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March, 2016:

Part II/Part III Architectural Assistant required

NEON help wanted sign

You need to be:

  • Truly excellent at AutoCAD,
  • Good at sketch up, Photoshop,
  • Excellent technical knowledge,
  • Reading and writing perfect English,
  • Savvy at social media,
  • Able to write specifications,
  • Able to write schedule of works,
  • Able to write blogs,
  • Attending site meetings as and when,
  • Able to write minutes/reports,
  • Familiar with building technology and terminology,
  • Working from home, meet on site as and when,
  • Acting as and being, my locum,
This would suit
  • individual looking for a sideline, mums, students, graduates, MA students not minding ad hoc/ deadline-based work and who is flexible about these things,
  • someone friendly, organised, well-presented, thorough, showing initiative and ability to work on own independently,
  • someone who would like to be working for sole practitioner of a friendly, professional, top quality practice.

No need to make coffee, I make very good coffee.

Pay

£18/hour or AUD34/hour or RM105/hour or 23 Euros/hour.

Apply

With CV, samples of work, samples of writing, references, name, address, and phone number.

Puustelli Miinus Kitchens – Eco from Start to Finnish

Finnish design has always been world famous. Since I was a student I had been a big fan of Alvar Aalto. I’ve flown home on Finnair and stopped over in Helsinki. The landscape, climate and the people are tough. They build quality things to last many lifetimes and not for throwing away. Therefore their ethos has always been ethical.

At the Finnish Ambassador’s residence last night, I was given a glimpse into the future and how kitchens would ideally be made.

A journey back in time

Exterior- guests arrival

Exterior- guests arrival

It was wonderful to escape the appalling weather outside. Standing outside on the gravel drive, you would feel like Jane Eyre. The residence itself was of remarkable architectural merit and they could not have chosen a better venue to showcase lifestyle sustainability issues.  Guests were well-dressed and it was like going back to a 1950s party, to a time of classic elegance, arches framed with columns and topped with Corinthian capitals, acanthus leaf cornicing, panelled walls with rich motifs, triptychs, pelmets, egg and dart dado rails, modern figurative art in gilt frames and midcentury modern furniture, piano and cello music, crystal chandeliers, a Steinway Grand in the bay window.

midcentury modern furniture

midcentury modern furniture

Jussi Aine and Tony Lonnqvist

Following a talk by CEO Jussi Aine*, project manager Tony Lonnqvist* (who incidentally reminded me of Leonardo di Caprio), said:

“Puustelli are the largest and longest established kitchen brand in Finland and our goal is to build upon the success of Scandinavian design in the UK and Ireland with a network of reputable retailers offering our Miinus kitchen range to service and satisfy a growing market of responsible buyers seeking quality Eco products”.

steinway in bay window

steinway in bay window

Puustelli’s Miiinus Kitchen Range will fall in the mid range price sector (four times that of a melamine kitchen, he said) and they expect to grow the network of Miinus retailers to 5 to 7 showrooms in 2016. There are many small showrooms in Finland, one in Stockholm, one in Minnesota and one in Leeds, said Lonnqvist. “Miinus kitchens have no chipboard or MDF. We have re-designed the carcass and it is skeletal in construction. It is affordable luxury in modular form, so in 2 to 3 days, an entire kichen can be fitted. It is strong and hardwearing, and there is a 30 year guarantee.” He also made a joke that if a client gets rid of the kitchen after 10 years, there is still 20 years left on the guarantee when he Ebays it.

Ian Sandford

was the third speaker, who said he had not given a speech since his wedding. He runs Four Seasons Design in Leeds which showcases Miinus Kitchen in the UK. “The population of Finland is just bigger than London’s, yet the country is 50% bigger than the UK,” he said. Developers should consider Miinus in order to tick the green box.

