Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home |  Volume 6, Issue 05, Tuesday, February 01, 2011




Artful storage

Intimate living spaces require an artful arrangement of furniture. Living spaces are expensive, that is why available space should be used very carefully as effectively and creatively as possible. A huge bed, ornamental wardrobe, dressing table with a gorgeous mirror can well be a long-held dream of many a couple, but such large furniture may be impractical in the confined modern apartments of today. Our living habits have changed greatly over time with adaptability, multi-purpose functionality and comfort being the trademarks of small, urban apartments. Nowadays people prefer maintenance-free, trendy furniture for their homes. It is also important to consider the space that is being furnished. Furniture should be chosen accordingly and a little creativity in terms of shape can add a whole new dimension to a room.

In this feature we discuss space saving furniture with storage systems for different parts of our homes. Not every home comes equipped with great storage facilities and innovative ideas that introduce sleek closets, shelves, cabinets and double duty furniture pieces can accommodate more than seemed possible.

To start off with, when working with architectural plans, floor spaces can be opened by removing walls, enlarging passageways, and combining spaces. With each change to the floor plan, well-designed, easy-to-store solutions and built in furnishings can be incorporated.

Since living rooms are public spaces that are open to guests and visitors, it is natural to want to pay particular attention to the décor of this room but this can be a tough task if space is limited. A coffee table chest serves the dual purpose of supporting weary feet and covertly stowing away books and magazines or other household items that you prefer stacked away. Slim bookcases add a functional usefulness to underused corners but more importantly, the open design of these shelves permit 90 degree rotations, eliminating the need for a central divider. Open shelves reach from floors to ceilings, creating attractive entry areas and offering two-sided displays for collectibles.

Generally, dining rooms are very busy areas, where families congregate for their meals and simultaneously, to spend quality time together. In most cases, dining rooms are furnished by dining tables, dinner wagons or hutches and serving trolleys. But if sitting spaces are restricted, low box patterned seaters can be used under windows or just beside the dining table. Again, these can be used as storage spaces.

Everyone needs good storage, whether to create order, save space, or simply keep things organised and within easy reach. Today's bedrooms are used for more than just sleeping and dressing; they are often places for working, studying, entertaining, and even exercising. Shelving is an ever-popular solution for those with limited floor space. Hanging storage, such as hooks, rings, and bars, helps to keep things from cluttering floor space. It also offers flexibility since shelves can be customised with baskets, tins, or stylish containers to hold smaller items. Such decorative storage ideas also add elements of visual interest to the room.

A compact kitchen can be highly efficient and pleasant to use if planned properly. In-line layouts, where everything is arranged along one wall, are ideal for kitchens that from part of open plan spaces. Galley kitchens provide another space saving alternative where all units are arranged along the opposite wall. This requires only 4 feet of space between the facing units. But the most space saving option of all is compact kitchens that are integrated within a single freestanding unit or cabinet. Customised drawers and cupboard interiors with dividers, racks and containers can be used to utilise the maximum amount of space.

Storage facilities are very important, provided that they are in harmony with the other materials in the room and the room proportions. With a little imagination, storage spaces can be as beautiful as they are useful.

Interior Consultant
E-mail: journeyman.interiors @gmail.com
Photo Credit: Journeyman archive

Chronicles of sam q

Chronicles of Sam Q

By Sam Q

Dearest Diary,
First of all a very happy New Year to you, albeit a little late but this is my first column this year and on this note I want to share with you this years' and every other coming years 'final' wish list.

Month of January, the 1st month:
One very awaited graduation ceremony.

Month of February, the 2nd month:
Two special people to fall back on whenever I am down.

Month of March, the 3rd month:
Three babies of mine who will always remain children to me.

Month of April, the 4th month:
Four holidays at least, at the Four Seasons every year.

Month of May, the 5th month:
Five times to thank the Almighty for all his blessings in my life.

Month of June, the 6th month:
Six children who go to school because I say so.

Month of July, the 7th month:
Seven couples, who are my treasured friends, through thick and thin.

Month of August, the 8th month:
Eight grand-children at least.

Month of September, the 9th month:
Nine my lucky number and my very own, love-you-to death, family.

Month of October, the 10th month:
Ten a size, (U.K), I want to be.

Month of November, the 11th month:
Eleven commandments from my mother: (a) be a good wife (b) be a good daughter (c) spend less (d) exercise (e) eat less (f) exercise some more (g) visit mother more often (h) cook less in quantity (i) buy a piggy bank (j) write more and finally (k) sleep less. Phew!

Month of December, the 12th month:
Twelve months of every coming year of good health, happiness and togetherness for everyone I love and know.

