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Find out how architects, builders, and interior designers can use glass room dividers to improve not only the look of healthcare facilities but also the level of care received.
You walk into your doctor’s office expecting great medical care. Then you open the front door, and a shudder goes through your body.
The waiting room is dark and crowded. The furniture is old. The carpets are worn. Magazines are scattered everywhere. You sit down in a stained chair and look up at the aging wallpaper that surrounds you. The examining room is even gloomier. It’s cramped. It’s hot. It’s anything but comfortable.
You were nervous when you arrived. By the time the doctor shows up, you’re on edge.
How Design Impacts Health
When it comes to interior design, many healthcare facilities leave a lot of room for improvement. It’s not just about aesthetics, either. It’s about making patients comfortable, convincing them that their providers are competent, and reassuring them that their conversations are private.
The look and feel of a health clinic, hospital, or doctor’s office may even influence the quality of healthcare.1 How patients feel in a particular space could determine whether they feel comfortable sharing sensitive information, trusting a doctor’s recommendation, or returning for a follow-up visit.
Poor lighting and bad design not only stress some patients; these issues also increase the chances of medical error—dispensing the wrong medications, misreading charts and prescriptions, and performing basic medical procedures.2 On the flipside, a bright and airy space can put patients at ease, facilitate open conversation, and help them stay upbeat after a difficult consultation or procedure.
Patients aren’t the only ones affected. Design also impacts healthcare workers. According to a number of studies, the physical environment influences how well employees perform and how safe they are. In other words, doctors, nurses, and medical assistants need well-designed spaces in order to perform their best work, and patients need that in order to stay healthy.
Glass Room Dividers: Improving Healthcare Design
Glass room dividers can improve the design of healthcare facilities by:
Protecting patient privacy: Opaque or semi-opaque glass provides the kind of robust privacy protection that patients need, while still allowing enough light to pass from space to space. Floor-to-ceiling glass room dividers also make it harder for private conversations to be overheard in the next room.
Ensuring accountability. Clear glass room dividers offer maximum visibility, so nurses can keep an eye on patients, and hospital or clinic managers can keep track of patient-staff interactions.
Improving air flow. If temperature control and energy efficiency are more important than privacy and noise control, then a partial room divider that doesn’t extend to the ceiling offers the perfect solution.
Are you a builder, interior designer, or CEO? Do you need help designing or redesigning your next healthcare facility? Download the Space Plus commercial catalog to see more solutions for today’s hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices.
Felix is not the kind of restaurant where you can easily get a reservation, but I refresh the webpage at just the right moment and snag a coveted 5:30 p.m. slot. We arrive on Abbot Kinney in Venice a few minutes before the doors open, and there is already a cluster of hungry diners hoping to be seated. After ordering a cocktail at the bar, we give our name to the host and walk to our table. The dining room is sophisticated but comfortable, and my chair has a view straight to the climate-controlled, glass room where flour and water turn to pasta.
I study the menu and have read reviews beforehand, and although there’s always room to change one’s mind in the moment, I know what I want: the airy rosemary focaccia (noted for its stunningly simple beauty) and cacio e pepe, called the best pasta in 2017 by Bon Appetit. Each bite of tonnarelli delivers a burstof black pepper and vibrant cheese. The noodles are silky, and the sauce glossy.
Not knowing when we’d be able to return, I set out to recreate the meal in my own kitchen for a relaxing Sunday lunch. With an Italian translation of simply cheese and pepper, this recipe has a refreshingly short list of ingredients. But for all its simplicity, there are a few rules: pecorino romano, not parmesan. Pecorino is bolder, sharper, and more robust than its milder counterpart. Also, freshly cracked black pepper is essential. You need all of it, so get grinding. And don’t forget the pasta water. It helps emulsify the butter, pepper and cheese, making for a luxurious sauce coating every noodle.
Cacio e Pepe
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 pound spaghetti
1 ½ cups finely grated pecorino romano
Excellent olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to boil and season generously with salt. While you wait for the water to boil, add black pepper to a small saucepan and toast over medium heat, just until fragrant (2 to 3 minutes). Add butter and a pinch of salt; swirl to melt, then remove from heat.
Boil pasta until al dente, between 7 and 8 minutes. Drain, reserving some pasta water, then pour spaghetti back into the pot. Add melted butter and pepper sauce, most of the cheese, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a splash of cooking water. Stir vigorously with tongs, adding more cooking water as needed so the sauce remains luscious and creamy. Add a portion to each bowl and finish with a dusting of remaining cheese, a few more cracks of black pepper, and a drizzle of oil.
We are probably all a little guilty for driving by a place or sign for a place and saying, “Someday, I’m going to stop there”. However, when does “someday” come? Sadly, for a lot of people, it’s never.
