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Vol 11 No. 04

A R T

A R C H I T E C T U R E

I N T E R I O R

March 2015

An introduction

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The bull and the chessboard Healing through

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Wending our way back


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Conens Volume 11 NO. 04 | MARCH

S P A C E S N E P A L . C O M

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Come alive with colour

Every colour lends its own specific set of meanings INTERIOR to a given space. Colours possess characteristics that can relate to our emotions. A wellplanned and furnished space may lead to disappointment due to a lack of suitable colour themes. It is through pleasant colour patterns that the ambience of a place becomes remarkable. A good colour scheme is essential in living spaces if one wants to make an appropriate impression.

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Earthquake preparedness: Retrofitting fire stations and rebuilding them

IMPACT

As essential public facilities that must remain standing postearthquakes and fire disaster events, and should be functional for post-disaster operations, firehouses must be adequately retrofitted structures. However, Nepal’s fire stations are seismically vulnerable and the buildings that house fire-fighting equipment and personnel in Kathmandu Valley are unreinforced. The pre-disaster mitigation process should focus on the retrofitting or the replacement of such existing structures.

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An introduction to Vastu

There are principally three energies around us: Heaven, PERSPECTIVE Karma and Earth. Vastu is the balancing of energies, specifically the energies that emanate from five separate elements that make up our surroundings: Earth (Prithvi), Water (Jal), Fire (Agni), Air (Vaayu) and Space (Aakash). It is very important that we receive balanced energies from the five elements through the houses we live in.

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Wending our way back

The Taragaon Museum houses and displays a significant body ARCHITECTURE of work that the foreign artists, photographers, architects, anthropologists and Sanskritists who travelled to Nepal in the second half of the 20th century have left behind. The exhibition space itself is scattered across the roughly 16 rooms that were originally built by the revered Austrian architect Carl Pruscha as temporary residences for foreigners visiting Kathmandu and boarding at the Taragaon Hostel. What there is to see at the Taragaon Museum is hence as much about the museum complex as it is about the museum collection.

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HOME Furniture

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Art-immersion

Sanjeev Maharjan, Asha Dangol, Hit Man Gurung, and Bidhata KC were among ART the first batch of Nepali artists awarded travel grants by the Nepal Art Council to attend an art fair, the India Art Fair (IAF) in Delhi, this year. The IAF’s work in getting South Asian art on the world map has been unparalleled. For the Nepali artists who attended, the event--a leading art fair in South Asia that showcases modern and contemporary pieces from all around the world--was a stimulating, rejuvenating experience

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An urgent need to go lead-free

Seventy percent of paints that are commonly used in Nepal have a lead AWARENESS content of well above 90 parts per million (ppm), the internationally accepted standard for lead in paints. The paints we apply on the walls of our homes and schools are not safe for us and our children. It is up to us to ask for and only use paints with the “No added lead” logo to create healthy homes, schools and work spaces. es.

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The bull and d the chessboard

“Masculinity”--the title of Gopal Kalapremi’s exhibition at the INTERIOR Siddhartha Art Gallery--connected the bull, the key, the board and the diamond with one word that represents the innermost feelings of an artist surrounded by his own society, but also by the global world in a multicultural scenario that affects all of us. On a massive chessboard, we move our little pieces.

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56 76 79 82 84 88

ARCHITECTURE: Healing through architecture FROM THE SHELF: Celestial Gallery PERSONALITY: Preksha Baid ARTSCAPE: Bidhata KC STORE WATCH: Aditya Hardware Enterprise PRODUCT: Modular kitchen sets and home appliances


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ediorial At the very outset – we at SPACES would like to express our sincere condolence and remember Uday Sundar Shrestha, our former founding director and editor-in-chief for his untimely demise. I remember Uday as a person with a strong viewpoint and would like to acknowledge and Thank his contribution in the formation of SPACES. Almost 11 years back, when he approached me to discuss the possibility of starting SPACES - it was with optimism that we looked forward to promoting the culture of documenting and sharing features in the design and building industry. Although in between Uday left SPACES to form another design journal, I have to acknowledge that running a design print journal is always a challenge here with limited profitability, but more so for the passion of sharing interesting features that we come across. The Nepali art sphere is continually and rapidly evolving with increased Public awareness. Number of art activities in Kathmandu has witnessed an exponential increase in the past few years. Our art features include two pieces that examine different facets of development of Nepali art. In Art-immersion we commend the Nepal Art Council’s effort in enabling Nepali artists gain international experience by providing artists a travel grant for the first time in it’s history. Sanjeev Maharjan, Asha Dangol, Hit Man Gurung, and Bidhata KC were among the first batch of Nepali artists to attend IAF - International Art Fair in Delhi with funds provided by the Art Council. In The Bull and the Chessboard a piece by Andrea de la Rubia focuses on modern and contemporary arts of Nepal discussing the symbolisms surrounding the bull, a core image from Gopal Kalapremi’s recent exhibition at the Siddhartha Art Gallery. Gómez brings in elements from her native Spanish tradition in exploring the meanings, symbolism and cultural differences inherent in her writing. Portrait of an Artist interviews Preksha Baid, an energetic young interior designer with Nepali roots who is behind some of the cutting edge design projects carried out

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in India in recent times. Baid talks about her passion for crafting beautiful modern spaces using diverse techniques and concepts that highlight the intrinsic connection between craftsmanship, artistry and interior design. We also explore the many properties of colour in interior designer Usha Sharma’s feature on Come alive with colour. Art and architecture come together in the feature Wending our way back, an exploration of the Taragaon Museum in Bouddha. The museum building originally designed and built by Carl Pruscha in the 1970s, is as important and experience while visiting the museum, as to the exhibition of photographs and sketches documenting the recent history of Kathmandu and its periphery that are in the museum’s permanent collection. The museum’s collection which comprises of visual documentation of Nepal’s cultural, anthropological, architectural and artistic history made by foreign scholars and researchers in the late twentieth century records Nepal’s recent history reminding us all of our inherent pristine nature coupled with cultural richness. In Healing through Architecture - Tabassum Siddiqui explores Vastu as a holistic means of building homes that are beneficial to the overall health and well being of those who reside in such buildings beyond the functional requirement. Our new Vastu regular column features understanding of Vastu Shimromani - Madhav Mangal Joshi’s first article on An introduction to Vastu which become companion reads with Siddiqui’s article. We do hope you continue enjoying these features and keep in harmony and connect with your SPACE. Namaste!

S Sarosh Pradhan / Editor in Chief


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Volume 11 NO. 04 | March

CEO Ashesh Rajbansh Editor-in-Chief Sarosh Pradhan feature editor Rachana Chettri Creative Manager Deependra Bajracharya Contributing Art Editor Madan Chitrakar

Kasthamandap Art Studio Junior Editor Sristi Pradhan Contributing Editor President - Society of Nepalese Architects

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Regd. No 30657/061-62 CDO No. 41 SPACES is published twelve times a year at the address above. All rights are reserved in respect of articles, illustrations, photographs, etc. published in SPACES. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher and the publisher cannot accept responsiblility for any errors or omissions. Those submitting manuscripts, photographs, artwork or other materials to SPACES for consideration should not send originals unless specifically requested to do so by SPACES in writing. Unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and other submitted material must be accompanied by a self addressed return envelope, postage prepaid. However, SPACES is not responsible for unsolicited submissions. All editorial inquiries and submissions to SPACES must be addressed to editor@spacesnepal.com or sent to the address mentioned above.

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Contribuors Dr Madhav Mangal Joshi Dr Madhav Mangal Joshi, the Vastu Shiromani, is a Vastu, Feng-shui and Dowsing expert. The Chairperson of the Vastu Bivag at Nepal Jyotish Parisad, he is also the Founder Principal of Global Vastu Pratisthan. Also the Chairperson of Nepal Vastu Sangh, he is associated with a number of associations home and abroad. In recognition of his high patronage to the cause of research and development of International Astrology and Vastu, Asian Astrologers Congress, India and KP Stellar Astrological Research Institute, Mauritius has conferred him Swami Vivekananda Award and Hony Doctorate of Vastu Shastra.

Anana R Baidya Ananta R Baidya is a licensed California professional engineer currently practising in San Diego. He has taught ‘Engineering Codes’ at the Kathmandu University as part of its visiting faculty.

Ram Charitra Sah Ran Charitra Sah is executive director of the Centre for Public Health and Environmental Development (CEPHED). He is an environmental scientist with a BSc degree, another BSc in Forestry and an MSc in Environmental Science.

Sewa Bhatarai Sewa Bhattarai recently finished her Masters Degree in Sociology from Western Illinois University. She is an avid blogger and a freelance journalist who contributes to various newspapers. She likes to read a lot, and writes about myths, literature, and the life of students abroad.

Shristy Chhetri Shristy Chhetri is a graduate in International Relations and Psychology from Wesleyan College, Georgia, USA. She began writing as a blogger and now is a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers. She has always believed that words have the power to express and to change.

Tabassum Siddiqui Tabassum Siddiqui is visiting professor at the Kantipur International College, Kathmandu. She studied at the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture in 2004 and a Master’s in Interior Design in 2006. Siddiqui is a member of the Nepal Engineering Council, Nepal Engineers’ Association and the Society of Nepalese Architects.

Andrea de la Rubia Gómez-Morán Andrea de la Rubia Gómez-Morán is a PhD researcher exploring Nepal’s modern art scene as part of the TRAMA I+D Research Group and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), Spain. She has been granted a scholarship from the Spanish Government to pursue her investigation here. GómezMorán has a degree in Fine Arts from the Universidad de la Laguna, Spain (where she won the Excellence Award for the Best Transcript), and an MA in History of Contemporary Art and Visual Culture from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Spain.

Tejia Vaidya Amatya Tejita Vaidya Amatya is the director & chief interior designer at CONCEPTION INTERIOR PVT. LTD., the design company founded together with her husband Er. Kundal Shekhar Amatya in 2004. She completed her three year Diploma in Interior Designing from New Delhi. She started her career with Astra Development Networks. She has also shared her knowledge as interior design instructor at Kristal Institute. She has showcased her talent through various prestigious projects like branch offices for Century Commercial Bank, offices for UN organizations, Hotel Indreni Himalaya, Tamarind restaurant to name a few.

Usha Sharma Usha Sharma, completed her Diploma In Interior Designing from IEC, Bagbazaar in 2007 and is currently working as an Interior Designer at Aakar International, Battisputali. She is currently studying fine arts at Srijana College of Fine Arts, Lazimpat and is also a photography enthusiast. Her fascination is towards Art and Architecture.

Ashish Dhakal-Upadhyay Ashish Dhakal-Upadhyay is a student whose interests in literature, poetry and the performance artsy inform and enrich his writing. He completed his A-Level from Budhanilkantha School and has been writing and editing since he was in middle school. He has written for the national English daily “Republica” in the past. COVER PHOTO: Taragaun Museum, Boudha © Ashesh Rajbansh

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news

INDIA’S DEFINITIVE DESIGN WEEK India Design (ID) 2015, which took place in New Delhi from February 13-15, brought professionals from all sides of the design spectrum together in a week-long celebration that saw some of the finest designers and high-end brands unveiling their latest collections

T

he third edition of India Design, ID 2015, took place in New Delhi’s Okhla from February 13-15. An annual design week that brings professionals from a wide range of design disciplines to a single platform to interact amongst each other and their consumers, ID is India’s definitive and first-of-its-kind design week. This year’s event was a one-stop platform for a new generation of designers. ID is an OGAAN initiative presented by Asian Paints, and took place at the NSIC Grounds, Okhla, this year. Organiser OGAAN is a designer store that opened in 1989 in New Delhi with the idea of promoting and showcasing great design and craftsmanship from all over India. The ID event also embodies this sense of showcasing and appreciating great design and craftsmanship and featured three sections–Exhibit ID, ID symposium and ID satellite–this year.

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Exhibit ID was a three-day exhibition that showcased the finest designs in home decoration, with high-end brands and designers unveiling their latest collections. There were themed pavilions, namely Decoration, Design and Trends, and the exhibit was open to trade and general visitors. With the finest names in home decoration and design on board, Exhibit ID aimed to bring high-end brands, young talent and consumers on the same platform.

ID Symposium was an inspirational space for presentations, panel discussions, interactive sessions, debates and dialogues on design. Powered by Roca, the symposium sought to inspire and offer a networking opportunity for professionals to build relationships within the industry. The ID Symposium featured engaging speakers from all sides of the design spectrum. Ambrish Arora, BV Doshi, Fumihiko Maki, Giulio Cappellini, Gurjit Singh Matharoo, Lidewij Edelkoort, Paola Navone, Patricia Urquiola, Sebastian Wrong and Shimul Javeri Kadri were amongst the speakers featured this year. A Pecha Kucha event concluded the event acting as a wrap session.


ID embodies a sense of showcasing and appreciating great design and craftsmanship, and featured three sections–Exhibit ID, ID symposium and ID satellite–this year Pau Abello, managing director at Roca spoke about changing trends commenting, "As homes become more contemporary in aesthetics, the most personal area of the house has also undergone concomitant changes with respect to design and appeal. Bathrooms have become an epitome of fashionable charm and the evolved discerning user handpicks fittings and accessories with a keen sense of style, functionality and sustainability." ID Satellite, "the hip offsite vertical", meanwhile, discovered design districts of Delhi with promotions, collaborations and events across different venues through week-long festivities at design districts like Lado Sarai, Meharchand Market, Shahpur Jat, Defence Colony and MG Road which had the Indian capital buzzing. The participating venues featured design-linked activities across lifestyle stores, restaurants, malls, bookshops, galleries, select public/private locations, with an explosion of launches, new collections, cocktails, previews, reviews and special events. MARCH 2015 SPACES / 19


review

PRINTS AND PAINTINGS The Artist Proof Gallery celebrated the season of love with an exhibition of prints and paintings at its premises in Pulchowk this February

A

collection of artwork tied together by the theme ‘love’ were exhibited at the Artist Proof Gallery, New Orleans, Pulchowk, in February, to commemorate the month of love. The exhibition–which featured prints and paintings by Nepali artists Ragini Upadhyaya, SC Suman, Erina Tamrakar, Asha Dangol, Saurganga Darshandhari, Rukmani Shrestha and Manju Shyaula–was inaugurated by

The art on display embraced the environment and circled about the themes of romantic as well as compassionate love, capturing the different moods and moments of love in a range of beautiful, boisterous, pensive and muted colours

Rensje Teerink, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Nepal and Giuseppe Savino, her husband, on the evening of Febraury 13. Most of the art on display embraced the environment and circled about the themes of romantic as well as compassionate love, capturing the different moods and moments of love in a range of beautiful, boisterous, pensive and muted colours. Valentine’s Day, the festival, the exhibition was built upon, is after all not really about red roses and dark chocolate but about human, compassionate love. The prints included a Darshandhari’s piece titled “Me and You”. The artist has used two neck ties on one neck to symbolise male and female union and one can observe branches of trees and a pair of highly symbolic doves printed on the tie’s surface. Elephants, lotuses and safety pins–all arranged in five different tiers at the bottom of the canvas–are also an important feature of this print. Tamrakar’s painting series ‘Couple’, on the other hand, spans two canvases and features the faces of one man and one woman–both wearing sad, pensive expressions– painted over backgrounds of mild yellow, white, black and gray. One of Upadhyay-Grela’s prints had a couple making love inside a heart shape, dominated by the colours white and black with wavy lines inside the heart. Artists Erina Tamrakar, Asha Dangol, and SC Suman used print-making techniques and brought a variety of techniques to the exhibition.

