Brick makers feel economic heat

Wed, 15 October 2008 Hor Hab Local industry caught between falling demand and cheap, illegal imports from Vietnam Tracey Shelton Locally made bricks use better quality materials than cheaper imports from Vietnam, say industry experts. Price watch construction materials Steel rods were selling in Phnom Penh markets at 3,921 riels per kilogram Friday, a rise of 78.23 percent over the base price for the year, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce’s Trade Promotion Department. Cement was selling at an average of 19,814 riels per sack, an increase of 23.84 percent over the year’s base price. Brick makers are suffering from falling prices in a construction market flattened by both the rainy season and the current economic downturn, as well as from competition from cheaper imports from neighbouring Vietnam, according to industry insiders. “I think imported brick from Vietnam is popular among housing developers in Battambang because it’s cheap,” said Bou Sophal, president of the Battambang Brick Manufacturers Association. “But it is not generally used by individuals as it is low in quality and less dense than local brick.” Mao Thora, secretary of state in the Ministry of Commerce, also worried that the smuggling of illegally imported bricks from Vietnam would have a negative impact on local producers. Traders were smuggling cheaper bricks from Vietnam by burying them under other goods, Mao Thora told Prime Location. “It will kill local brick kilns if they are imported on a large scale,” he said. The owner of a brick-making factory in Kandal province who asked not to be named told Prime Location by telephone interview, “We can’t compete with imported...

Space goes fast for upcoming expo

Wed, 15 October 2008 Nathan Green EXHIBITORS have already snapped up two-thirds of available exhibition space at Cambodia’s first real estate expo next month, says the head of the event management company. Whale Event Management chairman Ly Sok expects the remaining booths for the November 21-23 expo at the Cambodiana Hotel to be sold by the middle of this month. Exhibition space for the three-day event ranges from US$20,000 for a diamond booth down to $2,500 for one of 15 standard booths. The event will showcase real estate companies, developers, construction companies, banks, insurance companies and interior designers. UN representatives will also attend to advance discussion about sustainable urban development. “The expo is a one-stop service featuring everything to do with real estate,” Ly Sok said. Confirmed exhibitors include the Gold Tower 42 and the Grand Phnom Penh International City development projects, banks such as ANZ Royal and Cambodia Public Bank, Alpha Property Construction and Décor Gallery. “Cambodia is a frontier market, a land of opportunity,” said Ly Sok. “The time now is right.” Whale Event Management, a member of Whale Group, was formed this year and plans to hold at least six expos annually focused on real estate, trade, technology and education.8Read Original...

One step beyond

Wed, 15 October 2008 Melanie Brew 6-Story-1.jpg Beyond Interiors offers designs that look ready to be lived in Photo by: Rick Valenzuela The showroom of Beyond Interiors groups its home-furnishing collections into homelike rooms and arrangements that suggest how they might look in your own home. Australian-born owner and manager Bronwyn Blue says it’s all about “trying to keep the space light and bright, using colours that are really of the earth and the sky.” NEW storefronts in Phnom Penh are often created from pre-existing structures but respond to nothing more than necessity. Beyond Interiors is a display of what can happen when a designer absorbs an existing structure with a fresh and contemporary vision. “The main crux of the design was about bringing the garden into the showroom,” says owner and designer Bronwyn Blue. Landscaper Bill Grant created a tropical frame around the building, and glass walls and mirrors not only bring the garden into the showroom but also help create Blue’s vision of freshness and lightness. The colours in the showroom also display these themes. “It’s all about freshness,” she says, “trying to keep the space light and bright, using colours that are really of the earth and the sky.” Although the showroom has many contemporary themes and ideas, “the building was inspired by original architectural shapes that are seen all around Cambodia”. And indeed the sea of glossy green pagoda tiles covering an interior wall does present Cambodian elements in a contemporary and inventive way. If there’s only one vase in a room, then that’s all you need. It’s beautiful the way it is. Shapes found...

Do it yourself: Giving things a splash of paint

Read Original textWed, 15 October 2008 Melanie Brew MANY homes and apartments in Cambodia are beautiful, with high ceilings and open spaces, but too often they feel worn and tired. Adding colour to the walls is an excellent way to refresh a room and – although painting can seem like a colossal task – the results are worth the effort. Choosing a paint color is the first and sometimes most difficult part of painting. Room size and wall space are important factors. Smaller rooms lend themselves well to soft colors and earth tones. Shades of violet, blue and green create the sense of a larger, more airy space. It is often said that blue-green shades are the lightest and airiest. Earth tones – browns, beiges, greys and taupes – add elegance and sophistication to a room while also giving it a larger appearance. Strong, bold colours work well in big rooms, especially with high ceilings. Reds, oranges and yellows are high-energy colors that bring a room together and create a sense of closeness. These colours are good for common areas as they increase social interaction. Bolder shades add a dramatic effect to a room, while lighter shades create a sense of movement. Natural lighting plays a big factor. Rooms that get a lot of sunlight can appear hot and small if they are painted in dark shades, and rooms with a lot of shadow can feel cold without enough contrasting colour. Dulux paints from Singapore are high quality paints, and the Dulux store on Monireth off Mao Tse Toung Boulevard can match any color using computer technology. This store...

Featured Property: Malis

Wed, 15 October 2008 Melanie Brew 4-Malis.jpg Restaurant creates a living Cambodian style Photo by: TRACEY SHELTON SO much of Cambodia’s culture is bound nostalgia that it’s refreshing to enter a space where the design styles are wholly Cambodian and absolutely alive. Malis restaurant balances wide airy spaces with deep rich wood and stone creating a lively contrast, the effect of which is stunning. “It’s not old, it’s not fusion, it’s not modern… it’s living. We don’t forget the old, and we are not going too far into the new,” says Malis executive chef Luu Meng. Lighted pillars stand at the front of the restaurant behind which is an open courtyard and a trio of fishponds. Dark wood tables are set up around the courtyard under the overhanging tiled eves of the renovated villa. Malis is a union of inside and outside spaces spanning three levels. The top two floors harbour elegant private dining areas and balconies. Plants and trees are ubiquitous throughout. Champe trees twist out of lush green grass and oversized vases with bamboo line the walkways of the dining areas. The sound of fountains in the fishponds along with soft lighting creates a serene ambiance. Hand-woven Khmer silk fabrics cover lampshades and chair cushions, and locally made tiles adorn the floors. Malis Restaurant is elegant in design and succeeds in creating a living Cambodian style. Read Original...