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  • 8 Jul 2022 7:55 AM | Anonymous member

    Scope of Work: furnishing a 2-bed small condominium apartment in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Ampang area. The scope of work includes design and installation of an open-plan kitchen. 

    A little history that is quite relevant: I am not resident of Malaysia, so everything is totally new. Ground for learning everything on the job, including how to navigate the non-stop humidity and maintain calm, manage the heat and navigate the transport systems. As traffic is on the right, or rather for for me, or the wrong side of the road, driving was not even on the horizon for me at this time.

    The easier way forward; IKEA! Since we all know IKEA and how it works, this was the option taken! Until the discovery, that IKEA was actually on not budget friendly and time was a challenge. In Part 2, I will share more!

    The harder way forward: If you are not familiar with the market in Malaysia, have no-one to guide you, then its a hit and miss and a lot of moving around, building relationships, building trust, comparing rates and spending valuable time to unlearn and relearn. So time versus cost? I chose time and the easier way forward.

    IKEA, the easier way forward: here are tips based on my experiences.

    1. Book the appointments well ahead of time: Make sure that you book an appointment well before you arrive in Malaysia, as that may take weeks or even months. You will need to book two key appointments; one with the design team and another with the kitchen installer, a separate contractor usually with an office within IKEA; to take measurement on site and to install. This process is important as it will also inform of the available and needed services (electrical and plumbing). You will receive a copy of the hand drawn document and this you will use to approach the designer at IKEA.
    2. Not your usual process: usually once the design is done, then the booking with the installer is done. However there may be a long wait here. I would advise booking with the kitchen installer ahead of time and allow a reasonable gap. Two weeks minimum I would say. More would be better to ensure that all items in your design are available in stock for installation. IKEA designs tend to have a very long list of little items!
    3. Design your kitchen; I find that the kitchen designers at IKEA are professional, friendly and patient. However I would advise that you take a good look around the store first to get an idea of what you want before meeting the designer. This will save a lot of time.
    4. If you are in a hurry to install; make sure that all items you use in your design are available in stock and can be delivered at one time. Otherwise items not in stock will take time and your kitchen will be installed in parts over time. You will not be billed for items not in stock and every time an item becomes available you will need to make a new purchase and delivery/installment dates; rates apply every time. This could prove expensive and time consuming over time. Best way forward is to get the design you want with all the pieces delivered and installed one time. You can work with your designer on that.
    5. Before you purchase; take a look around to see if you can find some of the items at a better rate outside IKEA, but ensure sizes fit in your design. A good example is the counter top. If you already have selected your regrigerator, microwave, oven, hob, hood, sink …etc, make sure you have the exact dimensions so the IKEA designer can make appropriate allowances. However, I just went for everything in IKEA, except the fridge as the kitchen as too small anyway to include that in the design.
    6. Next; the contractors in Part 2.
  • 15 Jan 2022 4:55 PM | Anonymous member

    Construction 4.0 is the framework that covers, Digital transmission of the construction industry, The associated technologies are Building Information Modeling (BIM), 3D Printing, Artificial intelligence (AI), Cyber-physical systems such as the internet of things, drones, unmanned aerial systems, robots, and automation in the construction industry, aerial photographs, Laser scanning for measurements and data collections and cloud base data storages technologies.

    Transformation Stages:

    1.       Product Transformation

    2.       Digital Transformation

    3.       Transformation in Product delivery

    Benefits & Challenges in Construction 4.0


    • Cost Saving
    • Time Saving
    • Enhanced Safety
    • Improved Quality
    • Improved Sustainability


    • Big Demand for Investment
    • Shortage of Skilled Labor
    • Legal & Contractual uncertainty
    • Data Security
    • Resistance to Change


    The revolution for Construction 4.0 has already been started and big industrial players are actively participating in new technology and innovations, but smaller companies are not yet convinced, educational institutions, Researchers and industrialist needs to participate in addressing the issues and affordability for small industries, So the construction 4.0 would be more successful and we can enjoy the benefits.

  • 31 Dec 2021 5:32 PM | Anonymous

    MEL is designer and manufacturer of exclusive glass art installations. A team of architects specialized in digital design and a new generation of glass craftsmen started working together in the beginning of 2014 to create a new concept of glass art. With this initiative MEL is part of a trend that pursues the enhancement of artisanship through its modernization.  

