Both tranquil and beautiful, Al Shaheed Park is the ideal place to spend a sleepy Friday afternoon, a great place to escape to during your lunch hour at work, or just to venture off to from across town for a leisurely day.
This public haven has expanded since its formation within the past two years, branching out with activities and events vast enough to attract people of all ages and demographics. These days, Al Shaheed Park is adding even more features for everyone to enjoy! From cafes, to yoga, to the gorgeous community working space-slash-lifestyle-slash-gift-store brought to you by the ladies behind The Yard.
Enter The Reading Room by The Yard. Created by Danah Behbehani and Ala’a Ali Reda of The Yard, this concept has been open since May and is designed to accommodate those who enjoy nestling into a serene space to get some work done, ponder, or catch up on their reading. “The Yard is curating spaces,” Ala’a says as she hands me a cup of their signature Peach Ice Tea, one of the light refreshments on offer at the space. “We remember walking past this space when it was empty and instantly falling in love with it. Looking through the glass windows into the big open space and beautiful marble flooring, we envisioned the potential and beauty of the space. It feels surreal at times to see that it’s now The Reading Room!” And its location, being at the park, makes the new space channel a more neutral clientele, which differs from The Yard’s firstborn, Q at The Yard, a lovely, yet smaller space whose majority of clientele are young creatives and professionals working in the city.
The purpose of The Reading Room is to be interactive in the way that familiars and strangers alike would be encouraged to collaborate, or just kick back solo during their spare time. The space is set up in a communal fashion, with shared tables adorning the area so that people can sit together instead of segregating themselves. This was done with the intention for like-minded people to integrate and benefit each other creatively, socially and professionally. “We noticed with Q, the clientele had become friendly as many regulars would frequent the space. With that, they began to form a community, and they’d start hanging out, sitting together and even working together, due to similarities. We want the same thing on a larger scale at The Reading Room.”
And on a larger scale it will be, as the space is considerably larger than their last, and filled with more merchandise – especially reading material! “We generally wanted to expand space for our products, and offer a wider range of merchandise for men, women and children.” Ala’a points out as we walk through The Reading Room, with its floor-length windows flooding the modernly designed space. Shelves of books line and scatter through the area on display for customers to purchase, flip through, or read while they chill, it’s easy to see where the name came from. “We actually had the name and concept a couple of years back,” Danah says as we flip through some of the artsy books they have on display. “This was always a goal, for us to expand on the range of books we carried – it’s always difficult to find design-based books in Kuwait.” But not anymore! Designophiles won’t have to search high and low for great literature to inspire them. Design books aren’t all there is to offer, as they have a nice variety, including lifestyle books, classic fiction, coloring books and children’s favorites like Dr. Seuss books! “Children are always welcome to visit the reading corner as well. We want the space to be very interactive and inclusive toward everyone.”
Because The Reading Room is part of The Yard’s family, you know that their products are very much present and to die for. The Yard is infamous for supplying innovative, classic and cool accessories and stationary pieces, but The Reading Room is expanding merchandise to include—wait for it—toiletries! That’s right, ladies, we now have another accessible hub to grab our favorite goodies such as Earth Tu Face’s Coconut Body Butter or Malin+Goetz’s intensive body and hair repairing products.
As always, little gifts, knick-knacks and doo-dahs are aplenty. From the adorable rabbit and mushroom lamps that glitter the display shelves, to the “just because” (and other occasion) cards to pick up for that special someone you’ve been thinking of. “We’re really excited about our wider range of products and feel our customers will be too!” Ala’a beams with a pride that implies the care and consideration put into each product bought exclusively to enhance the space. “We want to offer a comprehensive selection,” Danah agrees, “where people will be able to find everything they’re looking for—whether you’re looking for a home accent, a larger gift to suit all occasions, a treat for yourself, or a small ‘you crossed my mind’ gift for someone else.”
The excitement The Reading Room has to offer doesn’t stop there! Customers and passersby can also look forward to a range of events to be hosted by the space: cooking classes/dinner club, French classes, arts and crafts, and activities for children of all ages. “We have a year of activities planned and encourage people to participate!” Danah informs, “There’s something for everyone, just like the rest of our space. Q first collaborated with The Yard, and today, The Yard is collaborating with the community.”
The Reading Room is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. Pay them a visit at the Visitor’s Center in Al Shaheed Park on Al Soor Street, opposite Al Tijaria. All products can also be viewed and purchased from their online shop, www.theyard-kw.com, and can be delivered worldwide. Follow them on Instagram @thereadingroom_bytheyard. Call them at 2246 1249 or 5596 3606.