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Recent Urban development in Bangladesh

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In the U.K. kitchens are the focal point of the house.

We love cooking as a family so went for a lavish kitchen. Our bedrooms and living rooms are very modest by comparison.

I see in BD kitchen is still very much a non entity.

In the West, kitchens are a gathering place for family, as the gharwaaley queen of the house calls the kitchen her personal domain and administrative discussion area. This is true for all classes in Western countries. US, UK and EU included. Sometimes (especially nowadays in well-to-do households) kitchens are open to the living room and sport the most expensive equipment in the house (stainless steel custom walk-in fridges, wolf heavy-duty cooktops etc.)

In the subcontinent, kitchen is the domain of the bais, housemaids, cooks and khansamas. Kitchens barely have any importance in the East and sport the most basic of equipment. As upper middle class Bangladeshi wives start working outside the house, this is rapidly changing, even in Bangladesh, as you can see above.

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Wives and mothers in Bangladesh sometimes do labor in them more than supervisory style (especially on special occasions e.g. Eid, Diwali, Pujas, Shab-e-Baraat etc.), and especially if the family is of modest means or the women of the family care about the quality of khaana being served.

The two scenarios are wholly different.

Tbh you're right & I know this too - but there is a time for everything and I believe this is the right time for me, double the money in 10 years may not benefit me as much.

Exactly. Those of us who live in the West have our own property goals here.
 
Set in a tranquil locale of an approximate three bigha land in Chandpur district, Bangladesh, the vacation house designed by architect Mohaimeen Islam, accommodates modern requirements and aesthetics while adhering to traditional roots. The project exhibits a concise and simplistic design approach, conforming to the local context, climate, and site-specific conditions. Built out of local materials and techniques, this project, ‘Nazmir Bari’ hence emphasizes the essence of solidarity and contemplation through an uncluttered and bold architectural expression.

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The three-bigha piece of land, of Nazmir Bari, has been inherited over generations; however, left abandoned for a long time, as the family migrated to the city. Experiencing several years of urban life, the client longed to return to his homeland, to enjoy his retirement, where he once lived and grew up.

“He wanted to replenish and rejuvenate the rural experience but without compromising modern-life facilities”
says architect Mohaimeen.
“With passing time, the village life and its rural setting have transformed, largely driven by the effect of urbanization. Such change asserts a premise to redefine the village house conception, that can be appropriate to the current time while retaining the values of rural architectural features”, continuing.

The site, in its origin, can be viewed as small forestry with a pond on the east and surrounded by a variety of trees, e.g. Rain, Shimul (Cotton), Karai and other fruit trees; some date 60 to 100 years old. Guided by such a natural setting, the house is purposefully positioned on the northern end which was originally vacant, leaving the dense tree zone unhampered. In this project, the design initiates with a sympathetic response to rural architecture, as the elongated eastern veranda overlooks the widespread front yard – the ‘uthan’. The veranda extends to the south, terminating on the outdoor deck, a place housing the drinking water deep-well, and occasionally used for cooking and eating. The uthan is also curated with a few seating platforms around the trees and a dedicated outdoor dining area. Traditionally, a uthan acts as the heart of rural architecture.

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Whether celebrating seasonal changes or simply cooking huge family dinners – such activities are often performed around the uthan; which is no different in this project. However, the concept of the ‘roof’ feature is negotiated and deviates from the traditional pitch-roof characteristic. “To drain off the water, a roof does not need to be pitched; though it may offer an iconic semblance. We chose a flat roof structure, making the roof-top usable for gardening purposes, incorporating proper drainage system”, shares architect Mohaimeen.

The design adapts a simple linear configuration, separating the served and service functions.
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The service block, placed on the west, comprises an open kitchen, a store room, a kitchen-veranda and other utilities, all acting as a thermal buffer from the western heat. The served zone comprises two bedrooms and a shared living and dining space; overlooking the uthan and the ancestral pond through an enlarged opening, that links the front veranda as an entry. All rooms are bathed in eastern light and southeastern air; brought in by large glass panelled windows, allowing plenty of natural light and fresh air to spill into the interior and maximizing the view of the vibrant landscape. The built-form hence acts as a silent enclosure to experience the enchanting landscape on the forefront, from within.