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review

EMPOWERING THROUGH ART Celebrated Indian artist Samar Singh Jodha discussed the roles art can play in addressing development, human rights and conservation issues at a programme organised by the SAF in Kathmandu

S

ince time immemorial, art has served as a source of pleasure. But times have changed, and so has the role of art says Samar Singh Jodha, a celebrated Indian artist who has been addressing various development, human rights and conservation issues for the past 20 years through the medium of art–photography and film, in particular. At a programme organised by the Siddhartha Arts Foundation (SAF) at the Himalayan Bank Auditorium in Kamaladi on February 6, Jodha expressed that art has now become a powerful tool for sustainability and capacity building. Through his lecture and his short film, Jodha elucidated that an artist needs to be a “change agent”, one who has taken up the profession for enhancing the capacity of the people (beginning from the ground level) and not for “glamour and money.”

According to Jodha, artists should treat their audiences with respect, and this respect, he says, comes through identity. Hence, not surprisingly, the artist’s own films focus primarily on issues of identity, especially those of marginalised populations and of people living in conflict. His films and photographs are a testament to his belief. A film of his which documents the making f the Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world, documents the plight of the migrant workers who toiled so hard in the construction of the skyscraper but were never given proper acknowledgement for their work. The artist believes that films on such overlooked issues are a call to act upon rethinking and hence rebuilding the identities of marginalised groups. Such newly built identities, Jodha says, shall help others attribute the contributions of

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such groups. When that happens, he continues, sustainability and capacity building are ensured. To further the point, Jodha has denied the common tendency of focusing only on the beauty of the final product in his work. He pointed out that such behaviours are led by self-defeating eyes. As such, he advocated for a process-oriented approach. According to the artist, when a process is identified, everybody–from the owners to the actual makers–will have their parts seen in the final product. Consequently, this shall enhance the confidence and the capacity of the unidentified or marginalised groups, especially the workers. Another way that art can help in bringing about long term-growth and in building capability is through metaphor. For instance,

amongst the highlights of Jodha’s film, were the photographs of the Union Carbide Plant in Bhopal where the infamous Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984–the leakage of 42 tons of Methyl Bocyanate on the night of December 2 and the early morning of December 3–which killed 2259 people among the 528, 125 exposed, took place. In one of those photographs, Jodha shows a black shroud “bearing names and file numbers of some of the victims that envelops them in anonymity”. Such a state of anonymity, the artist says, is a metaphor of the “enforced silence” that the victims are suffering as they are denied fair compensation, adequate health care or legal redressal. Furthermore, the documentation itself is a super metaphor that allows the audience to think about the many Bhopals taking place around them. Photographs, Jodha believes, should allow an audience to not just picture the very photos in view in their own context but must also allow room for contemplation on how similar kinds of victims–oppressed populations in other parts of the world–are living. Such thinking, the artist says, can pioneer in leading long-term projects to do away with all forms of victimisation and marginalisation. Moreover, when such works of art are felt as being metaphorical to their own context, the audience feels connected emotionally. As a result, they advance towards being change agents to bring about sustainability and capacity building. After voicing these rather indirect statements, Jodha, on a more direct, note shared his ideas about how art can help in sustainability and capacity-building through money gained from the arts. “You take photographs; they make sense to the people and raise you money and you utilise it for the people at the ground level. This would build the much-needed empowerment for them, and help in their long term growth,” he said. The artist demonstrated that art has changed its face and has now become an important weapon for bringing long life to a project and enhancing the capabilities of unacknowledged populations and groups deemed vulnerable. Nischal Oli, representative of the SAF’s Education Initiative, commented that the programme was organised to “expand the vocabulary of art, and give a platform for outsiders so as to aid the growth of the arts in Nepal.” The event was supported by the BP Koirala Foundation and the Himalayan Bank with Kunda Dixit moderating the audience interaction session that followed Jodha’s lecture and short film screening.


review

BUILDING EFFECTIVE BUSINESS PLATFORMS

NEPAL BUILDCON INTERNATIONAL 2015 AND NEPAL WOOD INTERNATIONAL EXPO 2015 The three-day international exhibition-expo on construction, woodwork, architecture and accessories was the first event of its kind in Nepal and featured over 100 domestic and international stalls

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epal is a growing market with growing needs. Since most of our infrastructure is in the nascent stages, the scope for development here is unparalleled. The raw materials and human resources of Nepal remain virtually untouched as well. Tapping into these deposits could very well ensure the development and prosperity we lack and so demand at the moment. With proper investment and support from the general public, Nepal can utilise its vast resources and the funds at its disposal to create a better future for itself and its citizens. The contemporaneous “Nepal Buildcon International 2015” and “Nepal Wood International Expo 2015”, which took place in Kathmandu from February 27 to March 1, were designed specially to ensure that the right companies are exposed to the right individuals here. Organisers Futurex Group, India, and Media space Solutions, Nepal, planned and executed the exhibition-expo with the aim of exploring the demanding domestic market. Mahesh Basnet, Minister of Industry inaugurated the three-day event in a ceremony that took place at the venue, Bhrikutimandap, on February 27. The exhibition-expo featured over 100 domestic and international stalls, the latter of which were mostly based in India, exposing the Nepali market and consumer populace to products that are not as yet well-known about or widely available in the country. Stalls related to varied sectors of the construction and wood production industries could be visited, and their respective products talked about and examined in close detail at the event. The range of products included processing machineries and finished products that

were put on display by concerned stalls and companies. Domestic as well as international companies like Jagadamba Cement, Asian Paints, Pashupati Paints, Surya Ply, Hunter Douglas, Leitz, Hettich, Zoren Hopps and Alstone, among many others, were amongst those that participated in the event.

contacts they had developed at the event. The participating international companies all echoed the belief that Nepal is a growing economy, and with a growing economy comes a growing market. They say they are optimistic about their relations with Nepal and hope that these relations will be fruitful for both parties.

Even though the primary aim of the exhibition-expo was to bring international and domestic sellers and consumers to the same platform, the organisers also wanted to familiarise the general Nepali public with the construction sector. A few of the participating companies stated that they managed to secure a considerable number of contracts because of the exhibition; even those that had not said they had certainly branched into the Nepali construction business with the number of

Gaurav Chopal from Chopal Timber Company, India, said, "Buyers and sellers are constantly searching for each other, but aren't able to find the satisfactory other. Exhibitions like these help us easily find sellers and vice versa. Moreover, we get the opportunity of shedding light to the general public regarding the wood processing industry and the company itself". The live demonstration of wood peeling by the Chopal Company was certainly the highlight of the exhibition. MARCH 2015 SPACES / 23


Our main aim has been to bring the kind of technology that Nepal’s construction industry needs to the market so that clients do not need to travel abroad to avail of various services. The plan now is to make this an annual event in Kathmandu

The overall experience organising and facilitating the event has been very good. There is huge potential in the Nepali market. In two or three years, there will be an even bigger demand for the construction industry in Nepal. It is with view of such demands that we organised the event and the feedback has been phenomenal.

NAMIT GUPTA Director, Futurex Trade Fair and Events Pvt. Ltd, India

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The fact that concerned buyers were present at the exhibition-expo meant that the event was an actual business-to-business platform. The exhibition more than met expectations, although the experience of organising an event of such a scale in Nepal proved startlingly different from the experiences we’ve had in

India. It was a challenge, but we believe the challenge was met. We still have a long way to go and improve further, though. Our main aim has been to bring the kind of technology that Nepal’s construction industry needs to the market so that companies and clients do not need to travel abroad to avail of various services. We also want the general public to have sound knowledge of developments being made in the construction industry. The plan now is to make this an annual event in Kathmandu. We will have more international stalls next time around, and facilitate international conferences as well. Every layperson in Nepal has supported us so we have felt very welcomed here. We plan on bringing some more exhibitions to the country in the near future. Solar energy, medical equipment and IT and e-commerce are some avenues we will definitely be exploring. We will definitely have more buyers and sellers at the exhibition-expo next year. We are already looking forward to making the event bigger and better in its next edition.


Other one-of-a-kind products exhibited at the event included lifts by L.T. Elevators the latest models of which have an eighthour battery back-up, certainly useful for a country like ours with faces frequent electricity outages. According to Vivek Bathwal of L.T. elevators, the company has gotten 2-3 confirmed clients. Other interesting products by the company included dumbwaiter elevators, car lifts and a car stacker. Even though Bathwal had expected only to advertise his company during the three-day exhibition, he says he received a lot of unexpected inquiries.

Another exhibitor, Pankaj Sarraf from Shree Shyam Hardware Pvt. Ltd. (Natural Veneer) said that Nepal is an emerging market that has “grown to be a premium-level market with premium consumers”. “However,” he continued, “even though people want to spend their money here, they are not able to because premium products are not easily available in the Nepali market. So these consumers have to travel outside the nation to satisfy their needs.” Sarraf plans to bring such premium-level decorative veneers to the Nepali market. The company further commented that it has been very successful in gaining exposure and recognition amongst domestic architects, designers and normal consumers here. Some firms, who were looking to establish relations with concerned businesses and business professionals, however, said they were disappointed to find the exhibition-expo attendance was dominated by casual visitors as opposed to concerned businesspeople. They also expressed discontent with the footfall, saying it was much lower than they had anticipated. Surabh Pandey from Alstone commented that one reason for this might the manner in which the event promotion was restricted to the Capital. An event, of such as scale, he said, should have been promoted throughout the country to allow concerned individuals to participate in it as effectively as possible. Political disturbances on the second day of the exhibition-expo further meant that visitors were considerably few on Saturday, disappointing stall owners who were expecting maximum footfall that day.

Visitors could be seen streaming into the Bhrikutimandap hall and examining the stalls on the first and third days of the exhibition-expo. Most were very impressed by the exhibits and the overall management of the event. Many even commented that they had never seen such a large-scale exhibition for building and construction and personally gave positive responses to some of the exhibitors. Most visitors confirmed that they would definitely come and visit again in the coming years. "The response, for the most part was positive, but critical feedback would help us better our offering further,” said Pashupati Paints as they spoke of their experience showcasing at the event. “Such events give the brand more exposure and spread awareness of the product and provide our customers much-needed product knowledge. Exhibitions of this kind are an effective medium of reaching the masses who, in the end, are the consumers".

The ultimate goal is to change the concept of international expos and fairs in Nepal. We want to drive home the point that such events are effective business-to-business transaction venues Organising the “Nepal Buildcon International 2015” and “Nepal Wood International Expo 2015” has been an invaluable learning experience for us. The response has been wonderful and we’re happy with the success of the event. A lot of work needs to be done now to make the next edition a much better event.

SRIJAL BHATTARAI Managing Director, Media Space Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Nepal

We are trying to raise the bar for exhibitions such as these in Nepal. The ultimate goal is to change the concept of international expos and fairs in Nepal. We want to drive home the point that such events are not fetes but effective business-to-business transaction venues where meetings can be set up and potential business relationships fostered. Our aim is to promote business transactions and support the utility industry here. We want to make the newest and the best technologies available here in Nepal.

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review

ASF-INTERNATIONAL FORUM AND GENERAL MEETING IN NEPAL EWB-Nepal and ASF-Nepal will be hosting the week-long international event in Kathmandu this June

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epal is set to witness this year’s Architecture Sans Frontières (ASF)International Forum and General Assembly (GA) Meeting first hand as Engineers Without Borders (EWB)-Nepal / ASF- Nepal are hosting the international event in Kathmandu from June 15-20. Members of ASF-International–an organisation for socially equitable architecture founded as a result of an increased interest in social and environmental issues in relation to the built environment, and dissatisfaction regarding the ethical standards of mainstream architecture–will be travelling from all parts of the world to attend the meeting here. Also attending will be prospective members, partner organisations and well-wishers. SPACES Magazine are co-organisers and official media partners of the event. As Nepal’s first and leading architecture magazine, SPACES has covered a range of issues thematically bound to the art, architecture and interior spheres. In recent years, the magazine has also participated in and organised several national and international expositions, often serving as official media partners of such events. The ASF-Intl programme will commence with a Challenging Practice and Training the Trainers seminar at the Institute of Engineering (IOE),

Pulchowk, which will continue till June 16. IOE are the event hosts and their Pulchowk campus serves as the official venue for the week-long event. June 17 will host an ASF dialogue while the 18th has been reserved for project visits and the first ASF Award Ceremony. The ASF Award, which will be given for the very first time this year, has been founded with the purpose of sharing the most efficient solutions developed by architects globally, addressing the many social, environmental and economic challenges facing built environments. ASF, in partnership with South of North–a collaboration between Nordic architects working in the non-profit sector in developing environments–will be giving out two prizes: Prize for the Social Production of Habitat and Prize for Challenging Practice, this year. ASF hope that the award will “promote efficient solutions among the design profession and the general public, encouraging an exchange of ideas and challenging the profession to develop the construction of social facilities and infrastructure for the benefit of the most vulnerable sectors of the world’s population”. A range of other events and seminars will take place throughout the week with the GA meeting itself being held on June 19. In addition, EWB-Nepal will be hosting a seminar day (ASF Dialogue 2015) with invited and regional speakers as well as presentations from ASF-International members. A number of site and city visits in and around Kathmandu have also been planned so that ASF members can see the present state of the city for themselves and discuss the opportunities and challenges it is facing at the moment. Projects carried out by EWB-Nepal and other similar groups will be also analysed. The event wraps up on June 20 with these city tours.

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review

DISCUSSIONS GALORE The February chapter of the Nepal Engineer’s Association weekly talk programmes featured Mahabir Pun, Kishor Thapa, Siobhan Kennedy and Bhim Upadhyaya

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he Nepal Engineer’s Association (NEA) weekly programmes this month featured topics as diverse as national development, the Civil Service Act, rural access, and the marriage that can be achieved between the engineering profession and “inner engineering” which is an international programme for personal growth. Speakers in the February chapter of the talk programmes included the Magsasay Award-winning Mahabir Pun, senior architect Kishor Thapa, and engineers Siobhan Kennedy and Bhim Upadhyaya. Pun tackled the issue of development analysing what elements are missing in Nepal’s development endeavours. The speaker, known internationally for enabling Internet-reach in rural areas of Nepal before the advent of wireless technologies, talked about education, healthcare and community-based endeavours such as farming and eco-trekking programmes.