    “Artisan glass fabrication is one of the most beautiful processes we can imagine. We were fascinated with the possibility of applying digital design tools to artisan glass techniques.”



    MEL | Designers | Barcelona A team of architects reconverted into product designers explores the possibilities of the combination of digital design and artistry to create breathtaking design experiences. Maria Ruiz, Director and Head Designer at MEL, is in charge of bridging the gap between the different expertise of the team while conceiving unique concepts for each client and project. MUVI | Craftsmen | Cartagena The Glass Craftsmen association in Cartagena is composed of a new generation of artisans that work hard to keep their tradition alive. They joined the team at MEL from the very beginning to contribute with their experience to the formulation of new glass art concepts. Having learnt from their families this 4rth generation of artisans wants to reinvent his trade to make sure the tradition continues with them. Modelical | Technical Consultancy | Madrid Modelical is a technology-oriented services firm composed of architects and engineers who love solving problems using, integrating, adapting and developing the most advanced 3D tools. A cutting-edge company behind MEL’s technological solutions.  

    DESIGN AND FABRICATION PROCESS1 | Digital Design The use of sophisticated design tools makes it possible to build concepts rather than finished designs. Taking them as a starting point we can then work hand in hand with other creative teams to explore the concept and find the right design for each particular space. 2 | Digital Fabrication Virtual 3d models are precisely translated into physical objects trough digital fabrication. These objects work as innovative molds and tools for our craftsmen or as prototypes to test the shape of the final glass piece before it is actually fabricated. 3 | Manufacturing In the final stage of the process the precision of new technologies meets the uniqueness of artisanship. Our craftsmen fabricate the glass pieces with the traditional techniques of blowing, fusing or engraving. Sand turns into glass adopting the shapes of complex geometries that started in the computer with a controlled degree on randomness that makes the final product genuinely artisan.  

    PRODUCTS1 | Modular Collections | DUNA, LOTO, PETALO MEL has developed three collections of illuminated glass mosaics that allow endless design possibilities. The composition of the artisan glass pieces, their color, and the integrated light, make each glass mosaic unique. They can be installed in any planar surface, both wall and ceiling or get adapted to other holding solutions. 2 | Bespoke projects There are almost no limits to what we can achieve with a bespoke piece. Motion, interactivity and hundreds of different glass components can be added to the recipe of a MEL bespoke installation. Each project in this category is a new challenge where the team at MEL explores new limits to their creation capabilities.  

    MARKETS | Mel has representation in Middle East, Latin America, USA and the UK. And develops projects independently worldwide.
  • 31 Dec 2021 5:20 PM | Anonymous

    There has been much talk in cinema circles about boutique cinemas but have you wondered what they are? There is no definition of boutique cinemas that I can find. But clearly its derivation is from another building type, namely ‘boutique hotels’. These hotels have sprung up all over the world since the 80s to counter the domination by international hotel brands, whose hallmark is brand consistency. For example on a recent business visit to Romania I stayed in a five star international hotel in Bucharest- for all you know this could have been an international hotel in London such is the apparent uniformity of the design. It would not have mattered one jot. My own view is that there is ’blandness’ about these kinds of brands whether they are hotels or shopping malls. I prefer buildings that have a bit more character so that we can identify them individually. We can either like or dislike them and perhaps start a conversation.

