In keeping with the affordable theme, we’re voting in favour of “less is more” with this latest range of minimalistic tile designs. Ostentious style is passe as back-to-basics rule this year. Beautiful and exceptionally practical, tiles are becoming the preferred choice to lend fresh expressions to walls and floors. Keep to the budget by dressing a feature area with these tile selections below.
Grey is the new black
This neutral shade is masculine yet soothing. In fact, many top designers agree that grey is the colour that will usher in a sense of urban sophistication to your interiors. Ideal for both cool and warm colour schemes, grey concrete tiles will prove popular due to their timelessness and versatility in providing a blank canvas of possibilities for your creativity to flow.
Weathered brown is in
Industrial vintage is one of the hottest trends in the design scene now. What better way to kick off the new year than to have your surfaces tiled in weathered brown. Pair this combination with mid-century furniture for a well-worn vintage look or blend it with a minimalist- inspired interior for an unexpected contrast of textures.
Introduce an edgier feel to your interiors with plush giraffe-print tiles which add a splash of the year’s wildest trend. The quirky tile pattern will surely inject the “wow’ factor into your home and make a great conversation starter. Best of all, save money by just dressing up a designated area with this wild look.
Unique denim dream
Can’t live without your jeans? Now you can live in them, literally! Originally created for cowboys and miners, this classic favourite look is making its way into the interiors with the reminder that the time-honoured design cuts the grade everytime.
Wood is good
Medium shades of wood are the in-thing and they work well in complementing open plan living areas, creating that return-to-nature look.
Lush landscaping is starting to feature prominently in new development projects as home buyers are putting more thought into the surrounding environment that they live in.
Likewise, developers are seeing the value in investing in landscaping.
Mah Sing Group Bhd is tapping into the trend and has invested heavily in setting up its show village and sales gallery in Bangi to promote its latest project, Southville City@KL South.
The 428 acre Southville City@KL South is a master-planned development, offering a premium lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and yet easily accessible with six major highways.
Mah Sing recently revealed the inspiration behind the design and landscape of its Southville City@KL South show village which is surrounded by lush greenery designed with vast space and open air circulation areas.
“The show village and sales gallery stands on 20acres of lush landscaping which includes mature imported palms, tiers of greenery and shrubs as well as a lake garden. Mah Sing’s investment in the show village and sales gallery is testament of our efforts in greening the Southville City township,” said James Bruyns, chief operating officer for marketing and sales, township residential.
The extensive and integrated landscape around the show village is complemented with trees and shrubs, aiming to create a living environment which emphasizes the harmonies of nature. Colourful flowers and a selection of greeneries were planted along the edges of the paths for a natural and rustic appearance.
Bruyns noted that green space allocation was a priority during the design and planning process.
Further into the show village, a cluster of fountains was incorporated into the pond to further beautify water features in the landscape and to create a cooling sensation for the surrounding environment.
A pedestrian footpath-cum-bicycle track was also designed along the waterway, providing future Southville City’s residents a glimpse of the expected landscaping surrounding the 13-km pedestrian footpath-cum-bicycle track that connects the entire neighbourhood.
“These elements blend the essence of modern living with natural surroundings, promoting restoration and conservation of the earth’s biodiversity. The landscaping designs that you see and experience here at our show village is what we plan to incorporate into the actual township,” Bruyns added.
A number of exotic plants have also been imported to add to the charm of Southville City including the Phoenix Canariense, or commonly known as True Date Palms, from Dubai and the Bucida molineti variegated or Black Olive Tree.
A collection of bonsai plants between 30 and 60 years old are also part of the extensive landscaping.
Southville City also drew inspiration from the local art scene with a series of wall paintings christened Cat Story. This concept was inspired by the street art in George Town, Penang. The development emphasises cleanliness, beautification, security, orderliness and wellbeing.
The township has received strong interest since its launch with more than 1,000 units of Savanna Executive Suites, the first phase of Southville City, pre-selected within eight hours last September. Currently, the project enjoys a strong take up of approximately 80% for the first four blocks in the first phase.
In view of the keen interest, Mah Sing will be opening more blocks for pre-selection. Later phases will include properties for the up-grader market like super link homes, linked semi-detached, semi-detached homes and bungalows complemented by lifestyle retail shops.
Mah Sing’s Southville City Show Village and Sales Gallery is open daily from 10am to 9pm. For more information and updates, visit www.mahsing.com.my or call 03 8938 2776/81.
