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Category: Design Ideas

Canadian Chinese Consumerism’s influence Over Malls Architecture & Interior

Canadian Retail Consumer Market is tremendously affected by the great wave of growing middle class wealth in increasing Chinese population of Canada; causing significant shift in retail consumerism, driven by a new generation of young, prosperous and independent consumers who are upwardly mobile, less price-sensitive and determined to display their worldliness through well-considered consumption of reputed brand products.

With digital technology becoming a part of everyday life, we see a new trend of young Chinese consumers’ boom moving to the web search before they make actual purchase. So, they spend less time in store and devout more time in eating and entertaining in shopping malls. This has great impact on architectural and interior planning on new upcoming and existing malls as we are experiencing that many of the existing shopping malls are undergoing extensive remodeling of their layouts and structure; Brentwood Mall, Willow Brook and Guildford malls are the great examples of this changing scenario.

The first, young middle-class Chinese are willing to pay significant premiums for known Brands they trust to be safe and of high quality and they are willing to pay premiums for higher-end products. Plus, this increasing number of Chinese consumer is also looking for distinctive retail experience where they feel comfortable. They are looking for a lifestyle center with distinctive specialty interior design to enjoy unique shopping experience. Chinese greatly value – a quality associated with dignity and pride, that known brands and plush interior design can offer them.

As Chinese consumer’s ratio is rapidly increasing, their shopping behavior has compelled today’s Architects and Interior Designers to pay equal focus on entertainment zones along with shopping zones. Increased numbers of seating lounges, expansive food courts, presence of the specialty restaurants and movie theatres, special courtyards for events and festivals, high ceilings with oversized sky-light windows to bathe mall with natural lights, extra broad corridors and interconnected walkways, information kiosk and baby care centers, are the evidence of changing consumer shopping behavior.

With increase in population, oriental ethnic culture has become the mainstream. Keeping this in mind it has become significantly necessary for retailers to have interior design to promote “an East meets West” approach. As today’s young consumer is globally connected is obviously looking for a state-of-the-art interior to make his shopping memorable and unique.

Apparently, new trendy buyer is more motivated, thrilled and comfortable shopping in vertically stacked mall where traffic and flow is divided at multiple levels rather than everything is at one level where shopping becomes un-interesting and boring experience.

For today’s sophisticated consumer Shopping has become Style. So many retailers today believe to have distinctive Interior Design to make their store Anchor Store, following theory of how customer could be enticed in a controlled environment.

Dynamic signage, organic forms, LED light enhanced interior display, smooth and shiny surfaces, warm tone neutrals, open and less crowded shelving display, color separation to change the flow and function, efficient flooring design to create seamless transition, ceiling design in relation to display and to incorporate effective lighting and handle ancillary (HAVC/Sprinklers etc.) as part of design – are truly evident in designs to make retail outlet the Status Symbol for new high class consumer who is willing to pay premiums  for shopping in high-end store.

Feng Shui approach for greater turnover in Business –

  • Indoor and outdoor water features/fountains believed to be auspicious in Chinese culture brings more wealth and turnover to members. Chinese FENG SHUI is now well known to Canadians and it’s becoming popular part of urban Interior Design.
  • Open and Airy Layout – creates auspicious energy flow, promotes stress-free environment in which buyer and seller are more energetically tuned makes deeper connection.
  • Over-sized skylight windows bring more natural light in is part of yang energy that’s responsible to boost rapid turnover and increased profit.
  • Glass façade brings outside in during day and inside out during night creates dynamic chemistry of Yin and Yang, plus creates urban shopping experience to young Canadian Chinese buyers.

Current retail market industry statistic shows – “Customers are evolving very quickly from the low-end market to the middle and high-end,”. In the 1950s and 1960s the world economy was transformed by the emergence of the American consumer. Now China seems poised to become the next consumption superpower. “The future of the world will be profoundly shaped by China’s rush toward consumerism,” says Karl Gerth, an expert on Chinese consumption at the University of California, San Diego.

As a result, in current scenario Architects and Designers should have more focus on Chinese consumer’s shopping behaviours and pattern.

Lighting in Interior Design

How you light your house is an important part of decorating. A change in the lighting can change how the room is viewed. Lighting interior design contributes greatly to the look and feel of a room. There are many types of lighting which can be used in various rooms. We are no longer restricted to a few lamps around the room.

Ambient lighting is a hidden light source that washes the room with a glow. This creates very few shadows and tends to flatten a room. Japanese paper lanterns and wall sconces both produce ambient lighting. For temporary ambient effects, use a dimmer with your ordinary lighting.