The house is materialized through the use of the most common local materials and engages local workers and construction techniques. Common brick, concrete, and metal details make up the palette of materials that avoid eccentricities and guarantee noble ageing with low maintenance costs. Extravagancy in interior furnishing was massively avoided, as the designed architectural features and the layout itself support a rather simple, yet modern spatial presence. Nonetheless, the project attempts to address environmental sustainability in terms of minimum acquisition of building footprint, retaining the existing landscape, limiting project cost by using local builders and materials, and maximizing utilization of natural energy sources. Hence, through a careful and sensible design-build approach, Nazmir Bari exemplifies its presence as a reformed generation of contextual modernity, befitting within a rural setting of Bangladesh.

Architect Profile

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Mohaimeen Islam


Mohaimeen Islam is a practicing Architect and currently working as a PhD Researcher at the Future Building Initiative, at Monash University, Australia. He is also an Assistant Professor (on leave) in the Department of Architecture of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. After completing his Masters in Design & Make, from the AA School, London in 2016, Mohaimeen worked as an Associate Architect with Volumezero Ltd., and later served as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture of BRAC University. To date, he has executed quite a few design-build projects, through experimentation and the application of advanced techniques and innovative material practices.
 
A few ongoing residential projects by Navana, renders only for now.

Navana Coronet, this is a commercial property in Gulshan
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Another one, but this is a residential one, again in Gulshan (renders only as construction in progress).

Plot 10. R-62 Gulshan

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View overall
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View of Upper Floors
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Roof Garden and Pool
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Chef’s Table: Take your taste buds on a world tour
Chef’s Table offers not only a diverse experience of the best cuisines in the world, but many other perks that make your experience memorable


Chef's Table Courtside at United City, Madani Avenue. Photo: Courtesy
Chef's Table Courtside at United City, Madani Avenue. Photo: Courtesy



A chef's table is commonly known as a dining area near or inside the kitchen, where diners view the chef in action.

Such an experience is usually reserved for special guests, and sometimes you may also get the chance to have conversations with the mastermind behind the table.

When United Group launched the country's most diverse food court in 2018, this was the theme behind it - where you can see how food is handled with love and care.

"Chef's Table started as a social commitment of the United Group aiming to address the gap of international standard food places with proper ambience, quality, and hygiene. We remain committed to that goal and experiment with new ideas to enhance the experience of our guests," said Murtoza Zaman, the Chief Executive Officer of Unimart Limited.

When you walk up the steps and enter the food court, you will be met with the aroma of food and the sight of cooks at work in each stall behind glass windows.


Photos: Noor-A-Alam
Photos: Noor-A-Alam


Behind the see-through partition, chefs slice away at produce over gleaming metal tabletops, with boxes of ingredients laid out in an orderly manner. Despite working in a kitchen, there is no sign of the heat of the pressure visible in the kitchens.

It is relatively rare to see what goes on behind the 'staff only' doors, where the cooks do their magic, especially in local restaurants where even high-end eateries can let you down with their hygiene standards. Chef's Table takes a step against the grain and unveils what goes on in the kitchen, as proof of their commitment towards high standards and hygiene.

"Customers should know what food is being prepared and how it is being prepared; that is why there is a glass partition. The customer can see everything in front of them," said Subhabrata Maitra, the Executive Chef of Chef's Table.

To ensure a truly authentic and diverse experience for visitors, Chef's Table goes through a rigorous process of onboarding food brands to the food court. Besides, the food served at the venue has to pass a quality audit.

"First, we check if the cuisine being offered by the restaurant is already available at Chef's Table. If it is a new cuisine, we bring it under review. We look into the menu and research how popular the items are in their own country and their availability in Bangladesh as well.

We also look into the food brand itself, which is a crucial part of the process. We have a professional executive chef who helps review the authenticity of the menu. Since our chef has global experience and a good understanding of worldwide cuisines, he verifies and rechecks the food," said HUM Mehedi Sajjad, the Head of Brand and Communication of Unimart Limited.