OVER the past five months, we have published various incisive articles and analysis on different aspects of property. Largely concentrating on the external, financial facets and critical problems. Following readers' requests, we are publishing this article on the interior facets of property, particularly focusing on the colours and shades that will influence the moods in our homes and our lives.
The year of the horse is associated with the intelligent use of high energy and uncompromising efforts to improve ourselves. This principle can be expanded to include the living room, dining room, bedroom, kitchen, patio and all other areas of the home which play a meaningful part of our lives.
COLOURS OF THE SEASON
While we are forced to spend multiple hours at the workplace, it is in the living room where most of the stories of our lives unfold. The easiest way to rejuvenate these chapters of our lives is with colour, says an industry leader in the field of colour trends.
According to colour experts at Benjamin Moore & Co of the US, this year's colour trends steer towards lighter shades that hint and whisper a tint of colour. Gone are days where beiges, whites and grays were the usual favourites. Now, pastels in blues, greens, lavenders and pinks are the new neutrals.
Regarded the authority on colour, Pantone recently announced the colours for this season. Looking vibrant and gaining top spot as colour of the year, is 'Radiant Orchid", a rather cheery purple shade with fuschia, pink and purple undertones.
We analysed the IKEA offering in 2014, in the context of the ambitions, freedom and adventure associated with the year of the horse. Some of the trends noted in its 2014 catalogue include a mirrored or identical composition, when decorating both sides of a room. Some might call it canny, others say it is cute. Mix and match as well as combinations where bedroom becomes reading room, and the living room literally accommodates a place to live and play at, are the in-thing.
Shades of greens and bright yellows are also seen as fashionable, to liven up softer toned backdrops. Daring bold patterns make a comeback, giving interiors a modern and sophisticated feel, similarly emulating the spirited horse.
International home décor trends talk of "beautiful furniture" – "designs that are smaller, modern, classy, contemporary, and with unique features like storage space inside them".
Feature walls, ceiling designs, unusual lighting fixtures, and kitchen spaces using lighter toned woods with dramatic countertops are also in favour this year.
In an online article, industrial designer Stephen Burks of Readymade Projects said: "Designers are starting to operate in a way that is more important to society as a whole." Artek founder and furniture designer Aalto was also reported saying that designers are moving away from creating stuff, to creating "solutions".
SOLUTION BASED DESIGNS
Design director at Environmental Design Practice Sdn Bhd (or EDP), LP Yap, feels that the future is moving with this trend, especially in first-world countries. Towards environmentally conscious and sustainable designs, from the creative process, up to the final selection of materials.
"In Malaysia, the so-called 'minimalist' approach is no longer contemporary. It has come and gone. It's just passé. After a while, one finds that this so-called 'minimalist' concept is banal and lacks character. It doesn't withstand the test of time because it lacks meaning and reasoning. It is muted to the extent that it no longer speaks much about the people that it is designed to serve," he figures.
Yap expects to see a conscious move in the design fraternity, where interior architecture harnesses natural lighting and ventilation into buildings. This includes the interior layout, the use of materials and devices to filter and direct natural lighting and ventilation into the heart of the building. This serves human comfort as well as reduces reliance on mechanical devices.
"Recognition of this building science goes a long way in making the environment user-friendly. A good piece of design should not only be aesthetically pleasing but designed to function with interior spaces. Being the organs of the building, they channel natural energy and uplift the experience and spirit, in stimulating our inner senses," Yap adds.
His team has since moved from a purist approach favouring the Zen concept of simplicity of rectangular and linear forms. Now, the focus is on combining the purist simplicity approach with more complex and organic geometries.
"We believe it can attain an additional aspect of sophistication, besides being elegant per se in simplicity. Our intention is to use modern tools and scientific knowledge to create an internal space that speaks of elegance, sophistication and modernity."
It would appear that lady luck has a favourite colour, and this year, it’s teal.
Close on the heels of the awaited arrival of Chinese New Year heralded by the Year of the Horse, members of the media were feted to a Chinese New Year luncheon at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) yesterday, on an auspicious 8 January afternoon hosted by Dulux (AkzoNobel).
They were invited to unlock their hidden potential too, when Dulux Malaysia feng shui ambassador Kenny Hoo took to the stage and shared how the right combination of colours can usher in lady luck’s good graces in the coming year.