Accent lighting provides interest to a room. This method of lighting interior design highlights object or architectural feature. To use accent lighting, you only need a bulb and a shield to direct the light to the desired focus. Halogen spotlights and opaquely shaded table lamps both provide accent lighting.

Another kind of lighting used in interior design is task lighting. This is a more practical lighting strategy, highlighting an area for daily activities such as reading, cooking, and sewing. Effective task lighting prevents eyes strain and helps with the performance of vital activities. The kitchen is a particularly good place to incorporate task lighting in your interior design. Task lighting sources should be unobtrusive and shielded to prevent glare. Task lighting can be effectively combined with accent lighting to produce lovely effects.

Some lighting can be a work of art in and of itself. Aesthetic lighting is purely decorative, such as a neon sculpture or a spotlight illuminating a statue or painting. This type of lighting must not be used alone, but accompanied by other lighting strategies in your interior design.

Of course, no survey of lighting interior design would be complete without a mention of natural light. Rooms can be arranged to take advantage of the position of the sun at different times of day. This type of lighting is also called kinetic lighting because the light from outside moves. It is one of the less reliable types, as it is affected by the seasons and the weather, but natural lighting can produce an effect unequaled by any artificial light source when used properly.

Lighting is an important tool in your design collection. The way you do your lighting interior design affects the perception of any room. Lighting is also versatile. Using several strategies at once in a room allows you to turn any of them off, changing the look and feel with the flick of a switch. This can be effective for creating different moods in different rooms at night.

Decorating or designing with lights is vast subject. I will cover other important information in my next blog.

Deepak Jayakar

History of royal palaces of India and their survival


Indian history presents a bewildering succession of royal life and its glorious architecture. Indian empires, kingdoms, and smaller states encompassed striking variations in topography and climate, from dessert of Rajasthan in the west to the tropical coastal belt of Kerala in the south, and from the fertile plains of the Ganges (Ganga) river in the central and eastern zones to the rocky expanses of the Deccan plateau at the heart of the peninsula. Each region had its own distinctive language and culture which influenced royal life and architecture, even for those rulers who arrived as conquerors from outside subcontinent. On being introduced into the subcontinent, Islam came into contact with Hindu practices and, in time, came to be infused with indigenous culture.

All aspects of royal architecture in India were infused with cosmic symbols. Resplendent with heavenly motifs such as the globe of the sun, the king’s throne was ornamented with gold, silver, rubies and diamonds, the treasure of the earth. Sun motifs appeared on the walls and ceilings of palaces, suggesting the beneficial influences of the heaven. Some rulers adopted a gleaming sun with radiating spokes as dynastic emblem. Lions, elephants, horses, fishes and mythical beasts were particularly popular; so too were peacocks such as those that adorned the jewelled canopy over the throne of Shah Jehan, the 17th century Mughal emperor. Axis Mundi, or cosmic pillar, is demonstrated in the late 16th century at Fatehpur Sikri where a massive monolithic columns inside one of the royal pavilions support seat used by the Mughal emperor Akbar.  

Indian kings also viewed themselves as chakravarties, universal emperors wielding the charka, or wheel, an emblem that represents the universe. This meant all their activities including public ceremonies had to be in harmony with the heavens. Astrologers were hired to advise construction and extensions of palaces and any construction within entire kingdom. Another expression of the king’s divine power was the belief that both the capital and the palace were micro-cosmic reconstructions of the universe. According to Indian manuals on architecture and town planning, the Vastushastras, some of which are more than fifteen hundred years old, the royal city had to function as a mandala, or sacred diagram. Mandalas were governed by the precise dimensions and proportions, repeating miniature form the mathematical scheme of the cosmos. They were mostly laid out in concentric squares to create complicated geometrical patterns. Zones within the manadala represented the different levels of the universe and were identified with particular divine motif or symbol. The most powerful point was the central square, the seat of the throne or most prominent person or figure.  Jaipur’s plan is regulated by nine-square design which situates the royal palace in the middle. The mathematical quality of the scheme is emphasized by the broad streets, standardize building plots, and axial alignments of gateways and temples.

As the most powerful and influential rulers, the Moghuls had a far reaching impact. Most emperors in the 17th and 18th centuries, including the Rajputs who were in the services of the Delhi emperors or related to them by marriage, set out to imitate Mughal courtly interior style and architecture.

