Confluence Park

Confluence Park is a very well designed park “focusing on the critical role of water in the regional ecosystems”, designed by Lake Flato with an elegant pavilion by matsys that has harmonized the structure of a flower with digital fabrication. The BHP pavilion, beyond being a feat of structural engineering, is also extremely sensitive to light and shows the designer’s capability and understanding of our Sun’s kiss.


Design Philosophy

There are more than 10,000 designs for chairs, more then 10,000 designs for lighting, sofas, tables, buildings, cars. So what makes good design?

This question can not be answered didactically as if it were a mathematical equation and there truly was only one answer, I can tell you what I believe is penultimate design, which I will do shortly, but another designer will do the same but on their terms, based on his/her values.

I am not so concerned with the ultimate truth insofar as the one that makes the most sense to me, the funniest jokes are the ones that are so true, or make so much sense (“A guy came to me and said here look at this picture of me when I was younger … Every picture is of you when you were younger! Isn’t it about time somebody said that?” Mitch Hedburg. “I like how photos make you immediately reminisce( *snap* ‘aww look at us! We were so young’ ” Demetri Martin), the best economist are so because of their undeniable logic (Dr. Elinor Ostrom), maybe there is a penultimate design philosophy, but the issue is that even if there is one, you cannot convince the masses that this is the right way, no everybody do it. One should push as hard as they can, no doubt, hopefully it will be mainstream, but it will be a branch of design, but not all of it.

I will now share what my design philosophy is, which I established only after I saw the objects I found beautiful, and saw objects that other people found beautiful, and how ugly those objects were to me, and how different those people were to me. The first thing I appreciate in a design is it’s honesty, Louis Sullivan said “form follows function”, I agree that when you look at something, it should tell you something honest about it, the wires are here, the light bulb is there, the legs are connected with this beam. However, if all it does is tell the truth it can be dull, a bit of mystery is always fun, sometimes even a white lie.

Labels – The Good and The Bad

We all use labels whether we realise it or not, I was always against labels, being trained at an architectural school of thought where ideas were abstracted and a word only meant as much as how you defined it, it was merely a starting point to a complex idea. For example, my analysis of a project site was the importance of wind, the site was a park that hugs a river bend, thoughts of changing humidity levels, temperature and sound due to wind speed became central to the design of the space, which then focused on attuning the senses in a ritual-like atmosphere, the word ‘wind’ was no longer the core of the design. My whole education was about an abstraction of ideas that formulate into built space. I was against identifying as Kuwaiti, Arab, Single, Capricorn, Student, Materialist, Minimalist, Immigrant, Rationalist, Modernist, Artist, Urbanist etc. not that I am not proud of any of those labels, but I was irritated by the fact that I had no control over the connotations these labels were perceived as by different people. I remember going to a university event and socializing with other students, first question fellow students asked eachother was which major they’re studying, when I would say architecture a common reaction was “Oh no not another pretentious prick”, later on in the professional world many people were impressed that I was an architect, in essays and articles I’ve seen strong political views for or against socialists, and in Kuwait a cashier wanted to charge me more because AlNashmi is a middle-class family so I could afford to pay more. The idea that an undeniable fact about me that can result in negative judgement was frustrating.

Using labels took a positive turn when I started working, clients would be sitting in a meeting room discussing something for ages, at times people were debating and two completely different topics but when someone gives them labels, a heavy burden is suddenly lifted, the cloud of confusion fades and there is instant clarity, when we looked each other in the eye we knew we were not only on the same page, but our thoughts are now synched. Things like a shade of colour ( e.g. twilight blue, terracotta red), or the real reason behind a design shortcoming (e.g. buildability, thermal-bridge, improportioned spaces, thematically negligent, lack of due diligence), or even if a friendship is not what it was (e.g. emotional imbalance, new insecurity). When a floating idea is concretised in a word or phrase, it’s like it is now locked in and we can move on to solving the problem, and sometimes that phrase is also the solution. Maybe these aren’t the best analogies, but the idea that labels can have good connotations but more importantly help in problem-solving is very valuable to me.

Considering the fact that labels have led to discrimination against certain social, cultural and economic groups, it is important to understand their power and use them wisely. The larger challenge is to counter the negative labels, the global solution thus far is through awareness, but what if it is a counter-label? Which is already happening in some cases, like when Trevor Noah replied to a French Ambassador that the African immigrants who won the World Cup for France were not just French, and they were not just Ghanaian/Kenyan/Algerian, but they were both. The awareness method is like the Ted Talk Ask Me Not Where I’m From but Ask me Where I’m Local, which says that the labels of two countries isn’t enough, because I identify with certain morals and ethics and social groups which I prefer to be affiliated with, when I said I am proud of being Kuwaiti, this speaker is saying that it is not accurate enough, and is actually misleading let alone the connotations.