Kennedy’s discussion of the Rural Access Programme (RAP): Development Through Access, talked about the need for rural access and the DFID-funded RAP which is currently in its third phase. The speaker talked about the steps currently being undertaken to improve access in all parts of the country, particularly the 14 districts RAP is currently focused on.

discussed, and the idea of inner engineering as a “technology for wellbeing” was shared amongst those gathered together.

A completely different sort of conversation was sparked by Upadhyaya as he discussed the harmony that those in the engineering profession and outside of it can achieve by “inner engineering” their lives. The positive effects of seeking and finding balance between mind, matter and soul were

Thapa’s presentation, on the other hand, dealt with the Civil Service Act of 1993 and the revisions that are being proposed at the present time to allow for amendments regarding First Class civil servants.

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interior

come with

alive

colour

IT IS THROUGH PLEASANT COLOUR PATTERNS THAT THE AMBIENCE OF A PLACE BECOMES REMARKABLE AND MAKES AN APPROPRIATE IMPRESSION. A WELLPLANNED AND FURNISHED SPACE MAY LEAD TO DISAPPOINTMENT DUE TO A LACK OF SUITABLE COLOUR THEMES

TEXT: usha sharma

t is often believed that colour planning comes naturally to designers, decorators or space planners. As a result, planning, drawing, drafting, rendering and other technical concerns that include comprehending designing interior spaces are kept in priority. Colour scheme planning, therefore, might come as an afterthought. But it cannot be denied that colour plays a central role in interior design. Yet, the systematic study of colour combination is often ignored. It is only an illusion that many believe that colour theory will gradually evolve while designing any space. The truth is that there must be a proper process involved in this. The colour combination process cannot be limited to trial and error, which might bring obscure results. Specific colour theories that relate to the particular needs and demands of individual interior concepts must be developed. While designing any interior space, the colours of the furniture, draperies, carpet, art works and accessories, and the placements

I

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Every colour lends its own specific set of meanings to a given space. Colours possess characteristics that can relate to our emotions. They are powerful elements that can be cognitive as well

of all these aspects must involve a certain system of colour combination. Every minor detail, pattern and design must be associated with unique colour schemes. There are many colour theories that have been developed, ranging from scientific studies to applied systems. Those theories, without any doubt, assist colour planning. However, colour schemes cannot be limited to these few drafted formulas. Colour planning can be approached on more practical basis. Practical methods can be applied to planning colour schemes by transforming schemes to implementation in actual mediums. It must be implied that while playing with colours, there are no

certified rules that bring anticipated results. The rules will only make the colour system rigid. Colour planning can be dealt with with openness to make it less problematic. Colour schemes can be inspired by our daily lives, random objects around us, or maybe the vibrant colours of nature. Developing a colour scheme A colour scheme is a fundamental element for any successful interior design work. It is through pleasant colour patterns that the ambience of a place becomes remarkable and makes an appropriate impression. A well-planned and furnished space may lead to disappointment due to a lack of suitable colour themes. Other elements

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of interior design, such as walls, floors, ceilings, furniture and accessories must all fall under a certain colour scheme. The colour selection for these complete interior elements must be made in such a manner that each element complements the other and provides a sense of completeness. There are many complications regarding colour conceptions. Although developing an ideal colour scheme is tedious, there are many colour systems that have been developed with the aim of making complex colour behaviours simpler. The Munsell Colour System is the most appreciated of colour systems. Other popular systems include the Ostwald System, the CIE System, the Oas System, the KUPPER System, the Colour Aid System, and the Paul Klee System. In spite of so many systems having been developed over the course of time, no single available system can provide an appropriate colour scheme for all desired interior design works. Since each system is different from the other, and each design has its own prerequisites, it is necessary to develop

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distinctive systems that best associate the interior design in question. Therefore, it is essential that planning colour schemes be more practical and understandable for each interior. The colour wheel Although colour themes can be extracted from many mediums, establishing a unique colour scheme is always a risk. The colour wheel is another tool that simplifies the perception of colour combinations. The colour wheel is a circular arrangement of various colours that are generated through a combination of primary, secondary and tertiary colours. The primary colours are red, yellow and green. When these colours are placed arranged in a circle, more hues can be developed by mixing these colours. Colours generated by a combination of primary colours are secondary colours. Tertiary colours, on the other hand, can be attained through combinations of primary colours and secondary colours. The colour wheel provides a total of twelve hues of colours that can further demonstrate various colour schemes.


Blue and mahogany dominate the colour scheme while white ties these different hues together to make for a clean, cohesive look.

• Monochromatic Colour Scheme: As the word monochromatic suggests, this colour system involves a scheme developed by one dominant colour. Tints, shades of one single colour can form a monochromatic colour scheme. • Complementary Colour Scheme: Complementary colours are pairs of colours that are positioned opposite to one another in the colour wheel. • Triad Colour Scheme: Triad colour schemes can be acquired by combination of three colours that are equally separated in the colour wheel. • Tetrad Colour Scheme: This type of colour scheme can be generated by using four colours that are placed equally around the colour wheel. • Analogous Colour Scheme: This scheme includes a combination of colours that is created by using similar sets of colours placed in the colour wheel. It is similar to monochromatic, but differentiated by the addition of colour from another colour family.

The colours are chosen in such a manner that they have a very similar visual appear or are in continuation around the colour wheel. Colour inspiration from nature and art A system of colours that can be influential in developing a colour scheme helps decide whether or not a good choice of colours is being made. However, sometimes, existing theories can constrain our imagination and these limitations create bewilderment. To seek the infinite possibilities of openness in innovative ideas, colours present in the natural world can provide endless inspiration. Various colour schemes can be extracted from nature. Nature provides an endless set of colours that amalgamate with perfection only to offer an unlimited source of inspiration. Colour combinations that exist naturally are the most gratifying source to a colour scheme. The natural not only provide a stimulus, but also inspire countless themes.

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Nature provides an endless set of colours that amalgamate with perfection only to offer an unlimited source of inspiration. Colour combinations that exist naturally are often the most gratifying source to a colour scheme. The natural not only provide a stimulus, but also inspire countless themes

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Pattern as well as colour repeat themselves in these modern living spaces. The softness of the spheres and circles (right) and the use of the colour grey (left) balance the contrast created by the recurrent use of red and white in these rooms.

The spectacular colours of flowers and plants, the blue tones of the sky, the greens of plants and leaves, the colour of earth and rocks, reflections in water, fruits, vegetables, birds and animals all appear in such a range of hues. Once these amazing varieties of colour are observed, no new formula is needed to maintain a balance. The natural word provides a sense of harmony in colour. The natural world is, without any doubt, an inspiring source to attain almost perfect colour schemes, textures and patterns. Nature acts as an unlimited source of inspiration for designers and artists. Similarly, colour themes that are based on artworks created by painters or by other medium of artworks, can be taken as another option for completing colour schemes. The tints and shades or tones of similar colours exhibited in artworks and paintings provide possibilities for developing new schemes of colour. It is not necessary that the required colour schemes be limited only to colour theories or actual wheel charts .However, these planned colour schemes can be decided on by placing these colours in the final interior design works. MARCH 2015 SPACES / 33


This interior plan of a semi-open living and dining space shows a play between the green of the living room couch set and flooring, and the light teak of the dining room furniture and flooring.

there are other alternative ways of making colour samples. To convert the planned samples into vivid forms, more realistic approaches like making maquettes and rendering can be applied. They provide a realistic view of the required space. Although these various methods of representation provide an overall view of the proposed space, the accuracy depends on the initial stage of finalizing the colour schemes. When deciding on colour concepts, it must be noted that every colour communicates to lend its own specific set of meanings to a given space. Colours possess characteristics that can relate to our emotions. They are powerful elements that can be cognitive as well. Some colours are known to bring tranquillity, while others are associated with intense excitements and passions. Colours not only provide visual pleasure and stimulation, but are functional too. The decision of a colour scheme comes along with its specific parameters. The choices of a scheme might lead to a space being dominated by warm colours, cool colours or neutral colours. Accordingly, the factors that influence the decision-making process and the characteristics of each colour must be observed beforehand.

The natural world provides a sense of harmony in colour and is an inspiring source from which to attain almost perfect colour schemes, textures and patterns.

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Testing colour schemes Once a colour scheme has been finalized, it can be tested by many mediums to avoid any randomness in the developed system. Any unplanned relationships between the colours to be applied can be avoided by converting them into samples. The colour theme can be related to the initial design concepts by being converted into demonstrative charts or samples. Colour data regarding all the elements that have been pre planned can also be prepared to test the colour schemes. Such sample charts or other convenient mediums must be taken into account. These samples represent the actual location and materials to be used in the assigned work. Besides preparing charts and material samples,

Right colours for right interiors It is necessary to understand that one’s choice of colour varies with the intention of each space. A commercial space has its own standard colours. A residential interior, meanwhile, is commonly dominated by warm tones. It is possible that this rule might again vary with the demands of specific clients. The location of the space in question, the placement of the materials, weather, climate and the psychology of individuals are other factors that must be taken into account. Colours, without any doubt, provide visual pleasure. However, it must also not be forgotten that they are also associated with human behaviours ranging from change of mood to health and hygiene. Choosing the right colour for the right space is a therefore a decision pending on various factors. Colour scheme planning in interior design is one crucial element whose importance must not be overlooked.


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perspective

An introduction

o Vastu

VASTU IS THE BALANCING OF ENERGIES AROUND US. THESE ENERGIES EMANATE FROM FIVE SEPARATE ELEMENTS THAT MAKE UP OUR SURROUNDINGS: EARTH (PRITHVI), WATER (JAL), FIRE (AGNI), AIR (VAAYU) AND SPACE (AAKASH). TEXT: Madhav Mangal JoshI (As told to: Ashish Dhakal-Upadhyay)

here are principally three energies around us: Heaven, Karma and Earth. Heaven being the planets (Astrology); Karma being us and everything else on this planet; and Earth being the world we live in (Vastu-shastra). These three energies are positioned in such a way that Karma lies in between Heaven (above) and Earth (below). In other words: Karma in between Fate (Bhagya) and Vastu. This is quite like our country being sandwiched between two giant power houses: India and China. And just as Nepal is affected by both the nations and their decisions, among many other things, we are also largely affected by pressures from both Heaven and Earth.

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It is very important that we receive balanced energies from the five elements through the houses we live in. In the absence of such balance, various problems arise in the home

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To represent this mathematically, Astrology, Karma and Vastu, all three constitute an equal share of 33.33% each in terms of their effects on our lives. The 33.33% of Karma is what we inherently have, while the remaining 66.66% depends on the positions of the planets and the balance of the elements around us. So, for example, if our day isn’t good according to both astrology and Vastu, we are left with only 33.33% of Karma. This isn’t a good sign. In this case, one cannot

hope for life to go on without any major hurdles. To put it differently, it’s a failed day. Again, mathematically, at least the composite score must be more than 50% for a good day. For example, one already has the 33.33% from Karma. So, if a person’s day is excellent according to Vastu, they will have that other 33.33% from Vastu, which makes a total of 66.66%. In this case, even if the day isn’t good from an astrological point of view, the day will still be fine. Although this is not an excellent prospect, it’s more that 50% so the day won’t fail. The same is true when the day is good according to only Karma and astrology. And when all three energies are at their peaks, that given day cannot get any better! Thus, only Karma cannot ensure success. One needs co-operation from all three energies for a good day, a good life. But as our fate isn’t in our hands, we cannot do much to persuade astrology to give us a good day every day. We can, however, make sure that Vastu is in balance around us.


WHAT IS VASTU? Simply put, Vastu is the balancing of energies around us. These energies emanate from five separate elements that make up our surroundings: Earth (Prithvi), Water (Jal), Fire (Agni), Air (Vaayu) and Space (Aakash). Vastu is the art of living that teaches us how to balance these five elements and their energies. These abovementioned elements in turn have five further sub-elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. For example, the planet Earth consists of seas and rivers i.e. water; there is air; there is the land or soil i.e. earth; the earth’s own temperature i.e. heat; and then there is also the sky i.e. the open space above the planet. In the same way, we humans have these five elements inside our bodies too. The physical body represents Earth; our temperature represents Fire; respiration is Air; body water is Water; and then there is Space inside our body too. And it is absolutely imperative that the elements inside our body be balanced with those outside. For example, if our body temperature is not in accordance with the temperature around

us; suppose our body temperature increases from 98 to 102 degrees; we feel ill, which is not a good thing. So we then take medicines to make us feel better. Or maybe when we dehydrate, we drink more water and jeevanjal. Similarly, it is also very important that we receive such balance in between elements and their energies from the houses we live in. In the absence of such balance, various problems arise in the home. Sometimes, when the amount of water in and around a house is not ample, it results in discomfort for the occupants. And these discomforts normally result in persistent quarrels, rapid losses and other similar troubles. So when we build our houses, we must pay attention to the fact that our buildings provide us with the five elements from the Earth and help us balance these with the ones within us. And this is where Vastu-shastra, the art of balancing the five elements and their energies, comes in.

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Impact

Earthquake preparedness RETROFITTING FIRE STATIONS AND REBUILDING THEM FIREHOUSES ARE ESSENTIAL PUBLIC FACILITIES THAT MUST REMAIN STANDING POST- EARTHQUAKES AND FIRE DISASTER EVENTS AND SHOULD BE FUNCTIONAL FOR POST-DISASTER OPERATIONS TEXT: Ananta R Baidya

Earthquakes, by nature, are unpredictable. When and where will they strike? Who and what will be affected by them? How far away will they be felt? The science of earthquake prediction in its current state cannot answer these questions with pin-point accuracy. Luckily, modern earthquake (seismic) and geotechnical engineering sciences have reached reasonable levels of development. Structures can now be designed, detailed and constructed to resist earthquake forces. When designed, constructed and inspected per scientific requirements, and under the supervision of qualified and trained professional engineers, earthquake-resistant structures have behaved as expected. The structural science of earthquake engineering and the non-structural science of safety,

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when combined, minimise the loss of human lives even when buildings need demolition after earthquakes. Should earthquake safety be a concern in Nepal? Nepal’s location and geological realities mark it as one very vulnerable to major earthquakes. The answer is obvious: “Yes”. The United States Government has contributed substantially in funds and resources towards Nepal’s disaster management; a Disaster Risk Reduction Office is established within USAID. Different rescue groups including the Nepal Army and Police have been trained, and the National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET) is doing good work regarding disaster management.


The major focus, though, has been on post-disaster management. Successful post-disaster management cannot be achieved without implementing predisaster mitigation processes. In Nepal, major challenges must be resolved so that post-disaster management can succeed effectively. The irresponsible pace of ongoing land development, and continued failure to address issues or upgrade infrastructure in Kathmandu Valley remain challenges. Such unacceptable behaviours make public safety difficult to achieve. Tangible action and effective policies based on pre-disaster mitigation measures are needed to ensure public safety.