Rajput ceremonial architecture was profoundly influenced by that of the Mughals, with the result that columned halls and vaulted pavilions, often with characteristic jharokas, imitating those at Agra and Delhi and sprung all over Western and Central India. The 16th century columned audience hall at Udaipur is built in early Mughal style. A 17th century addition to the citadel at Amber is the free standing Diwan-I Amm in the second court. By the 18th century, audience hall with cusps arches and painted decoration in the later Mughal manner had become wide-spread throughout much of India. The good examples of these are addition at Kota and Jaipur and in other Rajput palaces have painted and inlaid decoration in the Mughal style covering walls, vaults and domes.

During the British period, formal reception remained the focal activity of courtly life. Public apartments in princely residences often imitated the great houses of the British and French nobility, with darbar halls completely fitted out with European furniture, chandeliers, mirrors, stained-glass panels, curtains and carpets. The grandest and most opulent are those at Gwalior, Indore and Hyderabad. The Indo-Saracenic style chosen by some rulers for their new palaces resulted in more unusual architecture solutions. The darbar hall at Mysore has row of broad cusped arches, ornately gilded; the smaller hall for private audiences, the Amba Vilasa, is remarkable for its stained glass ceiling.

As permanent and highly visible records of an era that has vanished, India’s palaces have a role to play in the discovery and reshaping of the country’s past. They endure as residences of the heirs of royal families, barracks for troops, offices for municipal authorities, museums thronged with visitors. Whatever their circumstances, the palaces evoke awe and respect for the splendour of their royal life and style, possibly also horror at those times of war and repression.

Some palaces are still lived in by the descendants of the maharajas for whom they were originally built. This is particularly true for the 19th and 20th century residences that were erected to replace the no longer suitable accommodation in the fortified citadels of earlier rulers. Such “replacement” palaces are comparatively well adapted to present-day living patterns. Indeed many have been converted successfully into comfortable and desirable habitation, with the addition of plumbing, electricity and other essential services. More recent palaces, such as those at Morvi and Indore were erected in the years immediate prior to Independence, in the latest European Modernist styles and were thus from the beginning were adequately equipped for 20th-century living.

More than any other group of royal families in India, it is the Rajputs who have successfully managed to maintain a presence in or near their original headquarters. The 18th century palace at Jaipur continues to be privately occupied, with the consequence that several suites of formal reception rooms and much of the garden are inaccessible to the public. Like-wise, Udaipur royal families inhabit the Sambhu Nivas, so no longer reachable to public. The inheritors of the Maratha ruler those who rose to power in the 18th century have also been able to hold on to their palaces. Almost half of the vast Jai Nivas at Gwalior is occupied by the Scindia representatives; the Lakshmi Vilas at Baroda remains in the hands of the Gaekwad heirs; the Wodeyars possess a large part of the Mysore city palace.

Some palaces are used by military and are as a result strictly out of bounds. The fort at Allahabad which includes one the most important examples of Mughal palace architecture is beyond the reach of visitors due to the constant presence of troops. Other palaces have been converted into offices for municipal authorities, thereby,  continuing to some extent the original administrative purpose of those buildings.  The law court at Bijapur occupies an arcaded court that dates back to the Adil Shahi period. Educational institutions have also made good use of palaces, as Kapurthala palace is now military academy. Fortunately, a good many of India’s palaces are under the care of civic and archaeological authorities. The oldest are ruined and dilapidated; unoccupied, except for their visitors and watchmen, they give only barest idea of royal life in centuries past. The reception halls, zenana courts and stables at Tughluqabad and Firuzabad in Delhi, for instance, have altogether disappeared. Though royal buildings at Chittor, Mandu, Daulatabad and Vijayanagara, to list only four of the most spectacular of India’s royal citadels, have been cleared and restored, most structures there stand incomplete: their wooden columns, sumptuous plaster work and coloured tiles vanished forever.

The Mughal complexes at Fatehpur Sikri, Agra and Delhi are among the greatest attraction of the country; despite their decay and vandalization over the centuries, they are still appreciated for their grandiose scale of their layouts and the exquitsite of their craftsmanship, which evoke the formal majesty of the Mughal court. Fateehpur Sikri is the most completely preserved royal complex of the Mughal era, having been abandoned well before the Persian and British time. Rajput complexes such as those at Udaipur, Jodhpur and Bikaner give an even vivid idea of ancient India’s architecture. Having been maintained right up to the present century, they were not permitted to fall entirely into ruin, even though some are now extremely run down. Unlike Mughal palaces, they often retain their carpets, furniture and lamps. Walls are covered with murals, inlays of coloured glass and even miniature paintings installed in protective frames.

