After a long anticipated wait, 52 Degrees, the country's first Kuwaiti-only multi store, opened its doors to the public in December of last year, allowing people to finally revel in its distinctive interior and exceptional offerings.
To encourage Kuwaiti talent and local concepts, the people behind 52 Degrees came up with the idea of creating a store that houses only Kuwaiti designs and creations. They noticed that there were many talented fashion, furniture, jewelry and accessories designers – to name a few – that participate in exhibitions and expos year round. However, most of these businesses were short-lived, and barely functioned for more than a year. They wanted to offer these entrepreneurs the means and capabilities to operate and grow; to become an establishment "that provides small businesses with a platform to launch their ventures on a higher scale".
The name, 52 Degrees, is derived from the average temperature in Kuwait during the summertime – when it gets so hot that almost everything (and everyone) stops functioning. Except in this case, it inspires you to keep on going. Designed by architect Ahmed Al Baghli, the store embodies industrial and temperature themes. Everywhere you go, you are surrounded with motifs depicting heat, or coolness. Some clothing cabinets look like fuel-filled furnaces; others look like refrigerators. Tables and consoles melt into the ground, while other tables climb up the walls. Some lighting fixtures look like connected ice cube trays, and other neon lights look like they're melting. It looks very surreal, like a set from a Tim Burton movie. It won't appeal to everyone, but we're glad somebody went that route and created something so unique and so different, that it surely will encourage others to embrace individuality, creativity and originality.
Even the in-store cafes (also Kuwaiti concepts) have created a decor that blends well with 52 Degrees' interior; Froobie, a frozen yoghurt and smoothie shop, looks like a giant igloo; Choowy Goowy Café's walls are black with neon pink decals.
There is a multitude of items to choose from when shopping at the store. Clothing, jewelry, accessories, fragrances, furniture, art, photography; there is something for everyone. Reham Baluchi offers gorgeous "red carpet" dresses. Dina's is a collection of contemporary clothing. Mexican Elephant, the casual men and women's line is a best seller. Maze, one of the stores most popular brands creates unique ethnic-influenced furniture. These are just a few of the sublimely talented crop of designers available at the store.
The brilliance of the whole concept is that 52 Degrees does everything for the designer. They offer marketing services, branding, warehousing, packaging, financial reporting, among other things. In addition, unlike many locally manufactured products, everything at 52 Degrees is met with rigid service quality standards.
Occasionally, the store hosts in-house lectures and events. In collaboration with Acanthe School of Etiquette, the store also hosts a number of etiquette courses for the public. Back in January, there was the very popular rooftop dinner. These days, Tuesday nights at the store are called Blue District, where the whole store literally turns blue, live music is played and the cafes churn out special dishes inspired by the color.
If you haven't visited 52 Degrees yet, you really ought to. It is most certainly a unique store, one you should definitely make a trip to.
52 Degrees is located in the Tilal Complex, Pepsi Cola Street, Industrial Shuwaikh, Kuwait.
Open from 10am-10pm
– Alya N. Al-Othman