All I know now is that using labels to solve problems is very beneficial, and there are times when labels can be misleading that they should be avoided, but I hope the answers of how to reverse the damage of ‘wrong’ labels do surface and help us resolve urban issues that labels create.

When I came back from Edinburgh, I saw a therapist. He asked if I had a feeling of impending catastrophe. That was the perfect word: catastrophe. He then described a panic attack and I was immediately calmer – I wasn’t going mad. This was a condition, and as soon as I could label it, I felt better.” Stephan Coogan

Odd Relation Between TV Shows & The Love-Hate Phenomenon

There is a TV series called Big Mouth, which, by the way is very odd. Without riddling through the details, it is a show about a bunch of adolescent kids journeying through puberty and all its bodily surprises, and surprisingly, it is not for adolescents, but for adults, for example, there is an episode in the 1st season called “A Requiem for a Wet Dream”, a reference to Darren Aronofsky’s masterpiece. Anyway in that episode, a character makes his debut, Rick, the hormone monster, who I didn’t think much of. In the 2nd season, however, Rick was ever-present. I liked the show, and when I watched the 2nd season where Rick was in almost every episode, I hated him; I thought he was a badly constructed character, half-baked, cringe-worthy. After I while, thinking about the show, one of the memories was of Rick, and how he had a funny catchphrase “What are you gonna do?”, it grew on me, I then re-watched the show just to see Rick, and I loved him, tremendously.

Second show where I had a similar reaction was ‘Derek’, I loved Ricky Gervais from the 1st episode, it was a great show, and I hated ‘Kev’, as equally bland and bismal a character as Rick, a year later I have a mental reminisce, and guess who jumps out as hysterical . . . Kev. I recently re-watching the show just for him.

This is a very new phenomenon to me, the closest thing that’s happened is finding certain buildings charming over time, like a library, or a convoluted building I frequent, or an artwork that I stare out long enough until I see the beauty in it. All these though were initially perceived as interesting or at least decent, but these new cases started as unappetizing or flippant and ended as admirable and beloved. When I think about beauty, what makes things beautiful and in what way, I recall Elaine Scarry’s ‘On Beauty’, which unravels beauty in all its archetypes, one of which was an anecdote of the horrendously ugly experience of someone who lived with a family for a week, who were un-hospitable people, the place reaked of a stenches and odours, and the food was likened to pig food but more bitter, that person was George Orwell in The Road to Wigan Pier. The outcome of this experience was somehow positive and I never understood why, but now I sort of do, whilst still entertaining the possibility that these phenomena are unrelated.

And here’s a freebie, Lil’ Dicky, who I was introduced to with his video ‘Pillow Talking’, and thought was the lamest, weirdest most banal rap video I’ve ever seen. Now, he is up there with my favourite rappers, and I’ve memorized the song fluently. Another one is ‘Steve Chance’ in ‘Cuckoo’, I’ll stop now.

Design Portfolio for Masters

A lot has happened since 2013, my last portfolio, so I had to essentially start from scratch, take a few projects form the previous portfolio, and add a lot of new ones, including a freelance art & design section and a practice section.

This portfolio was used to apply for a Masters of Architecture & Urban Design at various schools, and I was admitted to:

Columbia GSAPP [MSAUD]


TU Delft [Post-EMU]

UC Berkely [MUD]

London School of Economics [MSc CDSS]

National University of Singapore [MUD]

Interesting Acoustic Wall

I found this acoustic wall by Noshin Khan to be very beautiful, very creative use of material. I just wonder if a proper acoustic study has been done to test its success since steel sheet isn’t recognized as a good acoustic material. Maybe the folds in the beautifully complex form enforce the deflection of sound and stop it from passing to the other side of the wall, which would be very impressive. If it’s still up in AUS I would love to go see it in person!


The Nature of Space – Brazil to Kuwait | Talk at CAP May 11th 2016

During the period of the exhibition curated by myself, Antonio Da Silva and Ruth Jones, Antonio and I gave a talk in the gallery about two main topics: 1| The journey of the exhibition, how it began by Antonio inviting artists to exhibit in a gallery in Porto Alegre, Brazil and how it came to Kuwait and grew as an exhibition. 2| The relationship between art and architecture and how it relates to each artist in the exhibition since a quarter of them are architects and the remaining artists have a strong relationship with space. This was opened up for debate at the end which ended up being a very lively discussion between artists, architects, students, and other professionals such as business managers at oil companies, it was interesting to hear all the strong opinions about whether architecture is a form of fine art or not and how each of them had validity.