Bring the world to your plate

Chef's Table intentionally limits the number of restaurants available for each cuisine to ensure that there is a balance of cuisines, and to create a place that truly reflects diversity in food.

Lebanese chicken over rice from Arax. Photos: Noor-A-Alam
Lebanese chicken over rice from Arax. Photos: Noor-A-Alam


Asia is home to some of the world's richest and most delicious cuisines. Inside Chef's Table, you can take your taste buds on a tour from Lebanon to Sri Lanka, all the way to Japan.

However, in their endeavour to create a space with global cuisines, Chef's Table did not leave out Bangladesh from its flavour map.

Situated in a corner of the Gulshan branch sits the stall for Utshob, a traditional Bangladeshi restaurant. They take Bangladeshi cuisine up a notch by selling specialities of different districts, such as Chatgaiyan Mezbani Beef and Dinajpur's Khuder Bhaat.

When I tried Utshob for the first time at Chef's Table, it was raining on and off throughout the entire day. Such weather paired perfectly with the warm spices of their Achari Chicken Khichuri Bhoj Combo. The platter consisted of achari chicken khichuri, fried eggplant, fried egg, laban, salad, and chui pitha.

Chicken khichuri from Utshob. Photos: Noor-A-Alam
Chicken khichuri from Utshob. Photos: Noor-A-Alam


While browsing the endless selection of food from one stall to another, I met the humble and welcoming team of Arax, a Lebanese restaurant.

With their help, I discovered their Lebanese Chicken Over Rice, which consisted of a piece of chicken garnished with herbs, rice, french fries, and a colourful salad, topped with flatbread.

During my interaction with their chef, Siddique Ahmed, I learned much about his years of experience working with Middle Eastern cuisine and how his whole family was involved in the food industry in one way or the other.

While the tangy marinade of the chicken was what made the platter stand out, my brief conversation with their team made it memorable.

When asked about his experience working in an open kitchen, Ahmed commented, "In normal restaurants, you usually just see waiters, staff, and the menu. Since this is an open kitchen, we can build relationships with the customers and thus, serve them better."

Authentic Mexican food options in Dhaka are sparse, though available. It is one of the cuisines that are easy to find shortcuts around using local food, heavily altering its taste.

My first experience with authentic Mexican food in Bangladesh was at Dos Locos Mexican Grill. One of their best dishes is their Enchiladas, which are served with rice and a side of refried beans and salsa. The enchilada itself has an amazing balance of acidity and heat that keeps you coming back for more.

On the other hand, if you are health conscious or have dietary restrictions, Chef's Table has its salad bar Greens and Seeds, just for you.

You do not have to resort to any restaurant's default salads, which might be high in sugar and carbs despite their name. At Greens and Seeds, you can build your salad bowl with fresh and vibrant vegetables, noodles, choices of protein, and more.

Enchiladas from Dos Locos. Photos: Noor-A-Alam
Enchiladas from Dos Locos. Photos: Noor-A-Alam


Convenience is key

The larger the group, the longer the disagreements over where to eat. One person wants Indian, the other wants the Mediterranean, while the quiet person in the group sacrifices their desire to ensure the hangout happens.

"Chef's Table is always an easy place to meet up with people. Their branches are in convenient locations and there are more than enough cuisine options for everyone," commented a customer.

Photos: Noor-A-Alam
Photos: Noor-A-Alam


Chef's Table, no matter the branch, is always situated in a huge space, accommodating endless options of restaurants. The Gulshan and Dhanmondi branches are spread over 248 sq. ft. and Chef's Table Courtside has a size of 160 sq. ft and 320 sq. ft. So, however diverse the taste buds are, there is something for everyone in the group.

Alternatively, if you are trying to squeeze in a fulfilling meal with colleagues during break time, Chef's Table is a great place to go. At the corner of each table, you will find a QR code that leads you to the quickest-prepared meals in the food court.

More than just food

Chef's Table serves you more than just food. They have curated each of their branches to accommodate family bonding. Parents in particular are always in the search of things for their children to do.