In a small but effective way, the pre-disaster mitigation process should focus on the retrofitting or the replacement of existing structures housing fire-fighting equipment and fire-fighting personnel in Kathmandu Valley

Pre-disaster mitigation processes depend on effective and enforceable codes, adequate and proper infrastructure development. Serious implementation of the science of land development, nonstructural safety, and structural seismic building design codes and construction practices, including seismic retrofitting of existing buildings, need implementation. How, when and where does one focus to initiate pre-disaster mitigation? Understandably, under the country’s prevailing environment, the many needs require evaluation and prioritisation. In a small but effective way, the predisaster mitigation process should focus on the retrofitting or the replacement of existing structures housing fire-fighting equipment and fire-fighting personnel in Kathmandu Valley. Firehouses in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and other municipalities still serve the needs of the valley of old. Firehouses are essential public facilities that must be standing pre- and postearthquake and fire disaster events and should be functional for post-disaster operations. The structures that house fire-fighting and rescue equipments and personnel therefore require higher levels of earthquake and fire-resistance capabilities. Shouldn’t fire-houses like the Juddha Barun Yantra be seismically resistant? The

Juddha Barun Yantra building, the only fire-house in Kathmandu Municipality, was built over 75 years ago after the drastic, devastating impact of the 1934 earthquake. The building is, as is commonly known, an unreinforced brick structure, housing fire-fighting equipment and personnel. In the event of earthquakes or fire disasters, the fire station must be safe and operational; the fire-fighting equipment, though inadequate, must be functional. However, many of these types of buildings of old are filled with adobe (Kacchi Appa) and are covered by fired brick. They are unreinforced. Compared to modern buildings, these structures are heavy in mass. Their behaviour is also determined by soil conditions, height, materials of construction and quality of craftsmanship. Many such buildings have historically suffered massive damage during past earthquakes.

Known fire houses in other municipalities (such as Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and others) will probably have the same kind of stories to tell. Similar issues will be created regarding strategies that must be followed. No doubt these too should be seismically resistant. Need for assessments and evaluation All plans to address Nepal’s (including Kathmandu’s) fire safety realities by adding firehouses and fire-fighting equipment must begin with the following: •

Assessment of the existing firefighting capabilities of municipalities to determine the type of equipment and facilities needed. Assessment of the most appropriate locations of fire-houses based on the current and projected urban growth and planned scientific evaluations and projected needs.

Jagadamba Cement is the branded cement in Nepalese Market with satisfactory response from its customers, said Mr. Dipendra Shrestha, Proprietor of Rameshwor Suppliers Pvt. Ltd, who has started his business with the dealership of Jagadamba Cement one and half year ago. The goodwill of Jagadamba cement has always urged the company to never compromise on its quality, added Mr. Shrestha. Rameshwor Suppliers P. Ltd. Jadibuti, Narephat, Kathmandu, Contact# 98511-34026

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requirements of fire-fighting equipment. This may be a challenge as different types of fire-fighting equipment are contributed to Nepal.

• •

Evaluation to determine if means and methods can be used to retrofit or upgrade the building. Assessment of design and construction professionals.

Fire houses are special structures that need to be designed by architects and engineers who have special expertise and experience in the field. Because, the design of fire houses is different from that most buildings, designs should be peerreviewed and evaluated by other competent professionals and fire personnel. Building new firehouses might be an answer The most logical solution would be to replace these seismically vulnerable unreinforced buildings with modern seismicresistant buildings and facilities. They should be properly designed, constructed and certified per acceptable structural seismic and non-structural firelife safety standards. Construction of new, state-of-the-art facilities to house new firefighting equipment and personnel should be given priority. These facilities should be designed based on specifications and

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Relocate firehouses to other locations for better safety Creating new fire stations in existing buildings in new locations seem to be in the works in Kathmandu Municipality. Firehouse locations must be guided by many factors such as response time, equipment types, community needs, infrastructure availability, and many other factors (the criteria for choosing a fire house site is a matter for another discussion). However, if these new fire-houses are to be housed in existing facilities, such as the old trolley bus station at Baneshwor, the seismic venerability assessment of existing buildings is imperative and must be made a priority before fire-fighting equipment and personnel are located in existing buildings in new sites. The option to demolish existing fire stations and rebuild new structures on original sites will be an appropriate one only if research/ study determines that the site is the best one for a firehouse to serve the needs of the community. Retrofit existing firehouses if all else fails The retrofitting of existing unreinforced masonry buildings to resist seismic resistance is possible, but not recommended. Such a decision should only be made after fully evaluating the structural, non-structural fire life safety of the existing building. Firehouses are essential facilities. This may not be the preferred way to go unless other factors govern. The fire-fighting facility at Tribhuvan International Airport is primarily responsible for meeting the emergency needs of an airport. Other equipment and facilities at the disposal of the Nepal Army are not within public view. Commenting on them would be inappropriate at this time. The seismic resistance and fire resistance capabilities of any such assets however must be evaluated to meet current needs and situations.


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AS ARCHITECTS, IT IS ALMOST NATURAL FOR US TO MEASURE SUCCESS IN TERMS OF BUILDINGS. BUT AT SOME POINT, WE SHOULD TAKE THE TIME TO ADMIRE THE INVISIBLE THINGS WHICH NONETHELESS REQUIRED CAREFUL DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

Improving the built environment with everything but

buildings TEXT: Rory Scott 42 / SPACES MARCH 2015

In a development that shocked many in the architecture world, on the 19th of January, Architecture for Humanity — arguably the world’s leading architectural charity — was reported to have gone bankrupt, closing their San Francisco headquarters. By itself, this news was attentiongrabbing enough, but in the aftermath two interesting things happened: firstly, many started to wonder what would become of the organization’s many local chapters in the US and beyond; secondly, some writers began to uncover small but long-standing disagreements about how the central organization had courted publicity — managing director of Architecture for Humanity’s New York chapter Rachel Starobinsky, for example, was quoted by FastCo Design saying that “visibility always went to the disaster relief projects that headquarters was working on” and that “the chapters were not really highlighted or valued as much as they could have been.” All of a sudden many people — this writer included — were talking about the importance of both creating strong networks and of sharing information to the creation of a strong humanitarian design outfit. None of these ideas, though, would have been new to the members of Architecture Sans Frontières. Though it was founded a full two decades earlier than Architecture for Humanity, beginning in France in 1979, ASF has never really shared the public profile of some of its contemporaries. There are reasons for this — a lack of desire to actively court attention chief among them — but none of them have anything to do with ASF’s ability to do good in the world. “I would say that it’s not about us going and building things,” Rubbina Karruna, the current Chair of Architecture Sans Frontières UK, explains to me. Instead the focus of ASF-UK has been on creating networks, both between themselves and the other branches that make up ASF-International, but also with the local governmental departments, NGOs and smaller humanitarian charities that can benefit from their help and expertise.


LEFT: Change by Design 2013 in Quito, Ecuador. RIGHT: Change by Design 2010 in Salvador, Brazil.

“I know it’s a term that’s used a lot, and especially in international development it can become quite meaningless — but I think capacity development is critical.” Karruna would know about the former point: trained in Economic and Development Planning, she introduces herself as “kind of the non-architect in ASFUK” adding that in her opinion “what is so great is that it’s not just for architects — it’s a broad multidisciplinary group of people.” Dr Beatrice De Carli, another member of ASF-UK who serves on the board of ASFInternational, backs her up on this point: “for us, even being called ‘Architecture Sans Frontières’ and not ‘Architects Sans Frontières’ is important because we have always discussed how the built environment in general, it’s not about one profession. Of

course as architects and designers we have one strong take on the built environment and a certain type of expertise, but that’s not the only type of agency that modifies how cities are made and how people live in space. To make cities more equitable somehow we need to be able to engage with all these different knowledges.” One of the major initiatives undertaken by ASF has been to not just engage with this varied knowledge base, but to bring it to architects in a digestible way. Challenging Practice, an educational course devised through a collaboration of ASF members from Spain, France, Italy, Sweden and the UK, aims to introduce interested architects and built environment professionals to the fundamentals of working within disadvantaged communities.

“Challenging Practice actually started as our own internal reflection from different organizations within the ASF network,” explains De Carli, who helped to develop the course as part of ASF-Italia before moving to the UK to teach at the University of Sheffield. “We had all somehow trained our own way into the organization — often, ASF volunteers do not have a formal education in community and international development issues prior to approaching the organisation. It started as a discussion among the different chapters about the fact that we wanted to be able to train ourselves and also to train the many volunteers and students, who come to our organization wanting to contribute somehow.” The route through Challenging Practice develops from the first stage, a free online course which educates participants on topics such as different forms of discrimination and how they might manifest themselves in the built environment, different theoretical frameworks, and the way they might help to understand deprivation, poverty or inequality. From this point, learners can participate in a live seminar which “builds a bridge between theory and practice and MARCH 2015 SPACES / 43


“As architects and designers we have one strong take on the built environment and a certain type of expertise, but that’s not the only type of agency that modifies how cities are made and how people live in space. To make cities more equitable somehow we need to be able to engage with all these different knowledges.” —Beatrice De Carli, board member, ASF-Intl

creates a protected environment for participants to start testing what some of these ideas might mean in a real context.” In the third stage, participants are able to put what they have learned into action, either through one of ASF’s field workshops, or by working an internship with ASF or one of its many partner organizations. “The idea is that the course doesn’t touch on any of the core issues that normally form part of architecture or design education, as we start from the assumption that this is the background of many of the people who approach us,” De Carli says. Fundamental to the 44 / SPACES MARCH 2015

idea of Challenging Practice, she adds, is “looking at the gaps in architectural education and recognizing that good intentions don’t always result in good practice” — at least, not without adequate knowledge. But the idea that Challenging Practice is somehow outside the realms of architectural education is beginning to change. Last year in the UK, the course was acknowledged by the RIBA and is now accredited as a recognized form of continuing professional development (CPD) study — and with a total of around 1,300 participants from 70 countries since the course was launched, it’s popular too.

Challenging Practice also feeds into ASF-UK’s other major programs. Change by Design and Resilience by Design focus on addressing sociospatial and environmental inequalities respectively, and both primarily involve connecting with local communities all over the world — in developed countries as well as developing ones - to help residents, local governments and NGOs address the underlying issues that are causing problems in the built environment. These programs are enacted through a variety of methods, from advocacy to live projects, but the main component of both is regular field workshops — the very same workshops that Challenging Practice participants attend in the third stage of learning. While ASF-UK, as well as the other member organizations worldwide, do occasionally engage in building projects themselves, this is not the focus of the organization. “ASFUK has always been about building knowledge and exchanging knowledge with local organizations and it has its own trajectory,” explains De Carli, but increasingly other member organizations are following this example. “This is an ongoing conversation and an important shift in paradigms for ASF-International as a whole, to start thinking that it’s not about going to places and building things, but — in our home countries as well as elsewhere — it’s about sharing the knowledge that we can generate by working with local communities in different places.” If the power of ASF’s approach is in sharing knowledge, networks are the means by which they implement that power, and ASF itself is perhaps the most impressive of all these networks. Because while Architecture for Humanity left behind a network


TOP : Change by Design 2010 in Salvador, Brazil. BOTTOM: Change by Design 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya.

use, in the sense that ASF-International was created after many of the local organizations; there were all of these local ASFs that knew of each other and at some point they decided to come together to start exchanging ideas and practices, and to collaborate.” ASF is now also focusing on helping new branches to start up in various regions of the world: the organization has almost 30 member organizations including outfits in India, Nepal, one in Colombia and more soon to come in Latin America, and organizations in Congo and Mali. Also this year ASF’s General Assembly, where all the organizations come together to hold seminars and share their approaches with the other members, will be held in Nepal — the first time the GA will be held outside of Europe. “I think this is very much in tune with the way we are trying to reach a global impact,” Concludes De Carli. “To support networks of architects and built environment practitioners who are interested in making a strong contribution locally, and then we are trying to grow from that local scale.”

formed under the umbrella of a leading organization, ASF is an organization born from the network itself. “There is no such thing as the headquarters of ASF-International.” Says De Carli. “But there is a board which is always formed by representatives of different chapters, and has the role of creating links between them. In a way ‘chapter’ is not the right word to

As architects, it is almost natural for us to measure success in terms of buildings. But at some point, we should take the time to admire the invisible things which nonetheless required careful design and construction. Architecture Sans Frontières — the organization, its programs and its approach — are a prime example of this. This article, originally titled “How Architecture Sans Frontières Improves the Built Environment With Everything But Buildings”, was published in ArchDaily on March 26, 2015 All images are courtesy of ASF-UK

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architecture

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Wending our way back WHAT THERE IS TO SEE AT THE TARAGAON MUSEUM IS AS MUCH ABOUT THE MUSEUM COMPLEX AS IT IS ABOUT THE MUSEUM COLLECTION, A DOCUMENTATION OF NEPAL’S CULTURAL, ANTHROPOLOGICAL, ARCHITECTURAL AND ARTISTIC HISTORY AS MADE BY FOREIGN SCHOLARS AND RESEARCHERS. THE DISTINCT, BARREL-VAULTED ROOMS MUSEUMGOERS NEED TO NAVIGATE AS THEY WALK THROUGH THE PERMANENT EXHIBITS WERE ORIGINALLY BUILT BY CARL PRUSCHA TO HOUSE TEMPORARY VISITORS WHO CAME TO NEPAL SEEKING ENCOUNTERS WITH THE ITS LANDSCAPE, ITS CULTURE AND ITS PEOPLE TEXT: Rachana Chettri

photo: A. rajbansh

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Documentation is central to Taragaon Museum’s goal and existence. The photographs, drawings, sketches and other pieces of crucial visual information that are in its collection record Nepal’s recent history and showcase it to a people who are fast-forgetting the city Kathmandu used to be

n the 1950s, when the decision to open Nepal to the larger world was made and implemented, it was not just a Hindu kingdom on the Himalayan foothills that was introduced to the 20th century but also the century–rapidly changing with technology as it was and drastically affected by the two world wars–that was introduced to this country. As foreign visitors who came here in the 50s and increasingly in the 60s and the 70s, took in the sights and sounds of the country– specifically the capital Kathmandu, and breathed in heavy bits of it, Nepal too took its few first steps into the modern era.

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To the foreigners who came here–some seeking research and documentation, others exploits and experiences; all of them adventure and understanding in one form of another–the country must have seemed a romantic idyll of the oriental sort. Nepal’s forests were pristine then, its villages as if trapped in time warps. Up until 1957, when the Tribhuvan Highway was built, there weren’t even motorable roads that lead to Kathmandu, just paths on which it was not cars that ferried men but men in their hundreds who carried cars on their backs to the Capital.


