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The 18th International
Trade Fair- 2013

The 18th International Trade Festival 2013 has recently started off, amid much fanfare and anticipation. Featuring over 400 stalls from here and abroad, the Trade Fair is located in its home ground at the Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka, to the west of the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre from January, a name synonymous with the event. The fair started off on 1 January and will continue through the month.

The festival has attracted numerous shops from abroad as expected, mostly from Pakistan, Thailand and India. The Pakistani shops line up the fair's perimeter from the very entrance. Most of the shops were seen selling ladies jewellery and the Pakistani kameezes that have recently gained so much popularity. “Because of the cold weather, sales have been very low as very few people are coming in compared to previous years,” Shad Hussamuddin, one of the organisers, said. The thin crowd did stand out as an exception, as the trade fair has always been known to draw throngs of people. However, some shops were seen to still be doing pretty well.

Apart from jewellery and clothes, a lot of gym equipment was displayed in numerous stalls as the fitness bug continues to sweep the capital city. The usually brand names all set up stalls although, in terms of discounts, not many attractive offers were on sight. Unlike previous years, the variety wasn't something to write home about, augmenting the belief that perhaps the International Trade Fair has slowly diminished in stature compared to times past when stalls from Australia, Malaysia and even the United States of America created quite a stir.

However, one's curse is another's gifts, with the local brands benefitting from the lack of international competition. “Although the number of stalls from abroad is less, we are still able to provide goods from Malaysia, China and Thailand”, a store owner of Thai Pavilion said. Thai Pavilion's stall was also seen to be one of the most vibrant. Despite the cold and the lack of a large crowd, the fair still retained a very festive environment with a lot of music and lighting and some of the most innovatively designed stalls seen. The elaborately designed stalls of Thai Gallery and Walton are two such examples. A Sundarban Eco Park was also set up, educating visitors about one of the world's best known heritage sights.

Although the crowds dwindled during the evening, the afternoon saw quite a rush of visitors. As the days pass, the crowd numbers continue to grow and so strengthen the belief that the 18th International Trade Fair will also be quite a success.

By Osama Rahman
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed



As a design movement, the Moroccan style of interiors is truly making its presence felt in many parts of the world, particularly in the American west coast and southern Europe where large, eclectic style villas are common. Moroccan style interiors are themselves influenced by Arabic and Spanish styles, and serve as a unique alternative for those who prefer a more rustic or exotic décor style.

The kingdom of Morocco has an incredibly rich and complex history. In just the past century, the country had been colonised by the French and had to share its land with the Spanish. Despite the intense history of having foreigners scoop in and Arabise, later westernise their indigenous Berber ways, Moroccans remain some of the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world. Ask almost any traveler that has ventured through Morocco and they will all say the same thing: Moroccan kindness and hospitality is one of a kind.

I had an opportunity to perceive Moroccan style architectural and interior work outside of Morocco. A few years ago I went to Jakarta to attend a wedding. The ceremony was held at the palace 'Rumah Maroko'. An Indonesian ambassador who had stayed at Morocco had made this wonderful palace.The palace located in the heart of Jakarta is a great place to entertain guests away from the daily chaos of the city. It's a great opportunity to take your guests to the Mediterranean without sending them thousands of miles away. I had a wonderful experience learning about the splendor of ancient Moroccan architecture.

Moroccan interior design can give any room or home a warm and welcoming aura. Importantly this design style need not be expensive. Traditional Moroccan homes are made of stucco with wooden beams and supports. The homes are commonly white-washed and gleam in the bright Saharan sunlight. Few right angles exist in Moroccan design. Doorways and windows are arched or shaped in the traditional Islamic key-hole design. Moroccan doors, windows, mashrabiyas and fountains are distinctive. The basics of achieving this look lie in having large, open spaces with wide open doors and windows. The doors are so unusual and attractive that they are renowned across the world. Windows are less elaborate than doors, though they are also decorative.

Arches: Arches are ubiquitous in Morocco. Sculptural and feminine, arches can be found in public buildings and private homes, in big cities and small villages. Arched doors, arched windows, and arched niches, and walkways are commonly incorporated into Moroccan house design. The use of arches is seemingly end-less and is sure to delight the eye. Rumamarko's arches are also very fascinating.

Walls: Walls in Moroccan raids feature layers of decoration and pattern. The lower part of the wall may incorporate a wide band of patterned cement tiles, glazed bejmats, or mosaic tiling known zellij. On the upper part of the wall, there may be large swath Geps. Geps comes from the word gypsum; when gypsum is mixed with water, it becomes plaster of Paris. Geps is usually white, but multicolored versions do exist.

Furniture: Furniture in Moroccan design is a combination of delicately-carved wooden pieces and plush over-stuffed upholstered ones. Tables are frequently topped with inlaid tile designs or topped with large brass or copper trays. Go for large, impressive furniture items such as plantation style sofas and armchairs, as well as a few rustic wooden items, for instance, an oversized dark wood dining table. Upholstered pieces include reclining couches, usually draped with fabric and accented with colourful pillows. Over-stuffed ottomans are frequently used as an accompaniment to chairs and sofas.

Colour: Moroccan design incorporates bold colours, such as fuchsia, royal blue, deep purple, and vibrant red, with the soothing neutral colours of the desert, such as sand, taupe, beige, and shades of white. Bold accent walls and fabrics are common in this design style. Blue and red are very common in Moroccan interior. Blue is associated with the city of Fez, as its namesake ceramics are made in intricate blue and white patterns. Indigo blue is linked to the Western Sahara and Guelmin. In Moroccan, red symbolises female sexuality, fertility and childbirth, in addition to happiness and marriage. Marrakesh is known as the red city because of its salmon-pink coloured walls. White, beige and gold are also commonly used for décor.

Texture: Texture is important in Moroccan design. Just some of the many textures of the interior design theme are rough stucco walls, smooth silken tapestries and ceramic tiles, and rugged carved wood chests and tables. Contrast is the goal here, as with a rough wooden table topped with a smoothly-polished brass tray. To keep with Moroccan theme, look out for ethnic printed carpets andrugs, decorative tiles and mosaics, large ornamental urns and vases, tapestry wall hangings as well as hand painted glass candles holders.

Accessories: Accent pieces also reflect the Islamic and Asian influence on Morocco. Rugs are commonly made of woven silk and wool Asian designs, and range from full room size to smaller prayer rugs. Lamps are often hung from the ceiling and are commonly made of metals, such as brass and copper.

Other popular Moroccan style accents include mirrors, often framed in metal or wooden with an Islamic design. Also common is brightly-coloured pottery, to hang on walls, use as serving vessels, or as decorative lamps. A fun accessory for a Moroccan style kitchen or dining room is a ceramic tagine, a ceramic cooking vessel, usually adorned with intricately woven designs.

If you travel to Morocco do keep an eye out for antiques that will lend a Mediterranean flavour to your décor.

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


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