The event kicked off with a lion dance, followed by an opening speech by Akzo Nobel Paints (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd managing director CW Goh. “We believe the future belongs to those who can unlock the potential within and around themselves and seize the opportunities that come their way,” said the charismatic Goh, referencing the theme of Dulux ColourFutures 2014, “Unlocking Potential”.
Hoo, who has over 15 years of experience in reading feng shui, has worked extensively with the Dulux Colour Research Centre to develop a chart that allocates different colour schemes to people according to their date of birth. “Only Dulux uses this combination of colours to enhance the functional effects of feng shui,” he enthused.
Stating that 2014 is the Year of the Wood Horse, he predicted that the year will bring good luck in love and business to those who know how to take advantage of the right combination of colours. “This is also the year of the Flying Star, which bring strong influences of the wood element. Therefore, I’ve concluded that green is the most influential good feng shui colour for 2014.” He shared that wearing green or even decorating one’s home and workspace with this environmentally friendly shade can enhance one’s luck.
“The colour green is the most influential good feng shui colour and it can bring forth plenty of positive energy and greater fortunes to promote good health, wealth, harmony and prosperity this year. It can boost academic progress and the business fortune of occupants of places using this shade, while also improving people’s creative thinking abilities,” he opined.
According to him, this makes Dulux’s chosen Colour of the Year, teal, a particularly auspicious one as, aside from its greenish hue, one of the characters in its Chinese name (which, literally translated, means water duck colour) also incorporates the character for wood or ‘jia’, making it the ideal colour to add to certain sectors of one’s home or work place to enhance the element of luck in 2014.
“Adding a coat of teal along with other shades of green to the North sector of your home as well as in your office will add luck to your career path this year,” said Hoo, adding that including minor touches of red and purple to the area would also further enhance one’s luck. He encouraged those wanting to do well in their studies to include shades of green in the centre of the house as this area falls under the scholastic star this year.
However, the feng shui practitioner noted that other colours could also bring luck in the year 2014 depending on where they were situated within the home.
“For instance, painting the kitchen with warm colours like red or orange will bring good luck as their energies will work in harmony with the fire element from the stove. Some people make the mistake of painting the kitchen blue, which creates a clash of elements and brings bad luck. Likewise, the bathroom, where the water element is strong, should not be painted red.”
TROPICANA Corporation Bhd unveiled yet another phase for its ongoing Tropicana Metropark mixed-development in Subang Jaya recently.
The new Paloma Serviced Residences and Courtyard Villas will be joining Pandora Serviced Residences which was launch earlier in 2013.
Both projects will be part of the Tropicana Metropark’s 35.6ha of land in Subang Jaya, with a gross development value of RM6.3bil spanning over 12 years.
“The younger generation of homeowners have become more discerning about new design concepts and the type of lifestyles they want to provide for their family,” said the group’s managing director Datuk Dickson Tan.
Current trends he said seemed to point towards features such as the creation of the green open park spaces, mix development concepts, multi-tiered security as well as easy accessibility to transportation and amenities.
The company will also be forking out RM150mil for the construction of a new flyover to allow residents and road user near the development to gain direct access into the Federal Highway.
Tropicana Metropark he added had created a “resort gateway” for city dwellers. The exclusive development is built to capitalise on the shift in mindsets among new homeowners who now prefer green spaces where families could utilise it.
The Paloma comprises two serviced residential towers with 323 units in Tower A and 248 units in Tower B, as well as 16 duplex units.
There are five different layouts to choose from. The smaller units start with the studio unit (type A) with a built up area of 609 sq ft, followed by two-bedroom units (type B) with a built up area of 916 sq ft. Those with larger families can opt for the three bedroom designs which comes in either the Type C of 1,259 sq ft, 1,309 sq ft (Type C1) or the 1,306sq ft (Type C2).
Paloma will not be short of facilities as it plans to offer its residents with a sophisticated lifestyle amenities. Some of its key facilities planned include a half-sunken basketball court, bicycle park, floating pavilion, games room, stone garden, sanctuary pool, wading pool, children’s playground, social terrace, jacuzzi.
At the heart of Paloma is the 3.72ha Central Park. While at Level 30, residents can look forward to staying fit at their sky gymnasium, soak up the sun in the rooftop’s bubble tub or have a cup of tea at the sky lounge area.
For the convenience of the residents, Tropicana Metropark has also invested RM150mil in constructing a flyover next year that will directly link the development project to the Federal Highway.
Besides that, residents can also access the development through the Batu Tiga and Subang Jaya KTM stations located just five to ten minutes away.
