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Edition 04

Who is “murdering” our interiors?

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By Bobby YAWE

As I thought of this article, the title of a book by the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (first Vice President of Kenya), “Not Yet Uhuru”, came to mind. I was profoundly driven to qualify my analysis here in the same breath. Allow me to declare before I narrate my argument that it is “Not yet Interiors”.

 How do you turn a building into a refuge, a place to call home, and not just stone and mortar? Through what we do with the interiors, as it is the only truly personal element of the structure that is the occupant; this makes even a rented house a home.

Why do our structures continue to remain plain and blunt? It’s because someone has been “murdering” our interior designers and by extension our interiors. I have used the word “murder” instead of kill because of the difference in meaning.

To kill is to take life while to murder is to take life in a premeditated manner. With murder, there is a plan and a motive unlike is the case with running over a pedestrian. Even in law, the two are treated separately and the penalties are different. The jury might still be out on this one, but I have concluded from undeniable evidence that the interiors have been murdered.

Visit any of the developments going on in Nairobi for instance, and those that have been completed over the past few years and you realize that even though the externals of the houses have become impressive, the interiors leave nothing to desire.

Many of us belittle those who run our public universities with statements like they are producing substandard graduates yet the school of the built environment at the University of Nairobi recently restructured the degrees of architecture and land economics to become reflective of the changes that have taken place in the industry.

 Degree in Interior Design

Yet, apart from me, no one else has seen it prudent to publicise this fact. The University of Nairobi has a degree in Interior Design and having interacted with some of the graduates, I am confident with the level of the qualification. Now since I have decided to go academic on this article, here is a definition and function of an interior designer:

Interior design concerns itself with more than just the visual or ambient enhancement of an interior space; it seeks to optimize and harmonize the uses to which the built environment will be put. Thus it is “practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such a  raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style.” Interior design is a practice that responds to changes in the economy, organization, technology, demographics, and business goals of an organization.

These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants, and are aesthetically attractive. Interior design includes a scope of services performed by a professional design practitioner, qualified by means of education, experience and examination, to protect and enhance the life, health, safety, and welfare of the public (Source: National Institute of Building Sciences)

So when the various city and county councils and state corporations such as NEMA who are entrusted with the wellness of the public at large have not seen it necessary to require the signature of an interior designer on building designs and environmental impact assessments, it becomes clear that a murder is being planned.

 Culture and quality of life

I like the part of the definition of an interior designer that states, and I quote: “. . . the quality of life and culture of the occupants”. In essence, we have interiors done for other cultures and enforced on us.

In the past few months when house hunting with friends, I have seen them reject houses because the so-called guest bedroom is not en-suite. This room is normally occupied by a visiting parent, so you can imagine the awkwardness, they said. Most African cultures dictate that your in-laws should not sleep under the same roof. So why is it that architects who claim to subscribe to their cultural norms (unfortunately only with burial issues) design houses and forget to incorporate those norms? Simply detaching the guestroom a.k.a Servant Quarters from the main house and providing a cooking area will resolve the issue.

Who knows interiors?

From this, it is clear that the conspiracy also includes some architects, who even though interior design was separated from the profession over 100 years ago, still insist that they can handle the design of interiors.

This has resulted in the houses having master bedrooms sharing walls with children’s bedrooms, toilets opening into sitting rooms and dining rooms, doors splitting en-suite rooms from bathrooms. It is obviously clear why there is so much stress and tension in houses.

It is said that a jack of all trades is a master of none; and what is happening in the built environment is that one group is trying to monopolize the entire industry from concept to design to sales of developments. The problem might be due to a lack of awareness by the public but through such publications as Ideal Interiors, we hope that the masses will get to understand and appreciate the different players in the creation of a home or a healthy workplace.

 Changing spaces

A cave man takes only the outer shape of the cave to shelter him from earth’s aggressive elements, and finishes the interiors to his needs and functions. On the other hand, the current generation allows itself to be forced to live within predefined internal spaces by so-called developers.

It is criminal how we have structural walls all across a house; which means that the layout has literally been cast in stone. Our lives change and our use of the home needs to change as well. The only way to achieve this is to have flexible partitioning.

The person jointly responsible for this cause of events is called an engineer who looks for the least calculation required root when working out the support of the structure, be it a house or office. Together with their close ally, the architect, they have forced us into boxes within boxes, and within more boxes by placing supporting walls everywhere. The whole day you are subjected to talk about “thinking out of the box” while seated in a box just to go home and try and internalize the same while sleeping in a “box”.