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To those entering it for the first time, Kathmandu Valley must have seemed a city left untouched since the middle ages. Indeed, the architecture of the Valley was still largely dominated by elements from the Malla Era at the time. The white plaster, classical columns and Venetian windows that the Ranas brought into Kathmandu were largely limited to their own homes and palaces. Brick-walled and often more than two storied–their tiled roofs double-pitched saddles, and their structures supported by brick and timbre–the typical homes and residences of Kathmandu still retained the typical Malla-era Newar house characteristics. These houses were joined together and built around a central courtyard, and community–the very fabric of Newar culture–was manifested in the architecture. Kathmandu was a walking city full of old routes back then, and its water was still largely supplied by stone spouts. To those who laid eyes on it for the first time, the Capital must have been an exotic land, a place unlike any other in the world. It was these eyes, foreign eyes that recognised the wonder of what must have been a beautiful and exceptionally

unique city, which presented the first documentations of Kathmandu and its periphery. The foreigners who came here at the time studied the Valley’s culture and recorded it for posterity. And this documentation is what we get to see at the Taragaon Museum, Bouddha (the Hyatt Regency compound), an exhibition space that houses permanent collections– photographs, sketches and architectural drawings, mostly–inside premises built by Carl Pruscha, the Austrian architect extensively involved in Kathmandu’s urban planning in the 1970s, and revered not just for the brilliance of his regional designs but also the instrumental role he played in getting Nepal’s cultural heritage on the world map. What there is to see at the Taragaon Museum is as much about the museum complex as it is about the museum collection. The exhibition space is scattered across the roughly 16 rooms that were originally built by Pruscha as temporary residences for foreigners visiting Kathmandu and boarding at the Taragaon Hostel. The hostel itself was planned as part of the larger Tara Gaon Village, a tourist complex envisioned by Angur Baba Joshi, a woman born in Kathmandu’s Dillibazaar

The drumroofed structures that repeat throughout the complex are based on barrel-vaulted structures that sheltered pilgrims–“a kind of Pati” as Pruscha calls them–which the architect came across at temple complexes in Kathmandu while conducting research here in the 1970s

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Individual drumroofed structures, the actual exhibition rooms at the Taragaon Museum, lead to common courtyards where art performances, book launches and social gatherings take sometimes place.

in 1932 and educated at Oxford in the 1960s, a time at which few women in the country even got a chance at receiving an education. It was Joshi’s wish to “propagate Nepali culture” and “promote Nepaliness in the tourism industry”, that planted the seed, as it were, of Taragaon in the late 60s, and the museum that we see today is a reflection of that wish in many ways. The architecture of the complex will seem immediately familiar to anyone who has walked into the superlatively designed and appallingly maintained CEDA building at Tribhuvan University. Here, Pruscha’s modern Chinese kiln-fired red bricks–a material he chose to work with for the aesthetic and structural affinities it shares with Kathmandu’s traditional Dachi brick structures–bring the sort of Nepaliness Joshi was aiming for in her Tara Gaon complex to a very modern design. A letter dated May 13, 2010– portions of which have been transcribed and blown up for display at the Taragaon Museum–provides insight into the actual designing of the complex. In passages readable at the museum, Pruscha talks

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serving as shelter for pilgrims. If form does follow function, then the basic form of the Taragaon Museum, what Pruscha calls the “prototype” for his design, can be seen as following the same sheltering purpose that these Patis provided religious devotees. The pilgrims' at the Taragaon Hostel came here seeking encounters with the Nepali landscape, its culture and its people, and for Pruscha it was extremely important that he give these temporary residents the kind of space that would serve their needs–for contemplation as much as interaction, perhaps, and privacy as much as society.

Images from as far back as the 19th century are currently in the museum collection, the two oldest being an 1853 etching and a 1863 photograph of Kathmandu.

about how the centre and focus of his design for the Taragaon Hostel, the drumroofed structures that repeat throughout the complex and give it a structural harmony that has an almost classical underpinning to it, were based on barrelvaulted structures–“a kind of Pati” as he calls them–he came across at temple complexes in Kathmandu in the 70s,

Hence the individual drum-roofed structures, the actual exhibition rooms at the Taragaon Museum, today lead to a community building–the Museum cafe, as well as common courtyards where art performances, book launches and social gatherings sometimes take place. The function of the complex has been revised with the deliberate purpose of documenting an era and a way of life that is gradually slipping from living memory. The Saraf Foundation–which endeavours to support the preservation, restoration and documentation of the arts and heritage of Kathmandu–turned a beautiful and culturally-historically significant complex that had fallen into disuse and subsequent disrepair into a documentation centre. The Museum today houses and displays to the public a significant body of work that the artists, photographers, architects, anthropologists and Sanskritists who travelled to Nepal in the second half of the 20th century have left behind. “Those foreign scholars and professionals who worked and lived in Nepal these past couple of decades are leaving, and their work is often leaving with them,” explains Roshan Mishra, museum manager at Taragaon as he talks about the documentation that is central to Taragaon Museum’s goal and existence. These photographs, drawings, sketches and other pieces of crucial visual information record our recent history, and it is this history that the museum showcases brilliantly as well. “The pictures we have in our collection might have ended up in garages in different parts of the world,” Mishra continues. The MARCH 2015 SPACES / 53


Taragaon Museum saves these works, the museum director points out, and enables visual documentation in a manner never before been attempted in Nepal. Images from as far back as the 19th century are currently in the museum collection, the two oldest being an 1853 etching and a 1863 photograph of Kathmandu. The architect, photographer and author Niels Gutschow (who is also involved in a curatorial role with the Museum), photographer Kevin Bubriski (who has been documenting the Nepali landscape and its people in haunting black-and-white images that stick to you since the 1970s), photographer and theoretical physicist Jaroslav Poncar, photo activist Thomas L Keely, architectural photographer Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, and photographer, journalist and author Tiziano Terzani are amongst the expatriate documentarians whose work the Taragaon Museum has in its permanent collection. 54 / SPACES MARCH 2015


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architecture

Healing through

archiecture

HUMANS HAVE BEEN BUILDING SUSTAINABLE STRUCTURES SINCE AS FAR BACK AS 8,000 YEARS AGO AND THERE IS A LOT TO LEARN FROM OUR PAST STRATEGIES, AS THERE IS TO DISCOVER IN OUR NEW AND DEVELOPING TECHNOLOGIES

TEXT: Tabassum Siddiqui 56 / SPACES MARCH 2015


The principles of Vastu follow a science with deals with culture, technology, behavioural pattern and human psyche. Excellence in architecture can be achieved through these tenets, fostering health and healing with harmonious, well-balanced environments that reduce stress, capture the imagination and liberate vitality and creativity

he 21st century is characterised by the exploration and adoption of alternative technologies needed in tackling and overcoming various environmental issues–global warming, and the looming energy crisis prime among them–that have emerged because of the imbalances created by man between nature, material and man himself.

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The blind adoption of modern technology has proved to be a sin whose consequences humanity faces each day. To fulfil our demands–for more products and more energy, we have set up more industries, and production chains that

take from nature and give pollution and degradation back to her. For a long time, little thought was given to the fumes, gases and wastes produced by factories and industries as they produced consumer products to make human lives more comfortable. Humans have become comfort addicts with comfort becoming a necessity, our very mode of living. We never pause to think about the sources of energy that are being depleted for our ease and pleasure. To make ourselves more comfortable, we live in artificial environments which contribute to the pollution and degradation of the environment–our land, water bodies and atmosphere. The imbalances between man, material and nature are palpable in our time and it is in such a scenario that various novel techniques to overcome this imbalance are being planned and implemented in architecture as well. In the architectural field, more and more professionals are looking to find suitable techniques to conserve sources of energy. While in the ancient days, people used to build structures based on culture, climate and observation, today, almost all building designs are paralysed by artificial technology which takes a toll on the environment. Recent attempts at finding techniques to construct energy-efficient buildings involve doing so through modern MARCH 2015 SPACES / 57


architectural planning, landscaping or material selection of building construction. Almost everyone is looking to come up with a new solution. No one seems to think about utilising the ancient techniques from which new technologies have originated. Architecture is connected to engineering and science, as well as to human art, in the forms of poetry, geometry, art science. It’s a connection between the mind and the soul, not an abstraction which acts as healing. Healing is about integrity. Spaces should be designed in such a way that they imbue a sense of belonging and emanate peaceful tranquillity into the atmosphere. It is then than our bodies can feel relaxed and start to rejuvenate and give us the sort of energy we need to work well.

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Adopting ancient technologies can create a balance between nature and material. This doesn’t mean that we have to blindly adopt ancient techniques of construction, but we can definitely follow planning guidelines in order to construct built forms. As the DAC & CITIES website–a collection of the Danish Architecture Centre’s offers related to the development of future cities and landscapes–points out in an article, humans have been building sustainable structures since as far back as 8,000 years ago. So there is a lot to learn much from our past strategies, as there is to discover in our new and developing technologies. Vastu Shastra, Islamic Architecture and Feng Shui are ancient design principles. Vastu Shastra brings prosperity and happiness to the lives of people living in homes or working in offices which have been planned, designed and built according to its tenets. The adoption of old techniques and philosophies in contemporary architectural design can bring a dynamic revolution in the field of design. Vastu Shastra design principles help trap positive energies inside buildings and discard negative energies present within built environments. Its implementation helps create a healing space that contributes to the health, wisdom and wealth of the people who live and work in these spaces. Vastu deals with positive and negatives energies within built environments. Vastu Shastra is a science that plays an important role in helping overcome problems in built environments through site selection, architectural planning, landscaping, building orientation, selection of construction material, building height, room placement as well as room interiors including wall finishes, furniture placement, colour scheme and floor material, among other things. Different ideologies are being implemented these days to make room for healing spaces. Architectural design can act as a healing tool which can be achieved through proper planning from the macro- to micro-levels. Spaces within buildings must

Recent attempts at finding techniques to construct more energy-efficient buildings involve doing so through modern architectural planning, landscaping or material selection of building construction. Almost everyone is looking to come up with a new solution. No one seems to be thinking about utilising the ancient techniques from which new technologies have originated

provide privacy and dignity so as to create stress-free environments. Alex Stark, a contemporary geomancer and feng shui practitioner based in York, details the characteristics of spaces that affect the healing process in his booklet, “Buildings that Heal”. Some of the building and living space elements he comments on include: • • • • •

Therapeutic outdoor courtyards Room sizes which affect socialisation Window openings that affect outcomes Healing gardens and spiritual spaces Optimum height of buildings that create a healing balance between privacy and observation, relaxation and work, cool materials and warm tones. MARCH 2015 SPACES / 59


• •

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Good interior spaces to help reduce stress levels. These can be achieved through proper layout and smooth flow of vital energy. Positive energy needs to be captured and brought into buildings in order to nourish functions. Energy is captured primarily via openings–doors, windows etc. Inter-connective spaces such as corridors should be free. Energy moves along corridors and elevators. It is important to avoid congestion, turns and twists in corridors and hallways.

Lobbies and foyers need to be cheerful and welcoming and should be generously proportioned. Calming artwork and greenery must be installed. Lobbies should always include symbolic or metaphorical recognitions of the healing process: waterfalls, foundations, sculptures, fireplaces or gardens. In situations where this is not possible, corridors must be widened and opened up by placing art or mirrors along the sides to make them feel more expansive. Staggered art or plants can also help. Corridors should be lighted as brightly as possible. Main lobbies, elevator foyers and stair landings need to be generously proportioned, and should be open and cheerful. Wide, curved, graceful stairways opening onto wide landings are best. Spiral stairs and stairs that point directly towards the entrance door should be avoided. Layouts with sharp corners, angled walls or entries, and irregular geometries should be avoided. Provision of generous solar access should be provided. The structure should be potentially expressive or symbolic emblematic of public ideals, vision, shared beliefs. Scale of building should be broken down to a series of pavilions on a residential scale. Idea of living architecture should be incorporated.

Incorporating Vastu Shastra in building design can act as a catalyst for the healing process. The mind and the body respond to their direct environment perceiving and reacting to both their physical and emotional surroundings. Many studies have shown that features of built environments such as abundant natural light, exposure to fresh air and contact with the natural outdoors have substantial positive effects on healing. Building features that help to heal are also fairly sustainable and can have energysaving benefits. They also have a lower impact on surrounding ecosystems.


Vastu is regaining popularity in India and gaining many followers abroad as well. Its significant scientific reasoning cannot be denied. The principles of Vastu follow a science with deals with culture, technology, behavioural pattern and human psyche. Excellence in architecture can be achieved through these tents, fostering health and healing with harmonious, well-balanced environments that reduce stress, capture the imagination and liberate vitality and creativity, all of which enhance healing. Vastu Shastra is one very effective tool that offers a conceptual and methodological approach to design. MARCH 2015 SPACES / 61


awareness

An urgent need to go

lead-free

SEVENTY PERCENT OF PAINTS THAT ARE COMMONLY USED IN NEPAL HAVE A LEAD CONTENT OF WELL ABOVE 90 PARTS PER MILLION (PPM), THE INTERNATIONALLY ACCEPTED STANDARD FOR LEAD IN PAINTS.

TEXT: Ram Charitra Sah

re we living in healthy homes? Are our children learning and playing in safe schools? These are questions we must ask ourselves with regards to the paint we use to brighten up our homes, schools and work places, and protect them from the elements.

Seventy percent of paints that are commonly used in Nepal have a lead content of well above 90 parts per million (ppm), the internationally accepted standard for lead in paints. The finding, which is based on three consecutive

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studies of lead in paints carried out for the first time in Nepal by the researchbased NGO Centre for Public Health and Envrionmental Development (CEPHED) over a three year duration (from 2010 to 2013) has also shown that such high lead contents are particularly found in enamel paints. Another alarming report, based on the latest available study of lead in enamel paints under the EU-funded Switch Asia Programme, found that the maximum level of lead found in paint in Nepal was 130,000 ppm, 1444 times more than the US, China and India standards for lead in paints. This


was in 2013, and an absence of required legislative and institutional frameworks to regulate lead in paints is largely to blame for such startling figures.