California roll from Mitsuo. Photos: Noor-A-Alam
California roll from Mitsuo. Photos: Noor-A-Alam


Whether it is to keep children preoccupied for a few minutes or just to find fun activities for them, Chef's Table has created Play Town for kids.

The area has everything from arcade games and slides, to virtual reality. You will also find a mini merry-go-round and claw machines; it truly is no less than a day at a carnival. In their Dhanmondi branch, in particular, the food court dedicated a huge space just for Play Town.

If you want to hang out with your friends, do not fret. Chef's Table brings you cool experiences to try out. Compete against your group in a match of laser tag at Laserwars in the same food court. Using their oculus headset, you can also get competitive in solo games at the VR booth.

For those interested in getting crafty, Chef's Table has Claystation at both their Gulshan and Courtside branches, where you can make clay figures.

Photos: Noor-A-Alam
Photos: Noor-A-Alam


All in all, Chef's Table is diverse not just food-wise, but in terms of the experience as well. The next time you are planning an outing, you can visit their Gulshan or Dhanmondi branch, or for the outdoor experience, go for Chef's Table Courtside.

Chef's Table Gulshan
Location: Gulshan 2
33 brands

Chef's Table Dhanmondi
Location: Dhanmondi 8/A
26 brands

Chef's Table Courtside
Location:
United City, Madani Avenue
38 brands

Chef's Table is also planning new branches for the near future such as one in Sylhet, along with a Unimart outlet and another branch at Centre Point at Airport Road. Furthermore, you can also look forward to their upcoming Gulshan 1 branch that plans to bring a whole new experience to the Chef's Table brand.
 
Cafe Sao Paulo: Authentic Brazilian cuisine in Dhanmondi

Cafe Sao Paulo, a multi-cuisine restaurant at Dhanmondi's Satmasjid road, offers not just Brazilian dishes, but all kinds of meals from English breakfast to seafood pasta for dinner cooked by an international chef.


Cafe Sao Paulo's interior is inspired by Latin American art. Photo: Courtesy

Cafe Sao Paulo's interior is inspired by Latin American art. Photo: Courtesy


Cafe Sao Paulo's interior is inspired by Latin American art. Photo: Courtesy

Restrapreneurs of Dhanmondi never seem to miss the opportunity to bring diversity to the table. Amid the plethora of options in the capital's food centre, you would still be hard-pressed to find a kitchen led by an international chef, serving vibrant dishes while maintaining proper hygiene and standard. Cafe Sao Paulo is here to change that.

Cafe Sao Paulo is a multi-cuisine bistro situated at Satmasjid road. The restaurant opened on 6 January 2022. Even though the name and the aesthetic South American-inspired decor suggest that the restaurant only serves Brazilian foods, one can also find various interesting fusions on the menu.

The bistro is a one-stop solution for every meal of the day, from English breakfast to seafood pasta for dinner. Although a bit expensive, their range of breakfast items is quite impressive. But if the restaurant serves multiple cuisines along with Brazilian dishes, why is it called Cafe Sao Paulo?

Photo: Courtesy


The general manager of Cafe Sao Paulo LTD, Shaheen Sarwar, answered, "Like the cafe, Sao Paulo also had a humble beginning. From a poor village, it eventually developed into a world-renowned city exerting strong influences in commerce, finances, arts, culture and colourful entertainment based on their coffee business."

This growth of the city mirrored the foundation of Cafe Sao Paulo; given the modest background of the founders.

Shaheen then showed the beautiful painting on the wall of the restaurant which describes the history of coffee and said that their aim is simple: to provide a completely sophisticated, yet casual dining and coffee house experience for the customers.

The cafe is a sister concern of the Modele group, which is one of the largest knit composite garments exporters in our country. The company stepped into the restaurant business with a food court called Port Dundee Located at Narayanganj.

But Cafe Sao Paulo has been a great success among foodies, primarily because of their fusion cuisine including interesting dishes like seafood tapas, waffle sandwiches and of course freshly brewed coffee.

Sarwar, who used to work in the hospitality industry, believes that Cafe Sao Paulo will bring an edge to the underdeveloped hospitality industry of our country. In addition, he shared that the cafe will soon launch its Banani and Gulshan branch and has plans to open the country's first drive-through restaurant in Dhaka.