An important aspect of Indian royal life is the picnics and hunting expeditions that took place in vast wooded estates dotted with pleasure pavilions and shooting lodges. The parks at Udaipur and Bundi, situated only a short distance from palaces can still be visited today. Some royal parks survive in better condition having been transformed into wildlife sanctuaries accessible to tourists. Because of continued attraction of Kashmir for visitors throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the Mughal gardens in the Srinagar valley have never been permitted to fall into despair. The garden palaces overlooking Dal Lake are maintained by the horticultural branch of the archaeological department.

A significant development over the last twenty-five years has been a growth of tourism in India, on the part of both Indians and foreigners. This has given a new lease of life to some palaces, especially those originally designed as guest houses which have been transformed into luxury hotels. The great Rajput families of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Udaipur and Gwalior, together with Woodeyars of Mysore have had considerable success in creating elegant accommodation for paying tourists. Lavish services provide by hotel managements include elaborate musical and theatrical entertainments as well as sporting facilities with billiard rooms, tennis courts and swimming pools. Such leisure activities replicate those for which these palaces were first intended; in this sense, the hotels ensure their survival. Hotel incomes guarantee the maintenance of buildings and their gardens. Such architectural opulence creates the illusion that princely magnificence has somehow survived into the present days and that visitors are royal guests. The colourful uniform of the large number of hotel staff, and the regal monograms on the door panels, tableware, stationery and even the bed linen, reinforce the impression that these hotels are private residences. Indeed, many are still managed by the heirs of the maharajas, or at least by the trust set up by them. Suites in some palaces, as in the Umaid Bhavan at Jodhpur, are permanently reserved for princely families, members of which can occasionally be glimpsed disappearing down private corridors, barely distinguishable from visitors themselves.

Unhappily, not all the descendants of India’s princely families have been able to safeguard their palaces. Disputes between families with decade long litigation, have meant that some residences are constantly under threat. As the heirs, of the once wealthy royal families squabble about ownership and rights, the palaces were stripped of their treasures and left to disintegrate; some are pulled down so as to sell off the increasingly valuable land on which they are built. Serving neither as private dwellings nor as public museums, these are endangered palaces of India. A particularly unfortunate case is the Chau Mahalla in Hyderabad. Closed now for years due to family disputes, it is protected neither by those who have inherited it nor by the local municipality, who can not gain access to it. Its future, like that of so many other palaces in India, remains uncertain.

As early as the 14th century, stories glorifying the exotic palaces of Indian rulers began to circulate in the West. Even today they are magical places, in which the Hindu and Muslim rulers of the subcontinent dispensed their laws and enjoyed their wealth. The beauty and atmosphere of these ancient palaces is displayed all over India. These fascinating edifices are receiving increasing numbers of visitors each year, yet there is no in-depth survey of them ever done. If one can make the effort to discover the superb record of these unique and most splendorous palaces, living witnesses to a regal aspiration can re-create

“Heaven on Earth”

Granite in Interior Design

Created by nature and shaped by craftsman, Granite is an investment. Deep irresistible colors, granite offers that elusive beauty created by nature. As a result, granite adds character, warmth with a unique richness to the areas where it goes.

Granite applications include: kitchens, bathrooms, windows/doors Sills, fireplaces, walls, furniture, restaurants, kiosks, boats, RVs and many more residential/commercial uses.

Though, granite is very closely associated with kitchens for various reasons. First of all, granite complements any kitchen with its beautiful and luxurious look. Depending on the edge, color and finish of your granite countertop, it can warm up your kitchen as well as add elegance. Most important, it doesn’t promote bacteria growth when properly sealed and maintained and it is highly stain, heat and scratch resistant.

Granite is always hard and tough, therefore its shine lasts longer compare to any other stone and its easy to maintain. Because of this, it has also gained widespread popularity as a construction stone. With granite high profile edge finishing is possible, that adds more elegance, richness and beauty to the interior design. Granite can take any amount of traffic, makes it highly usable for public places, such as: malls, theatres, universities, airports, banquet halls, hotels, restaurants etc.  As granite is considered as weather proof stone, it is extensively used as external finishing material for building facades, signages, walkways etc.

