAL SCORES

Fujairah 130 for 8 in 20 overs

(Sandy Sandeep 29, Hamdan Tahir 26 no, Umair Ali 2-15)

Sharjah 131 for 8 in 19.3 overs

(Kashif Daud 51, Umair Ali 20, Rohan Mustafa 2-17, Sabir Rao 2-26)

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Visit Abu Dhabi culinary team's top Emirati restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Yadoo’s House Restaurant+& Cafe

For the karak and Yoodo's house platter with includes eggs, balaleet, khamir and chebab bread.

Golden Dallah

For the cappuccino, luqaimat and aseeda.

Al Mrzab Restaurant

For the shrimp murabian and Kuwaiti options including Kuwaiti machboos with kebab and spicy sauce.

Al Derwaza

For the fish hubul, regag bread, biryani and special seafood soup. 

Disturbing facts and figures

51% of parents in the UAE feel like they are failing within the first year of parenthood

57% vs 43% is the number of mothers versus the number of fathers who feel they’re failing

28% of parents believe social media adds to the pressure they feel to be perfect

55% of parents cannot relate to parenting images on social media

67% of parents wish there were more honest representations of parenting on social media

53% of parents admit they put on a brave face rather than being honest due to fear of judgment

Source: YouGov

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Anti-semitic attacks

The annual report by the Community Security Trust, which advises the Jewish community on security , warned on Thursday that anti-Semitic incidents in Britain had reached a record high.

It found there had been 2,255 anti-Semitic incidents reported in 2021, a rise of 34 per cent from the previous year.

The report detailed the convictions of a number of people for anti-Semitic crimes, including one man who was jailed for setting up a neo-Nazi group which had encouraged “the eradication of Jewish people” and another who had posted anti-Semitic homemade videos on social media.

What is a black hole?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

FIXTURES

UAE’s remaining fixtures in World Cup qualification R2
Oct 8: Malaysia (h)
Oct 13: Indonesia (a)
Nov 12: Thailand (h)
Nov 17: Vietnam (h)
 

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Nausea
Vomiting
Swollen glands
Rash

While you're here
On Instagram: @WithHopeUAE

Although social media can be harmful to our mental health, paradoxically, one of the antidotes comes with the many social-media accounts devoted to normalising mental-health struggles. With Hope UAE is one of them.
The group, which has about 3,600 followers, was started three years ago by five Emirati women to address the stigma surrounding the subject. Via Instagram, the group recently began featuring personal accounts by Emiratis. The posts are written under the hashtag #mymindmatters, along with a black-and-white photo of the subject holding the group’s signature red balloon.
“Depression is ugly,” says one of the users, Amani. “It paints everything around me and everything in me.”
Saaed, meanwhile, faces the daunting task of caring for four family members with psychological disorders. “I’ve had no support and no resources here to help me,” he says. “It has been, and still is, a one-man battle against the demons of fractured minds.”
In addition to With Hope UAE’s frank social-media presence, the group holds talks and workshops in Dubai. “Change takes time,” Reem Al Ali, vice chairman and a founding member of With Hope UAE, told The National earlier this year. “It won’t happen overnight, and it will take persistent and passionate people to bring about this change.”

Law 41.9.4 of men’s T20I playing conditions

The fielding side shall be ready to start each over within 60 seconds of the previous over being completed.
An electronic clock will be displayed at the ground that counts down seconds from 60 to zero.
The clock is not required or, if already started, can be cancelled if:
• A new batter comes to the wicket between overs.
• An official drinks interval has been called.
• The umpires have approved the on field treatment of an injury to a batter or fielder.
• The time lost is for any circumstances beyond the control of the fielding side.
• The third umpire starts the clock either when the ball has become dead at the end of the previous over, or a review has been completed.
• The team gets two warnings if they are not ready to start overs after the clock reaches zero.
• On the third and any subsequent occasion in an innings, the bowler’s end umpire awards five runs.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

How Tesla’s price correction has hit fund managers

Investing in disruptive technology can be a bumpy ride, as investors in Tesla were reminded on Friday, when its stock dropped 7.5 per cent in early trading to $575.

It recovered slightly but still ended the week 15 per cent lower and is down a third from its all-time high of $883 on January 26. The electric car maker’s market cap fell from $834 billion to about $567bn in that time, a drop of an astonishing $267bn, and a blow for those who bought Tesla stock late.

The collapse also hit fund managers that have gone big on Tesla, notably the UK-based Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation ETF.

Tesla is the top holding in both funds, making up a hefty 10 per cent of total assets under management. Both funds have fallen by a quarter in the past month.

Matt Weller, global head of market research at GAIN Capital, recently warned that Tesla founder Elon Musk had “flown a bit too close to the sun”, after getting carried away by investing $1.5bn of the company’s money in Bitcoin.

He also predicted Tesla’s sales could struggle as traditional auto manufacturers ramp up electric car production, destroying its first mover advantage.

AJ Bell’s Russ Mould warns that many investors buy tech stocks when earnings forecasts are rising, almost regardless of valuation. “When it works, it really works. But when it goes wrong, elevated valuations leave little or no downside protection.”