Sarwar said, "It is not common for a restaurant to rigorously do research before launching a restaurant and bring foreign chefs on-premise to serve authentic foods. We even verified the taste of the Brazil-based dishes, from the Brazilian ambassador and gave the dishes a deshi twist so that people can find familiarity in it."

Photo: Courtesy


I went there to try out the happy meals that they promoted with the tagline 'Italian Chef's Deshi fusion'. The Italian Chef, Valter Belli also shared his experience at the restaurant.

"Cafe Sao Paulo provided me with the freedom I needed to prove my creativity. This is the reason I love working for this company under the leadership of the Owner, Mr Masuduzzaman, Managing Director of Modele Group," Chef Valter Belli said.

"I recommend Sao Paulo Special Pizza and Moqueca de Camarao (Brazilian prawn coconut stew) which take one's taste buds on an exotic journey. The fusion happy meals are a great choice too," Valter added.

The Business Standard team has tried their happy hour meals along with a few popular Brazilian desserts that netizens recommended.

Happy hour meals

Under happy hour meals, we saw three dishes on the menu. We ordered two of them, set menus 1 and 3.

The first one has chicken tikka lasagna, tomato soup and lemon tart in it. Among them, I enjoyed the tomato soup the most because of its thickness and exquisite flavours blessed by the fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. A bruschetta would be great with it.

To localise the meal, they served a medium portion of lasagna with spicy minced chicken tikka. The texture was nice, the meat was perfectly spiced, but the dish can benefit from more cheese.

Photo: Courtesy


The lemon tart was amazingly good. The pastry shell had the perfect crisp in it and the lemon-flavoured custard showed the right balance between lemon and dairy flavours.

The set menu 3, had the same dessert, cream of mushroom soup, Paulian chicken and Saffron rice/mashed potatoes. I altered the mushroom soup with cream of chicken and had the saffron rice instead. Here the twist was they served deshi saffron rice along with Paulian flavoured sauce in the chicken. The rice was light and fluffy and went nicely along with the uniquely gravied chicken steak, made following a Brazilian recipe. The taste of the gravy was tangy but not overwhelming. The cream of chicken soup was delicious. The velvety smooth texture and the tender chicken pieces make it the apt dish to accompany you in chilled weather.

Price for both sets: Tk550

Rating for both sets: 7.5/10

Coxinha (Brazilian chicken croquette)

Coxinha is a popular snack in Brazil which resembles our local deep-fried chicken chops. The efforts of Cafe Sao Paulo to serve traditional Brazilian street food was commendable as they adhered to the same ingredients and presentation as the original.

The croquettes had a crispy outside and a generous inside filling of cheese cream and chicken shreds.

Photo: Courtesy


They served it with their house-special cocktail sauce, which was the perfect complement to the meal and was garnished with cabbage and lettuce to add some freshness.

The only complaint I have is with the portion, as it serves only three coxinhas.

Price: Tk400

Rating: 8/10

Curau De Milho (Brazilian corn pudding)

This is a simple dessert of Brazil which tasted a lot like traditional custard. However, the dish has cornflakes merged into the creamy texture which differentiates it from ordinary custards.

It was a pretty fancy-looking dessert decorated with hard sugar artwork on top. Also, it had a hint of cinnamon-ish taste which added an edge to it.

Photo: Courtesy


The dish was delectable, but I won't say it was extraordinary. The portion and presentation were good according to the price.

Price: Tk350

Rating: 7/10

Mocha Brownie Frappe

The mocha brownie frappe is a concoction of chocolate syrup, brownie, ice cream, blended coffee in mocha flavour and blended ice topped with a generous amount of whipped cream.

The drink is humongous and for any people who want a sugar rush with strong mocha goodness, it is perfect for them.

Photo: Courtesy


The coffee taste was dominant in the drink, enhanced by the addition of chocolate brownies. For a coffee enthusiast like me, I found nothing to complain about.

It was not too sugary and had a perfect fudgy texture. It is a delicious summer drink that I recommend. The drink is quite pricey and because it's so big, some might find it hard to finish.

