|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 23, Tuesday, June 8, 2010|
Tangy and yellow
THE fragrance of green mangoes at the neigbourhood grocery in early May reminds of the ensuing summer, and along with it a wide array of summer fruits. Now, however it is the reign of the plump, ripe mangoes.
If winter is the season to feast on nature's offering of vegetables, summer brings with it an unbound, treasure-trove of fruits.
The moist, rich, loamy soil, and production friendly climate makes tropical Bangladesh a breeding ground of lush greenery that produces fruits of superior quality, varied not only in size, shape and form but also taste.
Any street-smart, seasoned haggler would know that mangoes this season are well within the reach -- delectable 'mogonbhog' 'langra' 'himshagor' available within Tk 50-70. 'Fazli' a favourite of many, especially children for its large size, sweet taste and comparatively less fibre will start appearing in the market within days. Keep counting!
By Mannan Mashhur Zarif
IT can happen to just about anybody. You're savouring your succulent summer fruit when a few drops of it falls on your favourite kameez. Your first reaction is to go into a flutter of panic but that is never the best course of action. Instead, when that happens, the best thing to do would be to immediately isolate that article of clothing instead of letting it dry or stain. Fight the urge to go straight for the detergent or soap because those ingredients will set the stain and make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Try loosening the stain first with just cold water. For more stubborn fruit stains, prepare a strong concoction of borax and water. Rub the borax into the stain, let it sit for about five minutes, and then check to see if the stain has disappeared. Once the stain is gone, rinse the borax out with hot water.
By Mahareen Khalid
Modern face lift
PEOPLE buy houses for all kinds of reasons. But that doesn't necessarily mean they like everything about it. This is an apartment, almost 4000 sqft in area and situated at Gulshan .
The living area is spacious and highly ventilated due to large horizontal windows. The original space was a plane surface. As the space is free, we can play with furniture in many ways especially when we work in a living room.
A living room expresses a sense of your home. The living room is the threshold between public and private life, so strike a chord that embraces both and resonates your entire home. Create a space that's approachable, casual, and comfortable, and no matter how you furnish it, your room will always be full of life.
A well designed living room can be informal, yet sophisticated enough for special occasions. In a large space such as in this particular house, we got a spacious room for living. So we arranged a generous sectional sofa that offers optimal flexibility. At beginning we made a division for space planning. Actually it was my client's desire that she wanted a floor with different level. The space is spacious, so I took the opportunity to create a rectangular higher level floor at the end. Actually creating a higher level floor is little difficult for minimum spaces, its draws some accident such as slip from the floor due to absences of long eye view. That is why I made a clear eye view for the upper level. Even we arranged two different color marble for two floor level. One is beige and another one is forest brown. Three console spot lights are installed into the riserof the top floor. We also made two punches in the floor and fill them with stone and leaves and cover those with tempered glasses.
Wall treatment is another upcoming metro fashion. Again I took long view for this face lifting work. So, we arranged very subtle beige color rustic tiles and paste them at the corner end walls. We did not pastethem from floor to ceiling, generally people wants to cover top to bottom area but I took a four feet middle section of the wall for rustic tiles.
I made another wall covering for another corner. Here we made three vertical sleek punches in the wall and installed three spot lights to high light this corner. Three Indonesian masks are hanged in those areas. Here we also placed two classic individual chairs and a console table. This is another sweet corner for intimate sitting.
Group sitting is very interesting arrangement if you can manage it without overlapping traffic flow. We placed straight modern fabricated sofas on the basic floor and also made square shape contemporary coffee tables side by side. We arranged another importedcurved sofa for upper floor. We placed a large unit at the corner so that the corner looks very fabulous.
Color palette is another important subject for décor. At the beginning we thought about neutral colors. We used apricot white in the wall. Sofas and cushions are also beige, brown, grey and deep chocolate.
Foyer is an important area for a house. This is a big apartment but we did not made any closed foyer here. We kept an open space for entrance and build a custom made fountain in front of the entry door. Water, stone, rustic tiles and green money plants makes a lovely corner. Accessories are not essential but without them, the house looks lifeless. We collected lampshade, candles, and some small decor pieces for the coffee table. We also arranged some pot plants and placed them in one or two corners. Green always brings fresh look and it gives you a healthy feeling. As the paintings speak our hearts word we hanged some beautiful water color paintings, mirror and glass etching work in the walls and doors. Your sweet home is your heaven. At the end of the day you will feel comfort at your place. So, feel your instinct for your décor unlike others.