So now that that is out of the way, I can get down to business and tell you how I have been doing. Not that I want to tell you every single thing that has been happening like those Facebook addicts, who moan "One new pimple today". I am like frothing at the mouth, trying to say "Who the hell cares?"

So to get back to me (not narcissistic at all), winter has been the usual -- weddings, barbeques, shawls and kanjipurams.

The glamour quotient has gone up in so many notches and at so many levels that it has made me question my own abilities. It has made me wonder that when my time comes to put up a production of some sort, will I ever be able to keep up with the Jones?

So, instead of fretting over such trivial issues, I have decided to do something, absolutely volte-face. I have decided to become a vigilante. I will try to keep a vigilant vigil on certain activities which come across my view. I know, I know Diary, you must be wondering, what's with the V-word play? Beats me too. Sometimes I just get into these moods.

Anyway, why I have decided to do this is because of a certain incident which happened in front of my eyes a couple of weeks ago. I was at the Gulshan-2 circle traffic lights, waiting patiently for the lights to turn green, looking into space, thinking nothing, when I felt the car next to me was attracting a lot of attention from the book and flower vendors on the street. Normally, at these two junctures I tend to avoid eye contact with the traders. How many roses and how many badly-printed-along-with-missed-pages books can you buy? If only their caustic remarks about my non-generous attitude could reach my ears, and not to mention the curses of the ladies with someone else's child to evoke my dormant spirits, I truly would be in the deathly gallows. Harry Potter be damned. The true wizards are here in Gulshan-2 circle. So, to go back to the story, as the small crowd next to me seemed to be in the midst of such merriment with the people inside the car, curiosity took over and I also looked. What I saw will actually haunt me forever. It was every 'responsible' parents' nightmare.

There were four teenage boys, with one of them driving, and they had beer bottles amongst them which they were sharing not only with each other, but with the vendors also. The bottle was going back and forth and lots of attitude and laughter along with it. One book seller threw up and they laughed some more and kept offering the others who were brave, or rather stupid enough, to try.

As I struggled to pick up my jaw from the floor of my car, the signal turned green and they screeched away towards Banani, most probably to maim or kill some innocent soul. As my fog of despondency somewhat lifted, I cursed myself for not memorising the number plate of the car. This time I really would have fought tooth and nail to find out the real owner of the car or report it to the police.

I am so ashamed of ourselves. These children must 'belong' to some 'educated' and 'well-to-do' family. So this is what a foreign education, money and Star World has done to us.

So, here I am now, armed with a notepad and pen, eyes open wide, all poised to help society in some way or the other. We are all such great cynics and critics. But, it's time to put our foot down and walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
So, have a good day the Sam Q way!

Cheese, Corn and Beef Salami Muffins
I loved the muffins. Truly turned out great.
3 beef salami slices, finely chopped
4 small onions, finely chopped
125ml liquid milk
2 eggs, beaten lightly
60g butter, melted
125g canned cream corn
310g canned corn kernels, drained
310g sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
80g cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven at 200 C. Grease a 12-hole muffin pan. Stir fry beef salami for 1 minute. Odd onions and fry for another 1 minute. Remove and set aside. Using a whisk, combine milk, eggs, butter and both the corns. Add beef and onion mixture, flour and baking powder until just combined. Spoon 1-2 tablespoon of muffin mixture into each pan. Top with grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Tom Yam Pasta
300g spiral pasta or any shape
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
6 tbsp of Tom Yan pasta
2 cans of tuna in water or brine, drained
5 pieces of lime leaves
5 tbsp of lemon juice
Salt to taste

Cook pasta in slightly salted boiling water. Drain and run it under tap water. Set aside. Fry the garlic and onions until slightly brown. Add Tom Yam pasta and fry for another 2 minutes. Add the tuna flakes and lime leaves and fry for 5 minutes. Add the pasta and mix well. Stir in the lemon juice, season to taste.

Readers, I had some left over tom yam pasta from Bangkok. Hence my effort to make the above recipe. But since many may not have the pasta, I am also giving the recipe of the pasta which you can make and bottle it for some time in the fridge. Happy cooking.

Tom Yam Paste
4 large dried, red chillies
½ cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped garlic cloves
1 tbsp chopped lemon grass
45g ginger, chopped
2 shallots
¼ tsp lime rind
2 tbsp dried and toasted coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Heat 70ml oil in a pan and sauté the chillies, onions and garlic till light brown. Remove and grind to a paste along with the other ingredients.


'Color of Time' -- a group exhibition

An exhibition by ten artists under the banner of Space Visual Art recently began on 4 February, 2011 at the City's The Gallery in Gulshan -1.