With ancient materials like wood and brick, there has been no rationally justifiable reason why we have not been offering flexible spaces especially to the residential occupant.

Even the great fortified castles of yore were built with flexibility in mind, where the outside was built in solid impenetrable stone but the interiors where usually finished in soft sensual wood. Visit the older churches such as St. Andrews, St Francis and the All Saints Cathedral to appreciate the qualities of wood.

 The verdict

The Interiors were murdered and continue to be murdered. If International Criminal Court (ICC) lead prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo was to look into this injustice, he would have very few choices but to declare this a crime against “humanity”.

We need to stop this systematic elimination of individuality and freedom of expression by stopping and thinking serious before acquiring a box within a box in the pretext of a home. Insist on a shell then have a say on how the interiors are done.

Edition 04

Make moving a pleasant experience

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By Jeniffer MBOGORI

The thought of moving is enough to bring strain to someone’s mind. Whether one is moving house or office, the process of organizing and facilitating a move is not an easy task and can be a strenuous one.

There are quite a number of things to consider when contemplating a move. Obviously, everyone remembers the important things like paying outstanding bills, redirecting mail and taking the last electricity meter readings, but the nitty-gritty in relocating is what matters.

Are you one of the people who wait until the last minute to look for the nearest lorry and help hands to move your home or office? Do you start worrying about packaging and you do not even know where to begin? Really, are you just totally confused about the whole moving process?

 Pleasant experience

This is where Armstrong Movers & Storage, a company incorporated in 2008, comes in. The company ensures that your move is a pleasant experience as it specializes in the relocation of household and office removals for the middle and upper class in the East African region.

The company is steadily plunging into the international freighting of goods which at the moment rests mostly with international firms.

According to the Managing Director, Mr. Joseph Ndichu, Armstrong Movers & Storage have created a niche service in the market by providing personalized and friendly services that are professional and surpass expectations of clients.

“Relocation should be well-planned,” quips Ndichu, while noting that Armstrong Movers carefully plan and execute your move from them first phone call to the final drop off. Armstrong Movers & Storage are known for their specialized packaging materials that are designed to absorb shock, protect delicate items and offer all round protection for each and every item one is moving from the home or office.

 Cost fundamentals

Prior to making a move, a major concern for every home owner or office occupier is always the costs one will incur when planning and executing the move. Well, there is no cause for worry because at Armstrong Movers & Storage, budgets are negotiable and cost is never a hindrance to the peace of mind when moving.

Before embarking on any task, the friendly staff will take time to enlighten clients on what is involved in the moving process. While walking a client through the process, the staff members will ensure they get acquainted with the locations involved in the moving process. After booking services in advance, time is allocated to the client, a no-cost, no-obligation consultation for your residential moving needs survey is undertaken, and only then is a quote created to match the job description.

A plus for clients moving out or into the country is the large warehouse facility located very close to the airport. Knowing very well the high cost of warehouse facilities at the airport and the limited durations of time for storage, it is a welcoming relief to note that you can store your items for as long as you like at the Armstrong warehouse located just a few metres from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

 Spacious facility

With the long traffic jams we are experiencing in the city, it is easy to miss a flight, so when this occurs (we hope it doesn’t happen), one can store luggage at the spacious facility. International travel can prove a challenge to anyone, thus we provide full-service global mobility management by arranging sea or air transportation, packing, and the preparation of shipping documents for our clients, thus ensuring smooth transition from one location to the other.

Armstrong Movers & Storage delivers total logistics solutions to our clients, combining an efficient fleet service along with supply chain management of all your transportation needs.

Our performance tracking provides ongoing system analysis for our customers, reducing overall costs and enhancing function throughout their enterprise. Armstrong is always on call and available to handle fluctuations in demand as well as emergency shipments, enabling you to operate at peak efficiency while delivering exceptional value and unparalleled service to your customers.

In addition to home and office relocation services, other services offered include international relocation, packing and crating services, moving supplies and equipment and data storage solutions.

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Edition 04

Breathe easy: Hotpoint introduces ultra-modern air con

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Hotpoint Appliances Ltd has newly introduced into the market, the TITAN range of air conditioners under its Room Air Conditioners division.

 The TITAN AC comes with a built-in AVS (Voltage Stabilizer) though that is just one of its numerous advantages, says Rabinder Kanani, one of Hotpoint’s Sales Managers. The TITAN comes with other premium advantages such as virus and allergy filters, powerful three way airflow, quiet operation, greater airflow swing action, modern design, faster cooling achieved by powerful compressor and a function for economical consumption of energy.

