A project by architects Hamed Bukhamseen and Ali Karimi questioning geopolitical strategies related to the development of Kuwait's global oil distribution.
Kuwait owns and manages five thousand petrol stations across Europe, all operating under the not-so-subtle company name 'Q8'. These stations were planned as an investment to secure a foreign market for Kuwait's oil exports, guaranteeing access to the European fuel market. Over time, these stations became five thousand embassies, each part of an exercise in imagining a foreign policy of architecture built abroad, taking what is often perceived as banal infrastructure and using it to create economic and political co-dependency at the service of state-oriented longevity. For a city-state of a million people exporting ten percent of the world's oil, the narrative of statehood is inextricably tied to outward projections of wealth and identity, and the Q8 gas station is vital to this agenda. This volume is a roadmap of Q8 strategy, featuring an interview with the former Q8 CEO which examines the history of the company and the brand, documenting over a thousand of the existing stations, and proposing new gas stations to complement the next phase of Q8/Kuwait abroad. The publication also includes an afterword by Dubai historian and Al Manakh editor Todd Reisz, examining the role of the Q8 stations within a broader projection of regional identities towards the outside world.
Civil Architecture is a cultural practice, preoccupied with the making of buildings and books about them. The work of Civil asks what it means to produce architecture in a decidedly un-civil time, presenting a new civic character for a global condition. Since its founding by architects Hamed Bukhamseen and Ali Karimi, the practice has attracted a strong following for their provocative works and their offer of an alternate future for a nascent Middle East.