Price: Tk420

Rating: 8.5/10
 

ABU SAYEED RESIDENCE | BARIDHARA | DEHSARWORKS​


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ACI Pharmaceuticals Head Office, Simpletree Anarkali, Gulshan


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Sumitomo Corporation Asia & Oceania Group Office, Shanta Skymark, Gulshan-1

Sumitomo Corporation Asia & Oceania Group Office designed in a futuristic and modern design by Roofliners Studio of Architecture, who breaking barriers of traditional office culture, focused on modern ideology of workspace. The primary architecture of the office involves vaulting Canopy design, which time and again has been used as a classic element in architectural design. The timeless design feature has been used in a modern way, to create a space age atmosphere.


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"Roofliners Studio" is doing some great work defining rooftops as workspaces besides their office interior designs.
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Some more from the portfolio of "Roofliners Studio"

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Nexus Tower Job
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One more from BAT Bangladesh Savar factory site (outside Dhaka)....
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Design for Golpahar MahaShawshan Temple Complex at OR Nizam Road in Chattogram, Bangladesh. I'd say conceptually probably the most modern Hindu Temple design ever devised in the subcontinent, and that too designed by Muslim architects.....

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Located in the epicenter of the Capital’s near Gulshan Lake, the residential complex Icon Tower merges the harmony of luxury and affordability; while promising an iconic lifestyle with the sumptuous interiors which have been meticulously planned with versatile layouts, wide dimensions and finest materials.

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Built on a land area of approximately 19.74 katha, the complex is designed by architect Mustapha Khalid Palash and developed by Rancon development. The residential tower has a total of 25 rental flats, where single units are 2150 square-feet but many of the dwellers have also combined flats to turn them into simplexes and duplexes. This residential complex notably introduced the first show-flat ever in Bangladesh. For the interior of the show-flat, the interior design team of HIVE Interiors opted for a contemporary neo classical design for a sophisticated aesthetic with a transitional design incorporated with modern materials, such as brass and glass, and united them with plush furnishings.

It took the design team about six months to fully complete the project from the conception to the execution. Since it was an in-house project, the team was not on a tight schedule, so they were engaged with the design for a longer period to conceive something out of the ordinary for the show flat. Everything is done locally in collaboration with the local suppliers and local artisans. From the sofas to the dining table to the cabinetry the entire execution and installation are done in-house.
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“We wanted to create a unique customer experience and made many experiments prior to the execution of the show-flat. We studied and researched on multiple show flats and opted for a simple yet elegant interior interlaced with classy materials for each area. Since it is an open plan project, we carefully curated each area; that to put in simple words, the ‘wow factor’ as soon as an occupant enter. As soon as they enter they are welcomed with the open dining area and living room overlooking the kitchen. The space is then sectioned off partially with brass screens to zone it off as the family-living area and study space”, the designer team explains.

The flat has a combination of dove white and mocha colours on the walls. The living spaces are covered in light beige, marble finish tiles and the bedrooms have light oak colored HDF flooring.

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The flat is implemented with a muted yet poised colour theme running throughout. The highlight of the flat is dominantly the combined space of the dining and living space which comprises of stylish lighting fixtures, paintings and an oversized round mirror to accentuate the beauty of the interior. In terms of adding artificial light fixtures to bring an immediate drama and style to the place, the design team used local suppliers to install the spotlights and track lights other than the imported intricate lamps and crystal chandeliers. The lights incorporated are not overpowering, and gives a sense of calmness inside. Flush lights are as well installed throughout the main area within the ceiling cornice so the dwellers can have the play of depth with light and shade; depending on their celebration and retreats. On the highest level, a roof-terrace is created, which includes a shallow pool, fragmented garden, and spaces for social gatherings and contemplation of the perimeter urban view.
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The simple interiors and efficiently organized space allow the dwellers to avoid unwanted distractions and focus on recovering physical and mentally from a day’s challenges. All sums up together to turn the space into a breath of fresh air amidst the stress of the city life. All in all, this residential complex is the perfect combination of style and diverse elements, which piece together to create an inviting and serene home.
 

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