The firm’s Commercial Air Conditioners division equally introduced the LG MULTI V III commercial Air conditioner this year. “This inverter unit is your premium solution for all commercial air conditioning needs. MULTI V Inverter system offers one of the world’s largest capacity units, essential for high-rise buildings,” Ms Magon says. “We are proud to say the system will ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction. Multiple indoor units are connected to a single outdoor unit thereby creating an efficient system that offers outstanding energy saving of up to 35 per cent.”

Simple, easy installation, and connection to different types of indoor units, makes it easy to design and set up. With air conditioning, your environment is also assured of optimum conditions regardless of season or space with the ability of a single outdoor unit simultaneously handling heating and cooling via synchronous operation.

Products and solutions

Hotpoint provides a host of products and solutions for its customers. In the business area, there are residential and commercial products, air conditioning and heating products as well as accessories such as solar energy and LED lighting and solutions.

LG’s residential air conditioners have been leading the global industry since the year 2000 in terms of market share, trendsetting and performance. They are unique in that they offer both heating and cooling modes.

The products’ health-conscious features are one of the key distinctive elements. Hotpoint for instance, have the world’s first anti-dengue mosquito technology and the Dual Action Virus Protector, which kills 99.9 percent of H1N1 viruses in 24 hours of constant operation. Features like these are upgrading the firm’s consumers’ lives and helping them stay in healthier environment.

 The commercial horizon

LG air conditioners have been designed to achieve maximum energy savings. By sensing body heat, the Eco Eye sends out the optimized direct or indirect airflow, thereby making big savings in energy consumption. Also, the Inverter technology reduces energy use by up to 60 percent compared with non-inverter units.

The new flagship Multi V III, LG’s new VRF system, enables world’s highest energy efficiency. It is also the most compact-sized air conditioner in its class, occupying up to 30 percent less space than others drawn from competition. The firm’s – and the world’s – first continuous heating system can generate heating without interruption (on a contrary to conventional type with 7 to 8 minute’s interruption per an hour operation) which consequently results in energy efficiency.

 Good conditions

All of their grilles and diffusers are manufactured in our modern Sri Lankan factory and thanks to LG’s 34 years in the air movement sector and competitive pricing structure, the firm may be well placed to offer value and quality.

Hotpoint’s range of products create optimal living and working conditions by enabling their customers to control their environment including temperature, humidity and air quality to make them more comfortable. Their products are safe to operate and easy to manage. Hotpoint provides clients with reliable and cost effective solutions.

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Edition 04

General manager with a difference

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For Ghulam Samdani, the journey to become Ole Sereni Hotel’s general manager has evidently been one long but inspirational path of success.

From a humble background of a restaurant intern in 1994 for six months, Ghulam has kept his pulse in the hospitality industry and has since then served in four continents – Europe, America, Asia and Africa.

His first steps as a hotelier saw him rise through the ranks in Switzerlands four leading city hotels before proceeding to the US where he became an assistant restaurant manager at Wellesley Country Club for almost an year. Boylston Palace tapped him for a restaurant manager’s job and opportunity that gave him yet another step of becoming the director of food and beverage at Holiday Inn in the US.

Holder of a Hotel & Restaurant Managementdegree and masters in Organizational Behaviour at Johnson & Wales University in the US, Ghulam’s nudge to acquire more experience saw him polish and rise through various ranks in the hotel industry. Among them was being the event manager at Eagle Pond Lodge in USA for nearly three years before scooping a more challenging general manager’s job at Sarovar Premiere Hotel in Kerela, India. This awesome responsibility had Ghulam manage the entire food and beverage operations of domestic and international airport of “Trivandrum”, which is leased to the hotel owners.

Humbled, assertive and jovial, Ghulam who been at the helm of Ole Sereni Hotel since August 2010 is affirmative that besides the wonderful aesthetics that hotels should have it is service delivery in hotels that renders the business worthwhile results. He further notes that effective hotel management is the pillar that contributes to the most profitable business to the hotel and the economy as a whole.

In 2005, Ghulam initiated Foreign Internship Program with German based Hospitality Institutes.

His effort to initiate a corporate social responsibilty programme led him initiate a foundation branded SMILES, which offers a helping hand to the mentally and physically challenged persons. Numerous fundraising activities have been conducted since inception of the initiative in 2006.

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