Deadly toxic heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, chromium and bromide, among others, have been detected in children’s toys imported, sold and used here

A study of lead in household and schools dusts, further conducted under the Switch Asia project on lead paint elimination shows very serious levels of lead in household and school dust. Dust samples collected from class rooms in the Kathmandu Valley found five out of five (i.e. 100 percent) of these rooms to be contaminated with lead. Some 77 percent of the dust samples collected from class room floors were found to contain hazardous lead levels of more than 10 μg/ft2. Further, 23 percent of the tested samples contained extremely dangerous level of lead–more than 40 μg/ft2. The maximum lead level in a school was a startling 108 μg/ft2. Of the 16 private residential homes sampled, one or more samples from little less than half (seven out of 16 or 43.75 percent) of the locations contained levels of lead between 8-40μg/ ft2 (counted as a threat to living, especially regarding children’s health). Another study (Dr. Mehta, K.D. et. al., BPKIHS Dharan, 2014) evaluated blood lead levels among 304 primary school going children in Kathmandu Metropolitan City revealing that 73 percent of the children had detectable blood lead levels, 66 percent had lead blood levels higher than 5μg/dl (the Center for Disease Control and Prevention– CDC, recommended value) and 55 percent had levels higher that 10 μg/dl (the WHO recommended value). Blood lead levels were significantly higher in children living in homes with chipped wall paint. TheCDC and other bodies have now declared that there is no “safe” blood lead level. Additionally, other deadly toxics heavy metals like mercury, cadmium, chromium and bromide, among others, have been detected in children’s toys imported, sold and used in Nepal. Our children’s brains get only one chance at developing Some chemicals–lead, mercury and

organophosphate pesticides, among others–have long been recognised as toxic substances that can have lasting effects on children’s neurological health, says Bruce Lanphear, health sciences professor at Simon Fraser University, Canada. In his book “Little Things Matter”, Lanphear makes this case through the following points: • In the 1960s, hundreds of children died from severe lead poisoning every summer. Since then, much lower levels of exposure have been shown to result in learning deficits and brain disorders, like ADHD. • As the level of lead in children's blood increases from 0 to 100 ppb, IQ scores drop by about 6 points. • In contrast, an increase from 100 to 200 ppb results in an IQ drop of 2 more points. • An increase from 200 to 300 ppb results in an IQ drop of another point. • The impact of toxins on the developing brain is permanent. • Children who are more heavily exposed to toxins won’t reach the same peak cognitive ability as those who have lower exposures. • These studies show that there is no safe level of exposure. • Most of us have IQ scores that fall between 85 and 115 points. • Only 2.5% of children have an IQ above 130, which is considered gifted. • There are about 6 million children in this group. • On the other end of the distribution, another 2.5% of children have an IQ below 70, which is considered “challenged.” • The impact of exposure to a toxin like LEAD causes a 5-point drop in IQ. • This shift results in a 57% increase in the number of children that are challenged, from 6 million to 9.4 million. • There is a corresponding decrease in the number of children that are gifted, from 6 million to 2.4 million. While leaded paint is to be banned in the Nepal, to be effective from June 20, 2015, it is expected that lead will still be present in many paints imported and produced in MARCH 2015 SPACES / 63


LEAD LEVEL IN SCHOOL CLASSROOM'S DUST 7

Nepal, and hence in homes and schools and other living and working spaces as a result. Children can also be exposed to lead from paints, colours and metals used in toys. Prevention is better than cure When it comes to reducing existing exposures, some chemicals can be avoided through consumer choice. But this is often difficult, given that many of these substances are used–like lead on receipts–in products that don’t carry ingredient labels as paint cans do. Government response After years of campaigned based on scientific studies carried out in Nepal and the alarming findings these have resulted in, a new mandatory standard of 90 ppm lead in paints has been promulgated by the Government of Nepal. This is the standard that will take effect from June 20, 2015. The new standard sets a mandatory limit of 90 ppm lead content for any paint imported, produced, sold or used in Nepal. The standard is consistent with other lead paint standards around the world. The standard also requires correct labelling of lead content on paint cans as well as precautionary information to prevent occupational exposure. These efforts are meant to ensure overall public health, especially that of children, and environment protection. Corporate social responsibility The people of Nepal, including 9.5 million children, are vulnerable as many daily consumable products being produced, imported, marketed and distributed here contain lead. All multinational paint companies have been found complying with the mandatory international standard. Thus it is high time for national paint companies to show their commitment to protecting human health, including that of children, and the environment by complying with the standard as soon as possible. It has been learned that national paint companies are also moving towards this direction and making possible efforts. 64 / SPACES MARCH 2015

Sample number

6 5 4 3 2 1 0

School 1

School 2

40 μg/ft2 and higher

School 3 Sample Type 10-39 μg/ft2

School 4

School 5

Below 10 μg/ft2

While leaded paint is to be banned in the country, to be effective from June 20, 2015, it is expected that lead will still be present in many paints imported and produced in Nepal. It is up to us all to ask for and only use paints with the “No added lead” logo to create healthy homes, schools and work spaces

The way forward Aware consumers and responsive concerned stakeholder as follows must work together to combat lead exposure. The government and government agencies must ensure effective implementation of the Lead Paint Standard of 90 ppm with regular market and industry monitoring. A Green Public Procurement Policy (GPPP) must be adopted whereby only nonleaded paints are purchased for all government and corporate sector building and infrastructures.

supporting paints that contain lead at levels dangerous to children. The paint industry, the Nepal Paint Manufacturers Associations and the Chamber of Commerce must discontinue the use of lead as driers or pigments and shift to non-lead substitutes.

Consumers, likewise should ask for and only use paints with the “No added lead” logo to create healthy homes, schools and work spaces. Parents also need to regularly have their children’s blood tested for lead exposure.

Some easy steps we can all take to avoid lead exposure through paint is immediately stop face painting at functions and celebrations including Holi, ask for and look at material safety data sheets and labels indicating lead content when purchasing paints and toys, make a mandatory circular or notification to all schools, colleges, construction companies–both in public and private sectors–to only use nonleaded paints.

Advertising agencies, media houses and celebrities have the responsibility of understanding the ingredients used in the products they are advertising and avoid

Furthermore, educational and professionals organisations must adopt the GPPP as well and include toxic chemicals issues in their school, college curriculums and professional trainings programs.


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art

The bull and the chessboard

KALAPREMI’S CLAY BULLS ARE FULL OF CONTRASTING MARKS AROUND THEIR BODIES. AS IF TRYING TO DEPICT A STORY, THE ARTIST DESIGNS DIFFERENT PATTERNS ON THE COLD SKINS OF HIS CERAMIC BULLS, PARTICULARLY THE PATTERN OF THE CHESSBOARD. IN THE END, EVERYTHING IS JUST A GAME: BLACK BULLS, WHITE BULLS, BLACK SQUARES, WHITE SQUARES. ONE EXISTS, BECAUSE THE OTHER EXISTS TEXT: Andrea de la Rubia G photo: A. rajbansh

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mez-Mor

n


he bull is an incarnation of mystery, majesty and calmness. In one way or another, bulls are part of the cultural life of human societies around the globe. With such a vast scope, how do we explain the bull? In “Masculism”–an exhibition held at the Shiddhartha Art Gallery from February 22-March 24–the artist Gopal Das Shreshtra Kalapremi gives us a clue by representing the bull as a symbol of the male and the masculine. The male, in the purview of masculism, is dominated by matriarchy, as the bull is dominated by cultural beliefs.

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Kalapremi–a term which translates to ‘lover of art’–was born in 1965 to the traditionally high-ranking Newar ‘Shrestha’ clan. Although art is traditionally considered a characteristic profession of the lower ranks within the Newar community, Kalapremi says he has felt the need to

create since a very young age. To follow his call, the artist had to face a society deeply rooted in traditional beliefs, but he did succeed with a lot of persistence and hard work. He emerged as an artist with his own portentous and original version of Nepali modern art, and these days, he is a revered figure in creative spheres of the country. Culture constructs and deconstructs us and all that which surround us in every stage of life. I recall the bullfighting prevalent in my own Spanish culture. Our bulls live luxurious and harmonious lives in the countryside in exchange for long deaths. Once they have grown big enough, we partake in a theatrical spectacle in which the animal, the scenario and the Spanish society play their respective roles. The bullring is a piece of art in itself. The colours gold and red decorate the space, full of bright lights. Within the form of a circle, like a Mandala, the bull is placed in

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While the typical Spanish bulls are black and threatening, Kalapremi’s symbol, the Taurus, is represented here by a much calmer and pacific white bull. But what is brightness and what is darkness? We come into a clash of cultures through the comprehensions of the bull as various colours. The white colour of the bull is dark in meaning in Asia because white is a symbol of mourning, a symbol of death

the middle, like a God. It is worshiped from the beginning to the end, while it is being dominated by a luxurious bullfighter, dressed in gold and holding a cloak, as red as blood. Bullfighter and bull fight with each other during the Spanish spectacle, being opponents and at the same time being equals, one could not exist without the other. Gopal Das Shrestha Kalapremi is a Taurus. And while the typical Spanish bulls are black and threatening, Kalapremi’s symbol, the Taurus, is represented here by a much calmer and pacific white bull. But what is brightness and what is darkness? Again, we come into a clash of cultures through the comprehensions of the bull as various colours. The white colour of the bull is dark in meaning in Asia because white is a symbol of mourning, a symbol of death. Gopal strolls amongst his bulls while wearing all white, mourning clothes he has adorned to grieve the recent loss of his father. Kalapremi studied to get a BA in Fine Arts from the Lalitkala Art Campus but he never got his official qualification because he was always failing his exams. That is the reason he asserts that he is a self-taught artist these days. Indeed, the story of how Kalapremi learnt to use clay as the main medium for his modern sculptures reveals his connection with traditional Nepali culture in his art. Gopal was still a student when the Ceramic Promotion Project, a German development enterprise that was trying to help the ceramics of Thimi and Bakthapur evolve with the times, invited him to teach modern sculpture in the area. This teaching process turned out to be a mutual one as up until that experience Kalapremi was not fully unaware of the traditional techniques and uses of clay. Kalapremi’s clay bulls are full of contrasting marks around their bodies. As if trying to depict a story, the artist designs different patterns on the cold skins of his ceramic bulls, particularly

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the pattern of the chessboard. In the end, everything is just a game: Black bulls, white bulls, black squares, white squares. One exists, because the other exists. The east and the west, the male and the female are dichotomies in which one reconstructs the other; one cannot be without the other. This duality, characterised in “Masculinity’s” ‘Bull’ series, is also appreciated in his work, ‘Blue Diamonds’, where he represents beautiful androgynous figures that remind us of Shiva-Shakti. Also, in the series, ‘Darker Days of my Country’, we appreciate the repeating pattern of the chessboard.

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Also, even though he was born Hindu, Kalapremi does not focus on religion in any special way as he believes in scientific spirituality. He is passionate about the power of women in society and the Tantric tradition of Nepal. Nature is his muse and thus his sculptural figures are made following organic lines and sensual shapes. This can be appreciated in his ‘Key’ series which is also an expression of masculinity presented through comparisons made between the key and the male reproductive organ (similarities with the Lingam). In his retrospective “Masculism” a lingam-installation comes out of the floor in the middle of the space, surrounded by his Keys as part of the spectacle.

This series, created during Nepal’s 10-year civil war, is a statement of all the pain, chaos and misery that the country was going through at that time. The drawings are not coloured; there was no colour in people´s lives during the war. The entire series is thus dominated by black and white; darkness and brightness in a bubble of clay that the artist tries to reconstruct by sewing carefully its broken pieces with poetic hope. Although he firmly states that he has not been inspired by anyone, he admits that he loves Joan Miró, because of the lines, the simplification and the experimentation evident in the work.

Non-conventional art practices are another form of expression commonly employed by Kalapremi. He was one of the first artists in Nepal to try performance and installation art, and the fact that he studied drama when he was young says something about his interest in using the body as a medium for creativity. Moreover, Kalapremi was a founder member of the SUTRA art collective, an arts group which signified the onset of a new wave of art in Nepal: The use of performances and installations for socio-political purposes. Kalapremi’s art faithfully represents the Nepal of today. With innocence and playfulness he devotes his life to others through the beauty of his art. “Masculinity” connects the bull, the key, the board and the diamond with one word that represents the innermost feelings of an artist surrounded by his own society, but also by the global world in a multicultural scenario that affects all of us. On a massive chessboard, we move our little pieces. West and east, black bull and white bull, calmly move towards each other while tattooing their bodies with their stories and experiences. Who knows if one day the white bull might not have so many tattoos on his body that he will become forever black.

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art

Art

immersion Art-immersion Sanjeev Maharjan, Asha Dangol, Hit Man Gurung, and Bidhata KC were among the first batch of Nepali artists awarded travel grants by the Nepal Art Council to attend an art fair, the India Art Fair (IAF) in Delhi, this year. The Art Council plans on continuing awarding such grants to more artists in the future TEXT: Sewa Bhattarai

he Nepal Art Council awarded travel grants to four Nepali artists for the purpose of attending the seventh edition of the India Art Fair (IAF), a four-day event held in Delhi this year from January 29 to February 1. Artists Sanjeev Maharjan, Asha Dangol, Hit Man Gurung, and Bidhata KC were selected on the basis of their proposals and portfolios after an open call. This marks the first time that the Nepal Art Council awarded any kind of travel grant for Nepali artists to attend an art event. “For artists to get this kind of opportunity is rare in Nepal,” says KC as she speaks of its significance. “I would not have attended the fair without this grant.”

T

The IAF was started in 2008 by three visionaries–Neha Kirpal, Will Ramsay and Sandy Angus, and in the years since it has grown to become a leading art fair in South Asia. The fair focuses on modern and contemporary art, and showcases art from all around the world. Many kinds of mediums and forms of expression find a platform at the fair. “When we were learning art, there were only three types of visual art: Painting, sculpture, and graphic print,” says Dangol. Today, painters can express on many 72 / SPACES MARCH 2015

different kinds of mediums. Visual art can be created from anything that can be seen, including interdisciplinary art like videos, new media art, performance art, and installation art. At the fair, the artists got the opportunity to view these different forms at one venue, which proved an invaluable experience. Power of proximity Today, with the reach of the Internet, it is possible to view art from all over the world on your computer. But it is not the same as seeing art with your own eyes, which is a much more impactful experience. KC gives the example of seeing an installation artwork by Vibha Galhotra and Anish Kapoor “I had seen pictures of Vibha’s art, but I had no idea that she had used ghungroo in one of her works. I only realised this when I saw it for myself.” Seeing these experimentations gave new inspirations and ideas to the artists, which they believe will enhance and enrich their art, and inspire them to experiment with new forms in the future. For Maharjan, what made the largest impact was the retrospective exhibition of artwork by Rameshwor Broota at the


Kiran Nadar Museum of Modern Art. “First of all, I was interested in Broota’s technique,” says Maharjan. Normally, artists use the additive technique, where you gradually add colours to the canvas. But Broota’s technique was subtractive, which means he first painted the canvas with colours, and then scratched it to gradually bring out different colours and make a picture. Apart from his paintings, the museum also displayed information about the evolution of his artwork, and his interviews. “Seeing his art was already stunning, but I also got to see the process of his artistry, which was quite phenomenal,” says Maharjan. “Besides, the artwork was displayed in a private museum which was inside a mall. “It was interesting to see how art was promoted,” says Maharjan. When the art was inside a mall, even people who are normally not concerned with art, say ordinary shoppers, could walk in, wander around, and take a look at art. A festival of arts While the fair was ongoing at the NSIC Exhibition Ground in Okhla, collateral art projects were being organised by galleries, museums and art organisations around the city. “I was very touched by how they got into the spirit and had their own exhibitions to coincide with the fair,” says Dangol. In essence, the entire city was in a festive mood; a festival of art, which turned the city into a cultural hub for those few days. One large-scale event had spurred a flurry of activity, and the spirit of cooperation was impressive. Compared to other international art fairs like the Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong Art Fairs, which routinely have more than 150 galleries each, the IAF was smaller, with less than a hundred booths. But the momentum and impact of the fair went far beyond the numbers. “At the fair, it was good to see art being promoted so enthusiastically by galleries,” says KC. For her, the organisation and management of the fair made the biggest impression, rather than any individual art piece. Every minute detail was looked at, and every little artwork displayed with prominence. Ultimately, the benefits of the well thought-out fair went to the artists. And the artists were not just Indian, but from countries around the world. One American gallery represented

an artist from Dhaka, while an Indian gallery represented a senior Nepali artist, Uma Shankar Shah.