For details on Tropicana Metropark call 03-5636 6888/ 018-3792 088 or visit www.tropicanametropark.com.my.
Carrier Malaysia introduced its innovative AquaFlow™ variable water volume (VWV) system for various commercial and light commercial applications recently. The AquaFlow VWV system leverages on hydronic and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technologies to deliver superior indoor comfort, energy efficiency, design flexibility and ease of installation.
“As the demand for more energy efficient air-conditioning systems increases, Carrier has developed and launched a series of products and systems over the last two years, which will benefit the end-user especially in reducing operating costs,” said Carrier Malaysia managing director Chong Wai Yen.
“Compared with a conventional system, the AquaFlow VWV system can consume 43 percent less energy. The energy efficiency and lower cost of operations add up to substantial savings, as air conditioning accounts for about 40 percent of the energy consumed within a building,” he added.
The AquaFlow™ VWV system integrates an innovative design with optimised controls that provide up to 40 % higher system integrated part load value (IPLV) than traditional fixed water volume flow systems, and 10 % improved system efficiency (or equivalent IPLV) over conventional VRF systems, based on Carrier studies. For example, based on real-time indoor load change, variable water flow control adjusts water flow rate to reduce pump power consumption. Adaptive water temperature control adjusts the temperature of water, leaving the outdoor unit to reduce energy consumption of the outdoor unit.
The Carrier AquaFlow VWV system operates in heat recovery mode combined with a demand control ventilation device to manage the fresh air load, and delivers 100 percent fresh air on demand at 25 % of conventional ventilation cost.
Along with optimal fresh air levels, the Carrier AquaFlow VWV system ensures ideal temperature and humidity control as well as heating without any risk of indoor refrigerant leakage. Indoor conditions can be precisely set in half-degree increments and with high accuracy in humidity detection control, according to Carrier studies. During the winter, indoor heating is continuously maintained by the system’s intelligent sequence defrosting control.
INTERNATIONAL Brands Gallery (IBG) recently held an interior designer cocktail evening in conjunction with the grand opening of its ninth outlet at the Intermark Mall in Kuala Lumpur.
A premium furniture retail chain, IBG is the principal distributor of international designer brands including Tempur, Napure, Englander, Viscopedic, Calia, Mèta and Gautier.
IBG, which has been in Malaysia for seven years, supports world-leading, eco-friendly furniture brands.
Media personnel and interior designers were given a look into the various furniture available at IBG recently, which included a variety of high-end European furniture, bedding selections, dining sets, mattresses, coffee tables and lights.
According to IBG’s general manager, Ratnadewi Bahwandi, many of their sofas are from Italy and are made from genuine cowhide leather while their furniture is from France.
“French furniture is not widely available here,” said Ratnadewi. “We have many China- made products (in Malaysia) so this stands out.”
Many of their customers are middle to upper middle class who are looking for pieces with better varnish and other high-end items.
According to sales consultant Joann Lai, IBG is the only one in Malaysia to import some of these brands.
“Napure, Englander and Viscopedic are manufactured in Malaysia while brands such as Tempur, Calia, Mèta and Gautier are manufactured overseas,” said Lai.
Some of their bedding selections have pressure relieving properties and are maintenance free, and can help with neck and back problems.
Their mattresses can range between RM3,000 and RM8,000, depending on the brand and type of mattress.
Their furnitures help maximise storage space with their innovative designs, such as a console table that can be extended to sit additional guests.
They currently have 10 branches in West Malaysia. For more information, visit www.ibg.com.my
Rozel has a brand spanking new showroom in Bukit Kuda Heights, Klang that showcases an array of leather furniture in dynamic settings to provide individuals with ideas on furnishing their homes.
The showroom is the second to open up in Klang and the seventh in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
The company says the showroom is ideal for customers to find coordinated leather furniture designs with colours suited to their interiors.
The 15,000sq ft showroom opened on Nov 30 with ample space to display luxurious furniture, ranging from sofas to dining sets, many in full leather. The latest products will first be introduced and featured in the new three-storey showroom.
Rozel Corporation Sdn Bhd marketing executive Steven Gan said Rozel’s Gold range of fine-textured aniline leather will cater to furniture trends for business interiors, while the modern softly malleable bovine leather is the current favourite of contemporary homes.
“We have dedicated professionals ready to provide information and inspire our customers in their interior designs with well put together mix and match pieces,” said Gan.
Rozel expects the showroom to generate income growth from the Klang area due to the up and coming developments of Setia City as well as Setia Alam.