Nazneen Haque Mimi
Knock on wood
IT started out as a tiny workshop/showroom in Dhaka, in 1975. At that time, all Nitun Kundu had was Tk 5000 at hand, and a big dream. Three and a half decades later, that dream has resulted in a reality that involves a furniture chain that comprises some 16 showrooms and 300 dealers across Bangladesh, and is all set to take West Bengal by storm. That dream was called Otobi, and this week, Star Lifestyle takes you across the borders and back again, as we check out this furniture giant.
Made in Bangladesh...
Structure - The sleek, streamlined look of the home furnishings appeals to the contemporary consumer. A lot of research has gone into the needs of the market. The swivel chairs, for example, are sculpted to provide maximum comfort and support for the busy professional, and their castors (small wheels attached to the lower structure) are sturdy and shock-proof. In space-starved Kolkata, emphasis is given to efficient storage in multi-tasking products, such as built-in drawers for beds.
Safety/utility features - All Otobi products come with features that promise to maximize user satisfaction. Consider the children-friendly edging around the tables that ensures durability, and also prevents nasty accidents. While advertised as 'solid wood', what the company actually uses for items such as office desks and modular kitchens is MFC boards with a melamine lamination. In plain English, what this means is that the furniture is supposed to be scratch proof, spill-proof, and heat-proof. One wishes cars were like that.
Now, many contemporary cuss-words were born because of stuck drawers. The little rollers built into Otobi drawers strikes a death-knell to this dubious creativity, because you certainly cannot blame stuck drawers for your slanguage.
Flat packing - All Otobi products are manufactured in Bangladesh. The company has factories in Shyampur, Mirpur and Savar, with more than 5000 employees. The finished products are inspected by QA and packed. The packed products are dispatched to Otobi showrooms in their own transport, and loading/unloading is thoroughly inspected so as to ensure zero damage. The flat-packing technology employed in this process further minimises chances of damage, and is easy to assemble.
...to Kolkata, with love
Talking about the Mani Mall outlet, the first thing that strikes the eye is the use of mannequins to emulate real-life room layouts. In fact, it is the attention to detail put into each setting that brings it to life. Consider the 'office lobby' that has a smart upholstered seating arrangement, and a female mannequin in a sharp business suit sitting cross-legged on a sofa, talking on her cell-phone.
Ranjita Singh, Regional Manager, talks about their event specials, such as a recent discount on bedroom furniture, where they actually had a male and female mannequin pair in pajamas, facing each other across a bed, pillows raised in their hands, and pillow stuffing scattered around them.
"The presence of an outlet in the Mani Square Mall, amongst other international brands, has really helped establish our brand image" Singh tells us. She goes on to elaborate on the challenges of establishing goodwill in Kolkata.
The initial shock came from the fact that the products were imported from Bangladesh, which raised a few eyebrows about the quality, and the Otobi team in Kolkata had to work hard to prove their worth and earn the respect of consumers.
Another hurdle was the pricing. Changing the mindset that favours low-priced mass-produced furniture, to create a demand for pricier, but more durable Otobi goods has not been an easy task, and Singh admits that as of now, they've only made a 'dent in the market, not a crater.'
The new outlet on Loudon Street is a quieter affair. Here, too, entire scenes are recreated with meticulous care. The dupatta artlessly discarded atop the teenager's bed, the schoolbag hanging by its straps from the child's study desk, the well-thumbed Dan Brown book sitting on the bookshelf, the asymmetrical decorations on the bedroom side tables...the feeling of having stepped into an actual household vacated just minutes ago by its occupants, is uncanny. Plans are underway to introduce a range of soft furnishings and accessories to go with the furniture.
When asked about Otobi's future plans for its Indian franchise, Ranjita Singh proudly announces 'To become the top household brand in India." As of now, they are trying to gain the upper hand in their existing market, but they do have their sights set on expanding and opening more dealerships across the country. Watch out, India, here they come.
By Sabrina F Ahmad back from Kolkata
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