Granite is available in different sizes and thicknesses,  in tile form as well as in slab form. For commercial use and building projects, bigger size slabs can be procured by special order. Plus it is highly uniform material and very rarely you get variation in big lots. Rough finish  granite adds ambience to special areas, such as: pubs, studios, spas, ladscapes, swimming pools etc. When creatively incorporated in any piece of furniture, brings beauty and richness to interior design.

The versatility of granite has made it a most favorite material of Builders, Architects and Interior-Designers.

Making Wall alive with Texturing

Plain colors may look dull and boring after sometime. You can create focal points in your home and make it look attractive and interesting by the use of patterns and textures, while maintaining the harmony and synchronization in your home décor. There are unlimited choices of textures and patterns for you to brood upon and choosing them and arranging them in an inviting manner, is not so easy a task, as it may seem at the first instance. Textures and patterns play an important role in determining the style of decorating the home. It brings character and depth in design if used correctly and creatively.

Wall texturing adds unique dimension to flat, drab walls. However, wall texturing also has a functional purpose. Many aren’t aware that wall texturing is an ideal way to cover minor nicks, cracks, flaws, stains and unevenness on your home’s existing walls.

Wall texture can easily be added with paint, stucco, fabrics, wallpaper, wood paneling, rough tiles or faux wall texturing products. The easiest and most economical way to add texture to your walls is by using pre-mixed wall-texturing paste in a can, or wall-texturing spray. Applicators can be used to make any wall-texturing pattern you like.

Your environment limits your choices while every individual has different preferences too. However, there are a few key points to keep in mind while selecting the right texture and pattern or their combinations for your home that you can use to create illusions of seemingly changed proportion of rooms, climatic conditions and overall mood of the room. Textures helps you get enhanced ambience. Textures like chipped off plaster, broken walls or exposed bricks, help you create ancient look. While textures used in extensively large rooms can bring warmth and closeness and helps eliminate emptiness of space. Textures can be used as acoustic treatment, in the special areas such as home theatre, media room or entertainment room. You will find texture in nature itself and by using textures in interior design you can get surrounding nature in.

So remember, when you go for your next home makeover, create interest with textures. It gets you style, character and ambience.

Smart kitchen Ideas

If you’ve fantasized about a chaos-free kitchen where the countertops are clear and everything stays in its proper place, you’re in luck. All you need is a little creativity and a few smart tips.

The hottest trend in kitchen design adds fun—and function—to the art of the meal.

Recently, we’ve seen a resurgence of interest in the kitchen and all matters culinary, including a new appreciation for the value of great food and the social aspects of cooking. Fueled in part by the explosion of TV cooking shows featuring affable hosts who make it all look easy, this new concept KITCHEN is a source place of great fun with friends and family.

No matter what shape your kitchen’s in—whether your floor plan is straight, U-shaped, L-shaped, or otherwise—its fundamental efficiency revolves around the triangle. The work triangle, an area comprised of the distance between your refrigerator, stove and sink, traces the kitchen’s most-traveled areas. People are spending more time in the kitchen. They’re entertaining more, they’re cooking more and they are requiring kitchens that perform to a professional level.

Demand for professional-style kitchens has caused manufacturers to rethink kitchen design and offer consumers products that have the efficiency previously only available to professional restaurateurs. More and more home kitchens are starting to mirror what professional kitchens look like. While each home cook’s needs will be slightly different, the best professional-style consumer kitchens include many of the following features such as: durable material, multiple sinks, high function faucets, stainless steel finish energy star appliances, large prep area, easy clean-up and efficient work triangle.

As cooking has taken its rightful place as a social activity, home cooks are inviting friends and family members to pitch in and help prepare a meal. Having well-planed, well-designed and functional kitchen makes these culinary collaborations more convenient—and productive–for everyone, from your college roommate to Uncle Bob.

If you really want to add a chef amenity to your kitchen, consider a pot filler faucet. No more lugging around heavy, water-filled pots and pans. Pot fillers serve as extendible faucets, and can be installed next to your stovetop or prep sink for easy water access; further feature addition of instant hot water faucet makes so much in time saving.

After a great meal, you want cleanup to be quick so you can get out of the kitchen and back to your guests. High-arching, swing-away spouts and pull-down spray faucets let you get close to your work by targeting the spray exactly where you need it. New generation sensor sink faucets really add glamour, convenience and hygienic sense.  Sinks with lower divider between sink basins, make it easier to clean large, bulky items.

Moreover, you can learn Feng Shui aspect of Kitchen planning where great design ideas infused with feng shui principles can promote better health, family harmony, abundance and Joy.

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