With 18 stores throughout Malaysia, Rozel foresees gradual business growth and plans to continuously upgrade and expand its outlets said Rozel managing director Gan Tai Hwa.
“We feel that Malaysians have the potential to be inspired to increase their expenditure on renovation and improving interiors as Rozel is not just selling furniture, but creating homes,” said Tai Hwa.
Rozels Klang showroom is located at, 16-20, 20 Jalan Kampar 1/KU1, Bukit Kuda Heights, 41300 Klang. For more information, visit www.rozel.com.my.
DITCH the old-fashioned style while renovating your kitchen this year-end and deck it with vibrant finishing to give it a brand new look.
SCI Cabinet Industry Sdn Bhd, which is participating in Perfect Lifestyle ‘13 from Dec 6 to 8, is showcasing its Hi-Gloss Painted kitchen cabinet series and Crystal Glass series.
Taking place at Setia City Convention Centre (SCCC), the home and living exhibition opens its doors from 10am to 9pm.
Company business development manager Michael Lim said the Hi-Gloss series would appeal to the younger generation.
“Its sleek finishing with no side edging gives a contemporary look to any kitchen.
“Its range of 12 attractive colours gives houseowners a wide choice.
“We have our own spray paint team and the cabinets are manufactured locally to ensure quality and cost-effectiveness,” he said.
Homeowners who want a scratch-resistant finishing can opt for the Crystal Glass series.
“This series is practical and we will usually recommend this for the wet kitchen.
“Our melamine panels also offer scratch-resistant qualities that can be fitted into the kitchen panels,” he said.
Occupying six booths in the exhibition, visitors can expect a range of kitchen finishing as well as wardrobe that come in various designs and styles.
SCI will be displaying a variety of slide drobe and sling drobe wardrobe sets during the three-day exhibition.
To-date, the company has 18 stories including five in Johor Baru, Penang, Sandakan, Kota Kinabalu, Kuantan and one in Myanmar.
Lim said the 18-year-old company had received franchise certificate and was looking for interested individuals.
The first 1,000 visitors every day will walk away with a limited- edition Perfect Lifestyle aluminium drinking bottle.
Prudent use of electricity is among the essential measures that consumers could take to lessen the burden of their already rising cost of living.
IT specialist Ivan Chua said the power tariff rise was too sudden.
“If the Government had to increase the power tariff, I would not mind if it was done gradually. A sudden hike will only make life harder for us as the prices of other goods such as sugar and petrol have increased recently as well,” he said.
Housewife Roanna Wong said simple methods such as turning the lights off after use and pulling unused plugs out of the socket would make a difference to the electricity bill.
“Even though the cost of electricity is rising, we have to learn and adapt to the situation.
“A lot of energy-saving techniques like reducing the use of air-conditioners only require a little discipline and sacrifice,” she said.
Betty Tan, a mother of two, said consumers would have to consider buying energy-saving bulbs and appliances that utilise green technology.
A sales executive at a LED lighting store, who only wanted to be known as Haseeb, said more customers were buying energy-efficient LED light bulbs at his shop in Tropicana Mall here.
“Using LED light bulbs will save up to 75% in energy usage. LED light bulbs only use 4V-8V of electricity compared with fluorescent bulbs that use 36V-42V and filament bulbs that use more than 100V,” said the 23-year-old.
MG Electrical store sales supervisor Chua Eng Ka expected business to be slow due to rising electricity costs.
“Consumers are getting interested in inverter technology to reduce energy consumption. Refrigerators and air conditioners using inverter technology will save 40% to 80% in energy use,” he said.
On Monday, the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry announced a 4.99 sen per kWh (14.89%) increase in the average power tariff in peninsular Malaysia and 5 sen/kWh (16.9%) in Sabah and Labuan effective Jan 1.
There will be no increase imposed on consumers who use electricity at a rate of, or lower than, 300kWh a month.
Meanwhile, ministry secretary-general Datuk Loo Took Gee said the hike should not be a reason for food-based industries to raise prices of their products and services.
He said they were among those with the smallest energy usage.
“Electric component only contributes about 1.8% to the consumer price index (CPI), so for each RM100 spent, the cost of electric component is only RM1.80,” she said at the Parliament lobby yesterday.
At a Good Agriculture Practices certificate presentation in Putrajaya, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob concurred, saying that electricity was not extensively used in most farming activities, hence prices of farm products should not be increased.