Monday, October 25, 2010

The meagre fruits of our labour?

Newspaper Article on our recent success at the PAM Awards 2010.
People often ask if there are any financial rewards in winning the annual PAM Awards; we tell them 'no'. 
So...., what do you win? - they are curious. We tell them - a trophy and a certificate.(visit to see the trophy). 'That's it ?' - they are incredulous - sure that there must be more to gain than a trophy and a pat on the back by the National Institute of Architects. Well, of course there are rewards and most times, we reap them even before the winners are announced. For the past 4 years, the process of compiling project material for shortlisting is an excellent team-building exercise and an avenue for design discourse and even a little friendly competition amongst colleagues. 
Of course, the awards themselves are a form of recognition from our peers; important for a young architectural firm like ours from a 'remote' part of the country. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sketching outside Adrian's office window

 Jalan Chew Geok Lin
When I travel, walking around town early in the morning is a pleasurable adventure; it is as though you catch the locals off guard and see them in real life. Perhaps they do not expect an outsider to trepass into their world at this hour. Food stalls that disappear after 7 a.m. - they serve local fare to the locals - the tourists are expected to eat something else. People washing on the pavement; laundry, vegetables, small children, grownups too. A man bathed with a water hose piped down from the floor above - humming blissfully to himself with a cigarette in his mouth the whole time.

Vignettes of city life such as this are hard to come by nowadays. But if you wake up early enough - even my hometown of Kuching has the ability to surprise me at times. Re-introducing me to local characters (and food) not seen since Primary school days. The rewards of waking up earlier and going for a walk in your town.

Market Road, Sibu\

Jalan Bengkel, Sibu

Monday, October 18, 2010

Romance in Fuxing GongYuan

We came across this park on one of our walking tours; Sara said it reminded her of the Paris parks she had seen in movies - and it is clear why - the tree-lined avenues with lawns in between them, vistas guided towards fountains and statues, further enhanced by the crunchy gravel underfoot and couples cuddling on park benches. Clear signs of the French influence in Shanghai's past - so it seemed appropriate that we would meet this spritely couple; not young in years but still youthful in their step.Sara took this series of shots; as they practiced - coaching and encouraging each other - quite oblivious to the crowd which gathered to watch them; envious of their dancing skills and obvious enjoyment of each other's company.
I will take a break from Shanghai entries after this one and come back to them later in the month.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Views from my breakfast window, Shanghai

As Malaysians, we are often spoiled for choice when it comes to food; especially with Chinese food, most of which is influenced by Cantonese cuisine epitomised by high fire stir-fry and brothy soups. Therefore it is not surprising that while the local food in Shanghai is always fresh and clean; it pales significantly in comparison to the food 'back home'. 
But ...I am not here to critique local food (being insufficiently qualified). this is simply a starting point for the next few sketches conducted from my breakfast window.

Looking across the river from our favourite breakfast table

Breakfast is a buffet of twenty odd dishes (emphasis on 'odd' ) - two types of porridge, three types of pickles, peanuts, fried pancakes, you-tiau, tomatoes, sliced corguettes, two types of pau, bread, fried rice and noodles, steamed sweet potato and pumpkin, hard boiled eggs, local corn on the cob accompanied by warm orange cordial and soy milk. (19 items) - SO there is plenty of time to sit and linger and draw.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Suzhou Road, Shanghai

I am a terrible blogger; I do not update my blog on a regular basis, this is a result of not sketching regularly and since this is a sketch blog - one must generate enough sketches to upload on a regular basis. Surprising - considering that I spend my work day drawing.
More on Shanghai; this entry concentrates on the area near our hotel on Suzhou Nan Lu which runs along Wusong River. It is ten-minutes walk from the Bund due east and ten minutes walk to Nanjing Dong Lu due south - so quite handily located although the surroundings are less than picturesque.

Our neighbours are hardware stores and welding shops; but the river is a nice guide to stroll along and if you presevere (30 minutes walk) it will lead to Suzhou Xi Lu and ultimately the MoganShan Lu where the Shanghai Art Precinct is located. This Art Precinct is similar to Beijing 798 - and was formerly a light industrial area now restored to house art galleries, eateries, studios and design offices.
Despite the "blue-collar" neighbourhood, there is plenty to sketch - this is a block of apartments across the river, its windows and balconies are a mosaic of people's lives.