Bait Sadu

According to their website, Bait Sadu, “is dedicated to celebrating the rich and diverse woven textile heritage of Kuwait, inspired by the values of productivity and creativity of the nation’s past, weaving together a cultural identity for both present and future generations.” The museum about the traditional woven textile, which was recently included on UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage, is located within an old, pre-oil home.

In a 1988 thesis entitled The Urbanisation of Kuwait Since 1950 we learn that, “some of Kuwait’s old merchant homes along the waterfront have been restored–these include Bayt al Badr, Bayt al Sadu, and the al-Ghanim family house occupied by the Kuwait Society of Formative arts.” On Sadu House’s website, they tell us that, “Sadu House, a traditional Kuwaiti house, was built in 1936 by the head of an affluent family, Youssef Al Marzouk. The house overlooked the seafront and incorporated four open courtyards with many Indian decorative influences, exemplified in the decorations on the wooden doors brought from Karachi, and the iron units on the windows. In 1938 the house came under the ownership of Youssef Shereen Behbehani who added a new floor and European style fireplaces in the diwaniya rooms. In the 1970s the house was purchased by the State under the Ministry of Information and later was acquired by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters. In the 1980 it embraced the tradition of weaving and became the home of weavings and textiles – Sadu House.” In addition to being a museum, the space also hosts many workshops and art exhibits.

The older photographs of Sadu House come from the KOC Archive, “Kuwait: A Nation’s Story” by Peter Vine and Paula Casey and the instagram of Ali al Rais. The floor plan map comes from the article Socio-Spatial Analysis of Traditional Kuwaiti Houses by Omar Khattab. The final photographs were found here, the KOC archives, and this flickr album.

Next door is Bayt al Badr. In his work Socio-Spatial Analysis of Traditional Kuwaiti Houses, Dr. Omar Khattab writes that, “Al-Bader House… was built during the 1840s out of mud and coral stones with wooden roofs. It was used as a house, guest house and later as horses’ stables. Bader house is probably the most representative of traditional Kuwaiti lifestyle, with its space and arrangement and locations. The house has four entrances; two opening to the diwaniya court for friends and acquaintances, one on amara court formal guests and business, and the last on harem court for females and family.”

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