The fair was an eye-opener in terms of how well contemporary art pieces can sell if they find the right platform.

Promoting the artists and their art Galleries and art organisations reserved booths and displayed the artwork of artists they deemed worthy of promoting at IAF. The artists, who did not have to pay to participate, benefited by having their works displayed at the event; their art reached out to the masses. In this way, fairs are also instrumental to the sale of artwork, which have a hard time finding buyers otherwise.

Even until a few years ago, art by Indian artists sold for a few thousand dollars, including art by internationally renowned artists like MF Hussain or VS Gaitonde. But since the IAF began, the organisers initiated collaborations with renowned auction houses in the UK like Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The representatives of the auction houses made it a point to attend these fairs. After Christie’s auctioned MARCH 2015 SPACES / 73


THE ARTISTS

his art, Gaitonde’s work sold for $ 3.8 million, setting a record. Today, works by top-tier Indian artist have the potential to sell at millions of dollars. Besides, such fairs and exhibitions are also opportunities for networking, says Dangol. The IAF was well-attended by artists, critics, collectors, curators, art historians, and other individuals involved in art, and enlivened by events like curated walks, speakers’ forums, and book launches. A gathering of such personalities and events presented opportunities for growth for all concerned.

Where we stand Though fairs of this type have not been held in Nepal, the Siddhartha Art Foundation has organised the Kathmandu International Art Festival–KIAF (which focused more on exhibiting than on selling art) in the past, first in 2009 and then in 2012. These festivals have received attendance similar in scale to IAF. “After KIAF 2012, there was increased interest from art collectors, enthusiasts and curators from many parts of the world,” says Maharjan, which definitely helped up the visibility quotient of Nepali contemporary art. This will hopefully help Nepal carve its own niche in the international scene, where it is sorely missing today.

Sanjeev Maharjan Maharjan is a visual artist, a painter who experiments with murals, photography, installation, and other mediums, who draws inspiration from his surroundings. He got his BFA from Kathmandu University in 2009, and is studying for an MFA at Tribhuvan University. Asha Dangol Dangol, formerly an artist-painter, has seen the transition of the Nepali art scene from when it was limited to just 3-4 mediums to the explosion of new forms and mediums that characterise it today. With a BFA from Lalit Kala Campus (1996) and an MFA from Tribhuvan University (2010) Dangol believes he is still learning new forms of art. Hit Man Gurung With an MFA from Tribhuvan University, Gurung explores his artistic potential in many ways. He was a one of the set designers for the movies Dhandha, Maun, and Fitkiree. His subjects are chosen from sociopolitical issues, migration being one of the recurring themes in his works. Bidhata KC KC is a visual artist who experiments with many mediums. She has an MFA in printmakin printmaking from Tribhuvan University, and also te teaches art. Recent Recently, most of her idea ideas have come from her travels, where wh she touches on issues like society society, gender, tourism, and an the environme environment.

Artists attest to the fact that there is a thriving contemporary art scene in Nepal where an artist can survive by doing either art or art-related works. But Nepali art still has a long way to go when it comes to establishing itself in the international arena. The problem is not because of the quality of Nepali art, and the problem is not Nepal’s alone. “The word ‘international art’ does not really encompass art from around the world,” says Gurung. “If you look at famous art museums, they mostly have art from European and American artists, with maybe a few Latin American pieces. Art from Asia and the rest of the world is missing.” Today the art markets of China or India are at par with European or American markets, but Western art still dominates the world’s art history and narrative. For ‘international art’ to be truly global, it needs to include art from lesser known places, where high-quality art is quietly being produced, away from the spotlight. Fairs and exhibitions like these can help balance this out. They bring attention to regional art and help elevate it to global platforms. Gurung wanted to see how IAF might elevate Indian art galleries to a level similar to that of internationally renowned ones, and found the fair to be quite successful. The global art scene is gradually changing and beginning to incorporate voices from other parts of the world as well. For example, New York’s renowned Guggenheim Museum has hosted many shows by Asian artists. It is also opening a branch in Abu Dhabi, which will be its largest premises yet, and will focus on Middle Eastern art. Louvre, the famous French museum, is also opening a branch in Abu Dhabi. Things look hopeful for quiet nooks and crannies like Nepal, especially with the help of promotional events like fairs and exhibitions. The four artists who attended IAF meanwhile say they are more than grateful to have had the opportunity

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to see some world-class art. They came back rejuvenated from their trip. Though they were surrounded by an overwhelming amount of art over the course of a few days, they say they have come back with deep-etched impressions. The Nepal Art Council plans to continue awarding travel grants, and possibly to increase the number of grantees in the coming years, a step that the artists support wholeheartedly. “The grant has been an honour,” says KC. “We hope more artists have the opportunity to expand their horizons as we did.” “The more you travel, the more you can see and learn. And the more resources there are, the more artists have the opportunity to work,” finished Gurung on behalf of the artists.

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From the Shelf CELESTIAL GALLERY BY: ROMIO SHRESTHA, IAN BAKER PUBLISHED IN 2000 BY CALLAWAY

Visionary realms of

transcendence

MANY OF THE PAINTINGS IN “CELESTIAL GALLERY” ARE MANADALAS. THE VISIONARY REALMS THEY INVOKE ARE INVITATIONS INTO A WORLD BOUNDED ONLY BY THE LIMITS OF OUR IMAGINATION

omio Shrestha’s “Celestial Gallery” invites the viewer into a world where dormant spiritual qualities are fully manifest. The paintings in this vibrant, folio-sized book draw from the ancient wisdom of Buddhist and Hindu traditions which, for centuries, have expressed some of humankind’s deepest spiritual insights.

R

Although the paintings in the book derive from Buddhist iconography, they represent a school of contemporary Nepali art that could almost be called postmodern; they adopt the visual components of an ancient iconographical tradition and present them in new contexts unconstrained by religious and artistic conventions. Mandalas and other forms of Buddhist art have always been used as supports for religious contemplation, redirecting the mind from the world of conventional appearances to celestial realms veiled from ordinary awareness. Through their rich colours, symmetry and proportions, Buddhist mandalas harness the discordant energies of mind and universe and reveal an underlying if unseen reality. Many of the paintings in “Celestial Gallery” are manadalas. The visionary realms they invoke are invitations into a world bounded 76 / SPACES MARCH 2015


only by the limits of our imagination. As you gaze upon the paintings in this book, you can put behind you the concerns of everyday life and allow your gaze to move gently from the periphery to the centre of the mandala, the inner sanctum, and ultimately to the bindu, the point in the absolute centre that represents the infinite. Many of these paintings lead all who enter them to the celestial gallery of their deepest consciousness–a realm in which all things are fully present and contained in pure form. Whether wrathful, ecstatic or blissfully serene, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas that inhabit this book of vision draw on traditional iconographical sources but ultimately transcend them. These postmodern thangkas boldly express the spirit of a tradition growing beyond its conventional forms. The paintings originate in the creative spirit of contemporary Himalayan artists who draw from the past and enrich the present. Incongruent colours and compositions take on new meaning (or break free of meaning) in an exuberant world of meticulous detail. This is the celestial gallery: paintings which introduce us to a world beyond that which we have seen or commonly imagine.

THESE PAINTINGS LEAD ALL WHO ENTER THEM TO THE CELESTIAL GALLERY OF THEIR DEEPEST CONSCIOUSNESS–A REALM IN WHICH ALL THINGS ARE FULLY PRESENT AND CONTAINED IN PURE FORM This introduction to “Celestial Gallery” is composed of excerpts from spiritual guru and author Deepak Chopra’s forward to the book as well as Ian Baker’s introduction to the same, published with the sole intent of conveying information regarding what we believe is a valuable book to our readers.

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Personality

Preksha Baid Preksha Baid is founder and director of Y-walls Design, a space design studio based in New Delhi. Founded in 2009, the studio came out of her passion and love for spaces, culture, tradition and craft. Baid incorporates new designs using interesting and exciting materials, and with techniques that may appear to be unconventional to many. That is also what sets her apart and makes her one of the most unique in the kind of work she does. Her work has been internationally published and exhibited at international shows like 100% Design and Milan Design Week. She was short-listed as the ‘Best Newcomer’ for the Hidden Art Awards, London, in 2006. She received the Elle Décor International Design Award in 2009 and the British Council’s ‘Young Creative Design Entrepreneur Award’ in 2010. She was also chosen as a design ambassador to attend the Dutch Design Week in 2010 on invitation by the Dutch government. In 2011, she was invited to work with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to create commissioned public art installations in Delhi. A visionary with an exuberant personality, she aims to provide design solutions to clients that are culturally relevant and commercially viable. Shristy Chhetri got in touch with Baid on behalf of SPACES Magazine. Excerpts from their email conversation:

Q

What made you so passionate about interior designing? Would you like to call yourself an interior decorator or would you prefer something else, given that the work you do is very precise and unique?

A

I studied commerce before enrolling in a design course. Accounting and taxation never excited me and I knew that my heart was in something else. The ability to transform an idea into a three-dimensional, real space really excited me. I love playing with materials, surfaces and patterns, which led me to explore the field of interior design. It gives the opportunity to tell a story with every space. As designers we are constantly exploring different boundaries so I don’t mind being called by any name. Sometimes the projects are more art oriented, sometimes they involve a lot of product detailing, and sometimes they are more specific to interior decoration. So we wear different hats all the time. Artist, interior designer, textile designer, anything is okay.

I INTEND TO BRING HAPPINESS TO PEOPLE’S LIVES BY CRAFTING BEAUTIFUL MODERN SPACES

Q A

What are some of your favourite tools or materials to use as you craft a space? I have worked with a range of materials like textiles, wood, glass and metal to name some, and I feel every material has a mind of its own. I love using lighter and softer materials more. A lot of the time we develop new materials while exploring. Recently, I developed a new material from cornhusk. I was eating Bhutta (corn), which is sold by street vendors in India. Generally, the corn is eaten and the skin is thrown away. It’s a lot of waste generated in one day and I wondered if we could do something with it. With a lot of research and surface development, I figured a way to restore the material before it decomposes. We collected waste from vendors for three months and coloured the material with natural dyes like turmeric, beetroot and tea. The surface had great lustre and tactile texture and was light, like air. This material was used not only to make new visiting cards but also to develop lighting products for a project. I love using textile techniques of printing, weaving, cutting and folding. I apply these in different contexts to my projects. I use such techniques based on what the concept demands, but I don’t fear taking risks and introducing new ways of approaching a material. For example, for my Jewel Peacock art installation project, I decided to handcraft stainless steel which is perceived to be a hard industrial material. It was challenging, but a great experience.

Q A

What is your favourite piece of work that you have done so far and why? My favourite is the ‘Ruby Ceiling’, the crafted Kalamkari ceiling at The Park Hotel, Hyderabad. I love it because it involved using a very ancient and traditional craft into a modern hotel space. The collaboration of a design-led client, passionate designer and skilled craftsmen made the project very unique and timeless. I had so much fun working in the workshop with the craftsmen. It was a great learning experience. MARCH 2015 SPACES / 79


I love using textile techniques of printing, weaving, cutting and folding. I apply these in different contexts to my projects. I use such techniques based on what the concept demands, but I don’t fear taking risks and introducing new ways of approaching a material

Q A

Q A

Are you selective when it comes to your clientele or projects?

Q

Do you experiment when it comes to designing? We see that there are many things you research upon. Can you tell us a bit more about what inspires you the most as you search for something new?

A

I always try to experiment and take risks when I am designing, otherwise it gets boring for me and I lose interest. Sometimes it gives amazing results and a lot of time it doesn’t. I get inspired from what I see on roads (for example the Cornhusk Project and the Diya Project for the Ministry of External Affairs, refer to www.y-walls.com) are results of my experiences and interactions on roads. I also love going to social places like malls and parks. One gets to see amazing natural shapes in parks. I once found a nest and a beehive in a park which led me to develop a concept for a restaurant. So there are a lot of things from where I can get my inspiration, because of which I love to explore more every time.

Q

Can you tell us a bit about your work in the context of Nepal? Do you see a prospect for work here? Or have you done anything here?

A

I have a very deep connection with Nepal as I spent my entire childhood in Katmandu. Nepal has a rich cultural and traditional heritage that is so unique and beautiful. I love the simplicity of the people and the amazing food. I have not worked on a project in Nepal but in my recent visits to the country, I found lot of inspiration to use in my current projects.

What was your aim behind founding Y-walls? When I founded Y-walls, the aim was just to have a creative place to work every day, be happy and curious about things. Even today, the aim remains the same. When I drive to work every day, I feel like a kid going to school to learn, explore and share lunch, play and also be a bit mischievous sometimes.

Q

Can you explain to us this whole process of designing and completing a space, from meeting a client to delivering the work? What does it all entail, which is the most challenging, and which is the most exciting part? How long do you normally take to complete a project?

A

Every project has a different process depending on what the nature of the space is. For example, if it is a restaurant interior design project, it begins with understanding the type of cuisine the restaurant serves, whether it is fine dining, a casual all-day café or a fast food format. The space should have a narrative which is in line with the brand image. Typically, every project begins with research and context study followed by concept design and technical planning. Once the concept is frozen, the detailing of the drawings, material boards, colour and finishes board, furniture and fittings gets finalised. The last stage is execution on site with the contractors. I think site-execution is the most challenging part for me. It involves choosing the right contractors and making sure that good quality is achieved at every stage of execution on site. The most exciting is of course the concept designing stage because we get to play and have fun on the design board. My favourite part is to work in workshops with the craftsmen to develop the prototype during the research stage. Making things by hand and applying modern technology to design a space on computer excites me. Mixing craft and technology is the design approach for every project.

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I am not selective about clientele. I have worked with government, co corporates, and international clients, as well as with individuals who own small offices. The project needs to be interesting so I am selective about the projects we undertake. Every client is different and it took a while for me to develop a mechanism to adapt and understand their needs. I spend a lot of time in understanding the brief and the client when we undertake a project.