      As consumers we are becoming more discerning, demand more for our money and above all we have a choice. Smaller hospitality operators recognise this and have responded by offering hotels with distinctive styles of architecture and design, good levels of service and even offering new facilities not found in international standardised hotels (such as small luxury cinemas within their premises). Like the hotel sector the exhibition industry in the UK is dominated by large brands- Odeon, Cineworld and Vue who between them control approximately over 80% of market share by numbers of screens owned (note 1). Below this tier are companies such as Curzon, Everyman, The Light, Scott, Reel Cinemas and a selection of others owning 5 to 10 or more sites. At the bottom strata lie the origins of the boutique cinema phenomenon currently in vogue in the UK. Individuals, smaller companies or families who operate a handful of sites generally own these cinemas. The boutique concept as such is not new- it dates back to the late 80s/ early 90s. But its current manifestation is new. We now have boutique cinemas that are well-designed (generally with auditoria having stadium seating), have good quality finishes and front-of-house facilities and exteriors matching the sumptuousness of the interior.   I talk regularly to colleagues and other professionals in this industry and am frequently made aware of new cinema openings. Examples are The Odyssey St Albans, The Olympic Cinema Barnes (see my post on LI, July 2014), The Regal Cinema, Evesham, The Lexi Cinema in Kensal Green (run as a charity) (note 2),  The Showroom Sheffield, to name but a few.   In the case of my practice, we have recently completed a boutique cinema in Stockport, Cheshire for retained clients. The cinema is The Savoy Heaton Moor, completed in October 2015, and is the third site that we have worked on for our Clients in the past 10 years (see cover photo).   What are the factors contributing towards this trend? There are five that I think are worth mentioning 1) The democratisation of cinema with the advent of digital 2) Uniqueness of architecture and design 3) Levels of comfort and up to date technology 4) Friendliness of service 5) Alternative concession/ food and drink offering utilising local suppliers.   Since the digital rollout from around 2006, it is easier now to run cinemas by anybody who wishes to do so. Most cinemas employ young people who are generally more tech savvy as they have grown up with the digital age. Unfortunately the corollary is the demise of the ‘chief’ (chief projectionist in older style cinemas). Employees in cinemas are now trained to undertake a variety of roles from running the film, serving customers to involvement with back of house duties. Most are young, willing to learn and enthusiastic. In the past you started as a trainee and worked your way up to manager or ‘chief’. Roles were demarcated- ushers were ushers, etc. This is no longer the norm.   Flexibility of such offerings as ‘events cinema’ (i.e. live opera or concerts broadcast simultaneously across various venues and continents) have made cinema going very popular especially amongst older and wealthier sections of the community.  This has strengthened the appeal of boutique cinemas and is a main driver of its success combined with flexibility of film programming.   Boutique cinemas, being small and independent, do not have to conform to templates laid down by company HQ, which govern bulk purchasing to create economies of scale. Because they have one, two or at best three screens these auditoria can be designed with inventiveness (and perhaps even quirkiness) much like some home cinemas. They can be fun and inspiring places. Many have been designed as superb film spaces with good sight lines and incorporating high standards of seating comfort. Most feature the latest sound (including immersive sound such as Dolby Atmos), projection and screen technologies.   Some of these ideas in boutique cinemas have been so successful that the major players have themselves in recent years created ‘lounge’ cinemas to sit alongside more traditional multiplex halls. In this way cinemas have actually mirrored the boutique hotel model, by a willingness to invest in architecture and design which has given the picture house a new lease of life and driven business forward.   If motivated staff are recruited and loyalty acknowledged by management the levels of service in a cinema can be high according to some I have talked to. Snacks, food and drink offerings sold at boutique cinemas can also be different from products sold at a multiplex as these can be sourced from local suppliers, thus helping to improve the local economy. In addition in my view there is no reason why boutique cinemas cannot feature bookshops, restaurants (some already have these) or other facilities where there is demonstrable and established need.   Boutique cinemas can be a refurbishment or a new build project. Whatever happens they are now a firm part of the contemporary cinema landscape in the UK. Boutique cinemas can only get better and add further to the popularity of cinema going.


    Note 1: Figures extrapolated from UK Cinema Association (formerly CEA) statistics and Google search. Note 2: See my article on Boothless Cinemas, Cinema Technology, December 2012. 

    Ó Copyright 2016, Bill Chew Note: First posted on LinkedIn, 21 March 2016

    About the Author, Bill Chew

    Bill Chew Architect Ltd is an established architectural, consultancy and project management practice based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. The practice has completed commercial, leisure and residential projects in the UK and abroad ranging from £100,000 to £10M. The practice’s completed projects have been widely published and publicized in various national building, leisure and specialist technical magazines.

    Bill Chew studied architecture at Leeds School of Architecture and the Architectural Association, qualifying as an Architect in 1976. He spent over 10 years working in Qatar and the UAE over 3 different periods. Bill has spent over 8 years working in Doha on Qatar University (1980-86; 2009-2011). In the mid 80s he was Technical Consultant to the Diwan Emiri advising on QU working with the late Dr. Kamal el Kafrawi. His latest period in Qatar was in the role of Chief Architect at Arab Architects working on 4 major projects at QU. Bill is therefore entirely at ‘home’ working in Qatar and is familiar with working practices and procedures there. He is looking to form a collaboration with a local practice in his specialist field of media design and cinema architecture (including the design of film studios).  Bill wishes to impart his knowledge to the next generation of architects and would consider a visiting tutor role at a University.

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