Lecture Poster | The Nature of Space - Brazil to Kuwait

You can find the presentation in the link below:

The Nature of Space_Brazil to Kuwait

Jotted Manifesto. 2014

The Sublime and the BeautifulChaos & Order – Happiness & Knowledge






Your job should be about the future, your life should be about the now.

The Five Elements:

Career Wellbeing

Social Wellbeing

Financial Wellbeing

Physical Wellbeing

Community Wellbeing

Live life like Jazz

Back then, they had wisdom, expressions that were passed down through generations, now we have science and modern philosophy, so is one better than the other? Are we more evolved or at the same level?


We were abstract when we didn’t have tools, then we were precise, then we were abstract again, now we are the extreme of both

Animals should be a part of human life

To reach a higher level of consciousness 

Surat An’ Nur

One of the most famous verses in the Quran is about light, which is also famous for being the inspiration for Muslim artists, me being one of them:

اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِنْ شَجَرَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونَةٍ لَا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ نُورٌ عَلَى نُورٍ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

Long Live the Body

Tips for a healthy long-living body and treatment for my tension miostis syndrome/tendonitis/bruised bone.


Wake up at 6, pray, stretch in the sun (always forward fold), shower

Breakfast: Cereal with oatmeal and fresh milk or soy milk. Or poached eggs and tuna, alternate daily, drink: Orange juice

Take smoothie to work with salad

Snacks: almonds, walnuts, dark chocolate

Dinner: Salmon
[1] Shefali’s Remedies

Observe the food which gives you strength and the food which builds inertia.

Drink a smoothie in the morning and early evening. It will help clear your digestive tract.

My usual mixes are:

1. Cucumber (good for joints), mint, lemon, chilly

2. Tomato, chilly

3. Lettuce, papaya

4. Carrot, orange

5. Wheatgrass, honey, warm water

6. Wheatgrass, banana

You can drink it with the fibre or strain it to make a clear juice.
Stretch when you body is warm (the sun helps for this). You are a dancer, so I’m sure you know your stretches. Elongate your back, arms and hamstrings. Be careful to not exert too much. Slow and steady.
Heat some mustard oil in a pan with a few cloves of garlic and massage it into your skin when it is still warm. It doesn’t smell pleasant but it relieves pain like patient though, the relief might not be overnight.


[2] Foods good for joints:

Cherries – Red Peppers – Canned Salmon – Oatmeal – Turmeric – Walnuts – Kale – Cod liver oil


[3] Foods high in calcium:

fortified cereals [total, raisin bran, corn flakes] – fortified orange juice – fortified soymilk – enriched breads – dark leafy greens – broccoli – collard greens – cheese – low fat milk and yogurt – bok choy – fortified tofu – okra – green beans – almonds – fish canned with their bones [sardines] – edamame – figs – oranges – kale – almonds


[4] How to get Vitamin D:

Number One: Sunlight.

Then: Vitamin D supplements, cod liver oil, ultraviolet lamps and bulbs, egg yolks, tuna, mackerel, salmon, canned tuna, mushrooms, milk, orange juice [Florida’s Natural, Minute Maid Kids +], soy milk, fortified cereals, beef liver, cheese.


[5] Other healthy eating tips

Bananas Are Good

Simply put: one or two bananas a day will give you a nutritional boost, keep your energy up, help stave off your hunger, and are highly unlikely to add inches to your waistline.



try to stick to plant-based fats, such as olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil, all of which offer superior health benefits to animal-derived fats.


Late dinners are Fine [still debatable]

Truth be told: it’s all about the total number of calories you consume in a day, not the time of day you consume them…but some say the calories you have at night turn into fat rather than get digested.


Snack, but in Moderation

Try to pick out high fiber, nutritionally dense foods for snacking – raw nuts, fruits, and vegetables are all great choices, as are whole grain breads, nut butters, and hummus.
Don’t get carried away.

Arabic Poem Excerpts

أنا حبيبي بسمته تخجل الضي 

يكسف سنا بدر الدجى من جبينه 

راعي العيون الناعسه رمشها في 

وإن سلهمت ذاب الحشا من حنينه

كم كان كبيرا حظي حين عثرت عليك

نزار قباني

ترمي بقوس الحواجب أسمها تبري

و نبلها قد أصاب

قلبي الشجي متيم

يا من هواه ملكني صرت في أسري

هذا جري في الكتاب

أمراً علينا محتم 

فريد الحسن جود و اكسب اجرى

فالهجر منك آذاب

و خالط اللحم و الدم

متى متى يا حبيبي ينقضى أمرى 

و ينقضي ذا العتاب

في وسط مجلس منظم