Food and refreshments

I experienced the famous Finnish hospitality. Canapes were top quality Scandinavian, we had venison, asparagus mousse, salmon and dill amongst. Even the macaroons were in a chic Paris grey colour!

guests

guests

Oscar Pistorius lookalike waiter

Oscar Pistorius lookalike waiter

guests

guests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior - view of rear garden

Exterior - view of rear garden

midcentury modern art

midcentury modern art

midcentury modern art

midcentury modern art

Musicians

Jonathan and Robert Roozeman (the 51 year old father of 17 year old Jonatha)n provided the music, all Chopin. They played three pieces. No 65 Cello Sonata, 3rd movt, Nocturne in E flat major, Grand Duo.

 

#nocturne in #kensington #live E flat #Chopin #piano #cello #lastnight #live

A video posted by Satsuma World (@ivyngeow) on


 

L-R Jonathan and Robert Roozeman

L-R Jonathan and Robert Roozeman

guests

guests

queen and ambassador

queen and ambassador

the very beautiful steinway up close

the very beautiful steinway up close

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in the goody bag

goody bag and contents

goody bag and contents

In a very stylish hessian goody bag, there is an eco cookbook, a butter knife, a brochure and two social network cards. A very thoughtful and practical gift. I will use the butter knife straightaway with my breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*End note: I did not take any photos during the talks by both the CEO and the project manager as I thought it wold be a bit rude since there was not a single iPhone in sight or anybody clicking away. Plus it was a consulate building. When I asked permission, the organisers kindly allowed me to take photos during the drinks and canapes session, hence there just a few photos on this blog.

Caveat Emptor: Building works and the £25,000 scam Barclays did not report

scam photo from the Guardian

scam photo from the Guardian

So I read over the weekend’s cheering Mother’s Day papers the chilling story of an ordinary professional couple whose life savings of £25,000 had been stolen online in a banking transaction scam.

The government, the media, the banks, the police, God – no one will protect you. Only you can protect yourself. It’s back to the usual back-up line of Caveat Emptor.

Caveat Emptor:

the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made.
This means in plain English: those who will get ripped off will get ripped off and it’s your own fault.

Building works are open to scams

Building works cost so much, usually at least four figures for the smallest silliest tasks, and that is why it is open to scams. Everybody has been ripped off, me included, especially on holiday when one’s guard is down. But this is not a case of being ripped off by a cabbie or a peddler of the wrong sandals that are non-returnable and non-refundable.

Hacked

The couple received an invoice from the contractor for their rear extension. But they received another invoice identical to the first invoice saying the bank account details have changed. The couple paid as per the second invoice. Unbeknown to all, including the building contractor, the contractor had been hacked. The criminals had been tracking their every move.

The banks did nothing about it even though the account had been opened, cleaned out and shut very quickly, They must be able to trace the fraudster’s account. How can they not? It’s a question of resources. They said they will cooperate with the cops but the cops won’t do a thing about it as there are too many scams and of a much bigger scale.

Scammers

like to scam individuals because they are vulnerable. A big company is hard to scam because they are insured to the eyeballs and nothing can touch them.

How you can protect yourself:

– asking for the contractor’s account and sort code yourself and writing it down.

– Pay the money in by cheque. Cheques can be stopped. There are turning points in a cheque’s lifetime because things moved at a slower space in the old days.

– Pay a small amount first, just to make sure it gets in OK, such as a pound.

– Pay only small installments. If the builder asks for 40% deposit upfront, something is wrong. Do not go for it. £25,000 was a huge deposit or installment for a rear extension. Unless it is a huge contractor, in which case, they won’t even ask for a deposit. They work a month for nothing until valuation time, they invoice and you pay that valuation.

– Sign a contract and make sure someone is there like your project manager or architect or designer to administer the contract. It needs to makes sense by protecting all parties.

– The old ways are the best. In this digital age, the opportunities are endless for a white collar criminal. But they still cannot physically get to your desk, your mind or your hands. You would have to be in a market stall for that kind of rip off to take place.