Many people even those who reside in Kuwait are not completely aware of ‘The House of Mirrors’ or “Hall of Mirrors”. However this is really an incredible wealth of art, so accessible to the public at large and it is worth the visit. Also called, the Mirror House, it is the only house in the world that is entirely covered with Mirror Mosaic, done by a single artist!
This “House of Mirrors” belongs to the pioneer Kuwaiti Artists Khalifa and Lidia Al-Qattan and it is now considered as a Museum, as the wife of the renowned Kuwaiti artist has turned their house into a work of art using broken pieces of glass to decorate the outside and inside of the house.
Located in Qadsiya, the house is still a private property so appointments have to be made prior for weekday visits. Approximately 100 tonnes of white cement and 75 tonnes of mirror have been used in the making of the mirror mosaics that spangle the outside and inside of this residential house.
The House of Mirrors belongs to Italian born Lidia al-Qattan, sculptor, jeweler and a painter, who is married to Khalifa al-Qattan, a renowned Kuwaiti artist. Their little daughter, Jalila, had broken a mirror and the superstitious belief is that not to keep broken mirrors at home as it supposed to bring misfortune to the family.
But for Lidia these broken glasses inspired her to do something artistic and from the shreds, she made a glass art which was appreciated by Mr. Khalifa after returning from his business trip. Whenever he travels, Mr. Khalifa then started to bring artistic pieces. A heavy termites infestation caused heavy damage to the glass arts which almost made the duo to stop their art and thought of selling the house, but with their resolve and enthusiasm they found a way out for the termites and continued their artistic works.
Design of the House of Mirrors
Visitors to the House of Mirrors have to make a prior appointment to visit the house as it is still a private house. The owners are eager to show curious visitors their home even though this is a lived-in building. Lidia Al Qattan is an amazing person and such an incredible host, full of stories and the whole experience will be seriously pretty trippy.
From the outside, the House of Mirrors in fact stands out among the surrounding buildings. The facility is a white brick building with an amazing array of mirrors, depicting butterflies, stars, planets, palms and even calligraphy. The glittering inside of the building makes the brightly decorated outside pale in comparison and every space inside of the house is bedecked in mirrors.
Walls, Floorboards, all the rooms and even pieces of furniture’s are decorated with mirrors in all possible colors and shapes. The attached art galleries in the first floor which has collected pieces of both artists can also be visited. The tools of Mrs. Lidia Al Qattan are just four items, a filer, a table spoon and two different types of knifes to cut the glasses, which she later bought from Al Bassam Mirror factory in Shuwaikh. The mirrors are fixed onto the wall using White cement, White adhesive and water. The design and theme takes shape only after working on it. To avoid being hurt, each cut piece of mirror is filed.
Description of the Interiors
In the beginning, Mrs. Lidia decided to decorate the cabinet with some broken pieces of mirror and when her husband was impressed and astounded by her work; she expanded her work to all corners of the house. What started with a small cabinet in 1970’s began the makeover of all areas of the house and thus each room took its shape of what it stands as today. There is a specific theme for every room; the corridor has a dual theme, Shark Hall and corridor of nations. The passage of glittering light continues to captivate guests with sharks and other wonders of the world. The tour culminates with spectacular designs located in Universe Hall, Sea World Hall and Knowledge Hall, which also serve as a bedroom, restroom and library.
The Sea World Hall leads to the library to the left, bathroom space to the right and the bedroom in front. In the ‘Universe hall’ or bedroom, there are the glass works on the floor and paintings on the wall done on the room everything related to the universe. It also includes the creation of the Universe, a painting of Quran and glass works to the realization of community on how to spread peace and love.
The library or the Knowledge hall has a collection of various subjects and literature. It also has a very old book that termites had plagued into and a photo album of how Mrs. Lidia used to do her work, all documented well.
After this, there is the Stairs to Inspiration. The stairway features golden birds on the wing, leads to separate art galleries for both Lidia’s and her late husband Khalifa’s work in the first floor. The first main hall is the art gallery for Mr. Khalifa al-Qattan, followed by a small room, where Mrs. Lidia very thoughtfully had kept the things used by her husband while paintings, pictures of Khalifa done by other artist, pictures with celebrities, awards by associations and certificates from universities in this room. There are more paintings by her husband Khalifa placed in adjacent room. The other rooms have Lidia’s art, mirror work, sculptures, paintings on different canvases, jewelry, lamps and candleholders.
Finally, there is a dark room containing shimmering light, what Lidia calls art therapy. The room has a relaxing environment with soft music in the background. This room has paintings and few work of light which glow similar to the stars of the zodiac glowed in darkness in the downstairs. The tour of House of Mirrors ends with nucleus of the galaxy, where Lidia has created satellites, stars, and planets on the walls and ceiling.
The Gift Shop:
There is a gift shop from where you can purchase items ranging from coffee mugs, magnets, key chains, caps, books, charms, necklace, pens, puzzles, notebooks, Unicorns, dolphins, glass and window stickers, fans, and original paintings and sculptures of the artist.
Things to Remember
- Always make sure to go with a bunch of friends to ‘House of Mirrors’ since it’s an experience that should be shared.
- There is a gallery of Mrs. Lidia art on sale, and those who are impressed by her work are free to make a purchase, towards the end of the tour.
- Be prepared to sit for tea and treats and spend a good bit of time with delicious homemade apple cake in her living room with a discussion about Kuwait history, Lidia’s history and the methods she used for her creation.
- Women’s pointy high heels are not allowed within the museum due to the fragile nature of the floor mirror mosaic.
When to visit?
The Mirror House is closed from 23rd December to 8th January, and will re-open from 10th January by Reservations. The house will be closed every Monday of the week.
Remember that tours to the Mirror House are arranged ONLY on prior appointment basis. It will be a one to two hours guided tour in English.
To book a tour, call on Sunday or Tuesday 9am to 6pm on 22518522 (for local reservations) and for international reservations WhatsApp to +96550747677
Children 2 to 17yrs of age age: KD2
Kids below 2 years: free entry
Only cash payment is allowed
Address: House 17, Street 94, Block 9, Qadisiya, Kuwait City 35809
Telephone: +965 2251 8522
Email: [email protected]
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