“Color of Time” serves as an apt title as the exhibition showcases an array of paintings, prints, wood carvings, watercolours, and works done in acrylic and mixed media, each bearing witness to the flow of time. The near 45 pieces of art on display showcases moments in time that are, that were and that will be.

Nature is well represented, be it in the form of flora or fauna. The six watercolours and one acrylic painting by Fahmida Khatun purposely concentrate on blooms in various forms. “Although the images of the flowers are derived from nature, the colours have been drawn from imagination,” says Khatun. The works are indeed dreamlike, the colours -- vibrant and fresh.

Shahin Akhter Lipi, the other female artist in the group, focuses on a different tone of life and time as her work journeys through civilisations - Greek, Roman, and Indian. Her images focus on fragments in time that have left an indelible mark in history, a representation of Greek thoughts, or even the biblical image of the crucifixion of Christ.

Md Abdul Aziz's perception of time is seen through women, the central figure in all his paintings. His works show a strong bias towards oriental forms and the melancholic images that seemingly depict courtesans from an Indian palace are seen with various avians, both caged in a world where they can never be free. Yet, all of Aziz's works somehow depict the warmth womanhood shares with nature.

Women are also depicted in the wood carvings of Rajaul Islam Lovelu, as are birds. His work is possibly the most interesting in the entire show, as his forms toy with the real and the abstract in skilled execution of the three dimensional figures.

Anisuzzaman's woodcut prints are however a stark contrast. Continuing his “Complexity” series that was previously shown at his solo exhibition in 2009, he now focuses on presenting his theme - urban life and buildings under construction in the magic of black on white. Anisuzzaman moves away from his comfort zone of sepia and toys with black, setting an after dark portrayal of his subjects.

Speaking on the creative exuberance of the 10 artists whose works are on display, Md Zahir Hossain Newton says, “This is our 12th group exhibition. Previously we have presented our work at Dhaka and Kolkata.” Working together on a selected theme has been, as he puts it, “a wonderful experience”. It gave them the opportunity to interpret the subject through their unique expression.

A similar point was noted by eminent painter Rafiqun Nabi in his speech while inaugurating the exhibition. “The importance of group exhibitions,” he said, “gives the viewers an opportunity to see works done on such a wide range of media which may not be possible at a solo. “

Color of Time serves as a wonderful opportunity to observe the contemporary art movement of the country under one roof. Each of the works stand out as a fragment of time, and each of the pieces narrate the direction Bangladeshi art is heading towards.

The exhibition featuring the works of Rezaun Nabi, Md Mahabubul Islam Baabu, Mohammed Fakruzzaman, Md Zahir Hossain Newton, Md Anisuzzaman, Rajaul Islam Lovelu, Shahin Akhter Lipi, Md Abdul Aziz, Syed Mohammad Shamim and Fahmida Khatun will continue till 13 February, 2011 at The Gallery, House #7B, Road #13, Gulshan-1, Dhaka.

By Mannan Mashhur Zarif

A memento from Bangladesh

Those who like to travel also love to bring back mementos from the places they visit. Although we Bangladeshis take it for granted, the fact remains that so far Bangladesh has not branded any products that speak of our country.

“Visitors here mostly return home with the odd shalwar kameez or fatua,” said Shahid Hussain Shamim. “The Souvenir Products Development Project has been our effort to churn out products that will, in time, become synonymous to Bangladeshi culture,” added Shamim, who is also the Coordinator of the project.

Last year, under the leadership of eminent designer Chandra Shekhar Shaha nine designers from reputed boutiques of the country: Shadakalo, Nitya Upohar, Prabartona, Kumudini, Bibiana, Anjan's, Nipun, Orbachin, Core - the Jute Works, visited Thailand to gain first hand knowledge regarding product development. Assisted by Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) the team worked on different projects and developed various products that may prove synonymous to the local culture.

Prabartana, for instance, was assigned to develop products on the concept of a bag using three fabrics, five patterns, and three sizes. Designing a key ring was also part of the assignment. In response, this boutique developed bags made primarily from cotton and silk, using natural dyes. This shows the astute response of the participants, as the hype of today's world is everything organic.

The ICC Crciket Word Cup provides the perfect launching pad for this endeavour and the project was initially designed by Katalyst, a group that works in the field of tourism among others, to cater to the needs of the thousands of tourists visiting Bangladesh in connection to the sporting event. “We have already requested spaces in different hotels that will house tourists for the big event. The Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism has also expressed a keen interest in the products and the government has expressed willingness to include the range of products as official gifts for the upcoming event” said Shamim.

To showcase the products that have already been developed, the project has arranged an exhibition at the Drik Gallery from 6 February, 2011 and will continue till the 10th. Viewers may finally find 'the' product that truly speaks for the land and people of this country.

LS Desk



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