The urban landscape has changed a lot in the last few years and I think it’s a great time to connect with tradition and blend it with the new to create beautiful contemporary spaces. This will give Nepal a unique modern identity while retaining its culture and values.


It would be great if architects and designers could bring together a new movement where traditional and sustainable materials might be used in modern design

Nepal's wood carving, metal casting and the beautiful textile weaving–all of these crafts have tremendous potential to be adapted into the context of interiors.

As a director, I have to always multitask and wear several hats throughout the day. Planning, prioritising and delegating are very important, otherwise one is always busy with less output.

Q

How do you strike a balance between work and personal life? What do you like to do when you are free?

A

I travel whenever I can squeeze time. I went for a Vipassana meditation camp for 10 days in 2013. It was such a great experience. In 2014, I went to Leh and Ladakh for a long break. On a daily basis, juggling between office and home is tough for me too, like any married working women. But I just divide time. I do household work when I am at home and I do professional work when I am at the studio. Like in business, one has to put in effective systems and efficient people at home to delegate. Having a great support staff like domestic help, a cook, a driver and peons makes it easier to have some free time to socialise with friends, get a quick workout done or watch a movie. These little things give that much-needed balance and energy to focus at work.

Q

Any message you wish to convey to our readers or anything you wish to tell us that we may not have asked you?

A

Whenever I visit Kathmandu for a holiday, I always make a visit to the old areas of Patan, Bhaktapur and Swayambhunath. Today the Valley doesn’t look and feel the same as it used to a few years ago. Although it is good to see the progress, with wider roads, new buildings and educational institutes in the city, it does bothers me that a few years from now, it will be difficult to find any semblance of cultural heritage in the modern architecture that is being built now. Nepal has such a distinctive architectural language, and beautiful ancient crafts and heritage left to us by our ancestors. It would be great if architects and designers could bring together a new movement where traditional and sustainable materials might be used in modern design.

Modern interior products can be developed for export if the right collaboration can happen between designers and craftsmen. This will also provide a new platform for the craftsmen to showcase their skills.

Q

What kind of future projects do you wish to undertake? What is your long-term goal when it comes to Y-walls?

A

I love restaurants, so I want to design different kinds of eating environments, from fine dining, to all-day dinning, to a QSR Food court. I would also like to make an amazing art installation for an Airport. Right now, we are doing interior projects for offices, residential and hospitality spaces. We try and use craft in almost every project and make it cost-effective for clients. This also motivates the client to agree to using new crafts for future projects. The long-term plan for Y-walls Design is to bring happiness in people’s lives by crafting beautiful modern spaces.

Q

What does your regular day look like? You definitely must be occupied with the work you do.

A

My day begins with a walk in the park or yoga. I start work around 10 am. Some days are manic with meetings and site visits, while some are more focused on spending time with the team on concept design. While working hard, it is very important to take time off from work. Self-time for relaxation actually improves productivity so taking small breaks for a quick walk, a swim in summers or an ice cream is fun and much needed.

I love the textile weaving, wooden craft and graphic engravings of Nepal and I cannot wait to plan my next visit to explore the magical valley of Kathmandu. MARCH 2015 SPACES / 81


ARTScape

Bidhata KC Bidhata KC, who has a Master’s degree from Tribhuvan University, is a recipient of the prestigious ‘Arniko National Youth Art Award’, which she was awarded in 2010. She has seven solo shows to her credit and has participated in various group exhibitions and projects nationally as well as internationally KC has always been curious about her surroundings and draws inspiration from nature. Besides painting, she works on prints, installations and multimedia, constantly exploring these mediums. KC won the ‘Master Tej Bahadur Chitrakar Smriti Puraskar’ for best painting/artist in 2013. One of her paintings, titled 'Marginalized Identity', bagged the special-mentions award at the National Fine Art Exhibition in 2011.

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System Unfolds... A painting that differs a great deal from her regular style, “System Unfolds…” is based on socio-political issues. Here, the artist gives emphasis on the symbolisation of reflecting and looking back, and explores the need for pondering on the present and accordingly looking forward to the future. Thus the past and its history, and the future and its promises are duly explored. Her work reflects hope and endeavours towards peace and prosperity. ASHA DANGOL


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storewatch

House of

glass

ADITYA HARDWARE ENTERPRISE IMPORTS, SUPPLIES AND HELPS WITH THE INSTALLATION OF GLASS, GLASS FITTINGS AND RELATED ACCESSORIES

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n the nine years since it’s established in 2005, the Aditya Hardware Enterprise has proven itself to be the best place to turn to for architectural glass hardware and glass-related fittings services.

Aditya Hardware Enterprise imports, supplies and helps with the installation of glass, glass fittings and related accessories. A wide range of essential accessories and components of glass fittings are offered as per the latest technologies available in the market so as to provide maximum utility and visual appeal. The enterprise is the authorized distributer of Ozone, India's most famous architectural hardware solutions provider, in Nepal. What Aditya Hardware is best known for


One of the most notable products supplied by the enterprise is toughened glass. Also known as tempered glass, such treated glass is stronger than regular glass. What makes it really different is the guarantee of safety it comes with

is the installation of glassware in many famous architectural sites around Kathmandu. Some of its popular projects include Norvic Hospital, the Oliz Store, Shamabala Hotel, Techno Trade, the Pashupati Paints store, Neo Store and Grande Tower, to name just a few. An expert in toughened glass One of the most notable products supplied by the enterprise is toughened glass. Also known as tempered glass, such treated glass is stronger than regular glass. What makes it really different is the guarantee of safety it comes with. Toughened glass, as its name suggests, does not break easily. Even when it does break, it does not smash into dangerous sharp fragments but forms blunt pebbles which prevent all kinds of accidents from taking place. Tempered glass is said to be sold to houses with infants, as well as to tall buildings due to its durability and safety. Some other applications of tempered glass include use in shower enclosures, staircase railings, balconies, platforms, office partitions and shopping complexes. Toughened glass goes through a thermal tempering process in its manufacturing stage which increases its strength by five to ten times compared to regular glass. The tempering process does not affect the transparency of the glass which means tempered glass is as good as any other glass in this regard while maintaining its rigidity even in situations when normal glass would break. The process furthermore increases heat resistance in glass. Heat resistance helps maintain the temperature of a given room which means tempered glass is said to resist anywhere from 200-300 degrees Fahrenheit of heat. MARCH 2015 SPACES / 85


Open Spaces

The School of Creative Communications presents a unique blend of creativity and communication. We provide a platform for those who dream of nurturing their creativity through communication. We offer training programmes on art, photography, writing and languages. We have been conducting SCC Explore Photography workshops since our establishment in 2009. We have been organising the SCC Blue Bag, a sharing programme with a scholar once every month for the past few years. We are located at Kupondol, Lalitpur, Nepal (link road to the Bagmati River).

www.scc.org.np facebook.com/scc.kathmandu

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his photo was taken in Bhaktapur during the second SCC Photo Yatra. The majority of Bhaktapur’s population is Newar. Many members of the community still practice old farming methods, using traditional agricultural tools and equipments.

T

THE PHOTOGRAPHER Sanjeeb Maharjan is an entrepreneur. He worked as a photographer for a couple of years before starting his own business. He is very passionate about photography and is an SCC alumnus.


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product

Quality, innovation and reliability AFE Home Decoration Pvt. Ltd, Chabahil, pride themselves in standing for quality, innovation, reliability and leadership in furniture, kitchen concepts and interior works. The company use the best quality raw materials and hardware in their designs, and provide a guarantee for their products and services. Customers and clients can also avail of after-sales services from AFE as and when required once they purchase a product from their store. Replacements of any pieces with manufacturing defects or defects related to the mechanism of the pieces are also easily

facilitated by the store if seen and reported within a year of purchase. Customers and clients are assured of getting quality products and excellent services that they can trust and be satisfied with at AFE. The group manufacture their products at their own factory which means both quality and durability are guaranteed. These products also have a competitive advantage over others found in the market: Low cost, high durability and the ease with which ordered products are manufactured as per client requirements. What’s more, the price of their products can be tailored to fit the needs and budgets of prospective clients.

AFE-HOME DECORATION PVT. LTD. CHABAHIL, KATHMANDU Ph. no. 01-4495009, Fax no. 01-4480174

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Home decoration simplified For those home owners looking to find complete interior decoration solutions under one roof, Better Living Pvt. Ltd, Tinkune, promise satisfaction. The group deals in quality kitchen accessories and appliances and modular kitchen sets that fit all

budgets. At a time when Kathmandu is becoming increasingly space-conscious, Better Living aims to be a one-stop destination for home interiors. Wood MDF, solid wood and laminated wood are also available here. The products are priced competitively at Rs 2000, RS 2200 and Rs 1800 per square feet respectively.

BETTER LIVING PVT.LTD. TINKUNE, KATHMANDU Ph 014464453 Hello 9851005160 L.N.Sapkota

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All modern kitchen needs fulfilled The Modular Kitchen (P) Ltd, Bouddha, have been supplying superior quality modular kitchen sets as well as kitchen accessories and appliances all over Kathmandu since their establishment in 1998. In recent years, keeping customers’ needs in mind, the company have also started importing high-quality solar water heaters (from Solar One) and branded kitchen appliances (from Capella, India). Water purifiers from Livpure and Kent as well as Swiss laminated flooring from Krono and Swiss, along with numerous other international brands are also available. Modular kitchen sets and high-quality kitchen products are gaining in popularity in Kathmandu as savvy consumers are increasingly paying due attention to kitchen décor. Modular kitchens look neat and organised and offer ample storage by optimising available space. What’s more, if one module or unit gets damaged, then it can be easily repaired or even replaced. Modular Kitchen (P) Ltd. plan on branching outside Kathmandu to ensure consumers all over Nepal can avail of their services. MODULAR KITCHEN PVT. LTD. BOUDHA, KATHMANDU Ph: 4484339/9841473357

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Modular kitchens and more Since the three years of their establishment, Ultra Interio, Teku, have been doing well in the market, supplying modular kitchens, kitchen appliances, accessories and hardware. Their store handles more than kitchen appliances and interiors, catering to customers’ wishes by providing interior solutions for the entire home.

Kathmandu’s growing awareness of the importance of well-planned and designed living spaces, including kitchens, has meant that Ultra Interio have been catering to the needs of increasingly savvy consumers.

ULTRA INTERIO TEKU ROAD, KATHMANDU Ph: 4242629/ 242697

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connecî ¤s 65 Aditya Hardware Enterprises Bluestar Complex, Room # 522, Thapathali Ph: 9851007818 sanjay_kyal@yahoo.com

09 Home Furnisher Pvt. Ltd. Tripureshwor, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4254601 bath@wlink.com.np

71 Pyramid Vaastu Consultant 244 Rudra Marga, Ratopool, Kathmandu Mobile: 9851151618 / 9815717618 mundharanp618@gmail.com

55 Akarshan Creation Kupondole, Lalitpur Ph: 977-1-5545055 sagun@akarshancreation.com

38-40 Jagdamba Cement Neupane Tower, 6th Floor Tinkune, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4111500 jcement@wlink.com.np

13 SEV Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. Kumaripati, Lalitpur Ph: 977-1-2122030 sanjayashresthaev@gmail.com

17 Amtrade Pvt. Ltd. Soalteemode, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4672049 65/83 ATC Pvt. Ltd. 336/21, Ganesh Man Singh Path-2, Teku Road Ph: 977-1-4262220 info@atc.com.np 04 Beko Putalisadak, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1- 4422190 www.beko.com.np 98 Berger Jenson & Nicholson (Nepal) Pvt. Ltd. Berger House - 492, Tinkune, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4466038 info@bergernepal.com www.bergernepal.com 75 Bestbuy Nepal Pvt. Ltd. Kupondole, L.P. Ph: 977-1-5523289 / 5545481 info@bestbuynepal.com www.bestbuynepal.com 95 Communication Corner Pvt. Ltd. (Ujyaalo 90 Network) Ujyaalo Ghar (Behind Central Zoo) Jawalakhel, Lalitpur Ph: 977-1-5000171 info@unn.com.np www.unn.com.np 83 Eureka Home Trade Link Pvt. Ltd. Balkhu Chowk, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4036109 eurekathp@outlook.com 87 Foto Hollywood Civil Bank Building, Kamladi Ph: 977-1-4169060 www.fotohollywood.com.np 03 Furniture Land Blue Star Complex Tripureshwor, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4224797 sales@furnitureland.com.np www.furnitureland.com.np

95 Kapilvastu Glassfiber Industries Milanchowk, Butwal, Nepal Ph: 071-549406 info@kapilvastuglassfiber.com www.kapilvastuglassfiber.com 15 Maruti Cements Limited Tripureshwor, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4257566 maruticement.info@gmail.com www.maruticement.com 97 Marvel Technoplast Pvt. Ltd. Heritage Plaza - II, 2nd Floor, Kamladi Ph: 977-1-4169122 info@marvel.com.np www.marvel.com.np 11 Mom’s Kitchen & Living Imports Ekantakuna, Jawalakhel Ph: 977-1-5523974 momskitchenliving@gmail.com www.momskitchenliving.com 06 Nagrik - Nepal Republic Media Pvt. Ltd. JDA Complex, Bagh Durbar Ph: 977-1-4265100 / 4261808 circulation@nagariknews.com 21 Newakar Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. Swet Binayak Marg, Buddhanagar, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4780569 newakar.enterprises@gmail.com 41 National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), Nepal Bhanisepati, L.P. Ph: 977-1-5591000 www.nset.org.np

21 Skylight Pvt. Ltd. Naxal (Opp to Police HQ), Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4423851 info@skylight.com.np www.skylight.com.np 96 Starnet Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. Shankhamul, Pragatimarga, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4781945 info@starnetenterprises.com www.starnetenterprises.com 94 Subisu Cablenet Pvt. Ltd. 148 Thirbum Sadak, Baluwatar Ph: 977-1-4429616 info@subisu.net.np www.subisu.net.np 07 Technical Associates Services Pvt. Ltd. Thapathali, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4219999 ta@ta.com.np www.tas.com.np 05 Universal Electrocom Tripureshwor, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4251622 / 4251623 uec@wlink.com.np 78 Worldlink Communication Pvt. Ltd. Jawalakhel, Lalitpur Ph: 977-1-5523050 sales@wlink.com.np www.worldlink.com.np 92 Yeti Airlines Tilganga, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1- 4464878 reservations@yetiairlines.com www.yetiairlines.com

35 Pashupati Paints Pvt. Ltd. Maitighar, Kathmandu Ph: 977-1-4258209 pashupati@paints.wlink.com.np

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SPACES Nepal MARCH 2015  

Art-Architecture-Interior Design-Accessories based Magazine

SPACES Nepal MARCH 2015  

Art-Architecture-Interior Design-Accessories based Magazine

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