A Tesla correction was probably baked in after last year’s astonishing share price surge, and many investors will see this as an opportunity to load up at a reduced price.

Dramatic swings are to be expected when investing in disruptive technology, as Ms Wood at ARK makes clear.

Every week, she sends subscribers a commentary listing “stocks in our strategies that have appreciated or dropped more than 15 per cent in a day” during the week.

Her latest commentary, issued on Friday, showed seven stocks displaying extreme volatility, led by ExOne, a leader in binder jetting 3D printing technology. It jumped 24 per cent, boosted by news that fellow 3D printing specialist Stratasys had beaten fourth-quarter revenues and earnings expectations, seen as good news for the sector.

By contrast, computational drug and material discovery company Schrödinger fell 27 per cent after quarterly and full-year results showed its core software sales and drug development pipeline slowing.

Despite that setback, Ms Wood remains positive, arguing that its “medicinal chemistry platform offers a powerful and unique view into chemical space”.

In her weekly video view, she remains bullish, stating that: “We are on the right side of change, and disruptive innovation is going to deliver exponential growth trajectories for many of our companies, in fact, most of them.”

Ms Wood remains committed to Tesla as she expects global electric car sales to compound at an average annual rate of 82 per cent for the next five years.

She said these are so “enormous that some people find them unbelievable”, and argues that this scepticism, especially among institutional investors, “festers” and creates a great opportunity for ARK.

Only you can decide whether you are a believer or a festering sceptic. If it’s the former, then buckle up.

Profile box

Company name: baraka
Started: July 2020
Founders: Feras Jalbout and Kunal Taneja
Based: Dubai and Bahrain
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $150,000
Current staff: 12
Stage: Pre-seed capital raising of $1 million
Investors: Class 5 Global, FJ Labs, IMO Ventures, The Community Fund, VentureSouq, Fox Ventures, Dr Abdulla Elyas (private investment)

Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations
Edited by Sarah Cleave, Comma Press

TECH SPECS: APPLE WATCH SERIES 8

Display: 41mm, 352 x 430; 45mm, 396 x 484; Retina LTPO OLED, up to 1000 nits, always-on; Ion-X glass

Processor: Apple S8, W3 wireless, U1 ultra-wideband

Capacity: 32GB

Memory: 1GB

Platform: watchOS 9

Health metrics: 3rd-gen heart rate sensor, temperature sensing, ECG, blood oxygen, workouts, fall/crash detection; emergency SOS, international emergency calling

Connectivity: GPS/GPS + cellular; Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Durability: IP6X, water resistant up to 50m, dust resistant

Battery: 308mAh Li-ion, up to 18h, wireless charging

Cards: eSIM

Finishes: Aluminium – midnight, Product Red, silver, starlight; stainless steel – gold, graphite, silver

In the box: Watch Series 8, magnetic-to-USB-C charging cable, band/loop

Price: Starts at Dh1,599 (41mm) / Dh1,999 (45mm)

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: 3S Money
Started: 2018
Based: London
Founders: Ivan Zhiznevsky, Eugene Dugaev and Andrei Dikouchine
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $5.6 million raised in total

Meatless Days
Sara Suleri, with an introduction by Kamila Shamsie
​​​​​​​Penguin 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The specs

Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 194hp at 5,600rpm

Torque: 275Nm from 2,000-4,000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Price: from Dh155,000

On sale: now

The biog

Family: wife, four children, 11 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren

Reads: Newspapers, historical, religious books and biographies

Education: High school in Thatta, a city now in Pakistan

Regrets: Not completing college in Karachi when universities were shut down following protests by freedom fighters for the British to quit India 

 

Happiness: Work on creative ideas, you will also need ideals to make people happy

11 cabbie-recommended restaurants and dishes to try in Abu Dhabi

Iqbal Restaurant behind Wendy’s on Hamdan Street for the chicken karahi (Dh14)

Pathemari in Navy Gate for prawn biryani (from Dh12 to Dh35)

Abu Al Nasar near Abu Dhabi Mall, for biryani (from Dh12 to Dh20)

Bonna Annee at Navy Gate for Ethiopian food (the Bonna Annee special costs Dh42 and comes with a mix of six house stews – key wet, minchet abesh, kekel, meser be sega, tibs fir fir and shiro).

Al Habasha in Tanker Mai for Ethiopian food (tibs, a hearty stew with meat, is a popular dish; here it costs Dh36.75 for lamb and beef versions)

Himalayan Restaurant in Mussaffa for Nepalese (the momos and chowmein noodles are best-selling items, and go for between Dh14 and Dh20)

Makalu in Mussaffa for Nepalese (get the chicken curry or chicken fry for Dh11)

Al Shaheen Cafeteria near Guardian Towers for a quick morning bite, especially the egg sandwich in paratha (Dh3.50)

Pinky Food Restaurant in Tanker Mai for tilapia

Tasty Zone for Nepalese-style noodles (Dh15)

Ibrahimi for Pakistani food (a quarter chicken tikka with roti costs Dh16)