For me, one of those “signs” was for the Museum of Danish America, which is just on the outskirts of Elk Horn in Shelby County. Elk Horn and Kimballton, a small town just a few miles to the north, comprise Iowa’s Danish Villages. They are the two largest rural Danish settlements in America.
Victor Borge is one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th Century and he happens to be a Danish immigrant to America. His grand piano is on display in the museum.
Elsewhere on the main floor is an area for kids (or, I guess adults too) to tinker around with LEGOs. LEGOs is perhaps one of the most famous Danish companies.
There is a Danish Immigrant Wall of Fame as well as a locally made quilt of era veterans who served in World War II.
Additionally, there was a little area showcasing local art.
Elsewhere, there were several showcases of other interesting artifacts, furniture, clothing, bicycles, and more.
The first floor also had an extensive gift shop which includes these pretty great shirts. I always love a good pun.
As you head upstairs, there was more gallery space which was presently focused on Danes in the military.
In the basement, they have a great timeline of Danish history as well as a gallery and artifact storage. The artifact storage is in a big glass room so you can still look in and see what else is in the museum that is not presently on display.
Those little “Troll” dolls are also Danish.
There is another small room that has art as well as space to show a presentation to a group.
Outside, there is an extensive grounds that includes a trail. If it were not so cold during my visit, I probably would have spent a little more time and taken it to see where it would lead. I guess I will have to come back another time.
This is worth stopping at. You can probably get through the whole museum in as little as a half hour or you could easily spend hours here. I would certainly add it to your itinerary for a future adventure.
The town recently conducted a big ($200,000) capital campaign to do some renovation to the windmill and according to the very nice lady working in the gift shop, the blades will soon be re-attached.
The grounds also have several other elements to it, including this bust of Hans Christian Andersen, one of the greatest authors to ever live.
There’s also the Morning Star Chapel.
There is a house/cottage/shack that is supposed to show how Vikings lived.
There is a small replica of the Ebeltoft Village.
Inside the gift shop, it’s full of opportunities to buy some great souvenirs and find information on other great potential Iowa adventures.
In the parking lot I noticed some electric vehicle charging stations. I barely see those in urban areas of Iowa, let alone in rural Iowa.
Elsewhere in town, I spotted a cool building that ended up being an antique mall. I always love a good antique mall and Egg Krate did not disappoint. There was a wide array of antiques from collectibles and furniture to primitives and artwork.
I got a little chuckle out of this metal decoration.
I always love nice mission oak furniture.
Seeing an overhead projector and a car phone in an antique store made me realize the 1990’s are a lot longer ago than any of us might care to admit.
There is an enormous senior center built right in the heart of the downtown area.
With all of the Danish attractions going on, you can easily do a full day of activities. There are nice bed and breakfasts, restaurants, hotels, and more in the area so why not make it a Dane good weekend getaway?
WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. From the Office of the New York State Attorney General. March 27, 2018:
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced the arrests and indictment of 10 individuals on charges stemming from the alleged operation of lucrative loan sharking and gambling activities controlled by the Lucchese Organized Crime Family.
The long-term investigation — deemed “Operation The Vig Is Up” — involved the alleged loan sharking and bookmaking activities of alleged Lucchese “made member” Dominick Capelli and alleged Lucchese “Associates” or “non-made” crew members in Westchester and the Bronx.
The loan sharking operation is the largest such operation ever investigated by the New York Attorney General, with usurious interest payouts exceeding a million dollars just during the approximately one-year investigation.
“As we allege, this brazen ring of criminals preyed on New Yorkers – using a gambling operation to funnel victims into their loan sharking operation, and then saddling them with usurious loan payments,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to root out organized crime and prosecute these criminals to the fullest extent of the law.”
As part of the long-term investigation, investigators utilized wiretaps, covert surveillance cameras, a car bug, undercover police officers, and hidden cameras. Additional evidence came as a result of search warrants executed at defendant Robert Wagner’s home in New Rochelle and at McKiernan’s Lawton Street Tavern in New Rochelle.
In total, investigators identified over 47 distinct loan sharking victims, many with multiple loans, who were preyed on by the defendants.
Loan sharking victims were allegedly required to make weekly, high interest “vig” payments, either by directly paying individual defendants, or by dropping off cash payments at two New Rochelle businesses: McKiernan’s Lawton Street Tavern and The Glass Room, a smoke shop.
Victims were allegedly charged exorbitant weekly loan rates averaging over 200 percent per year, effectively creating a high-cost debt trap for all individuals taking out such loans.
Additionally, defendants Capelli, Wagner, and Frank McKiernan are alleged to have run an illegal bookmaking operation, utilizing the gambling website to generate over a half a million dollars in annual wagers.
The Enterprise Corruption charge alone carries a maximum penalty of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.
Two related indictments were also filed in conjunction with this investigation.
A separate bookmaking indictment charged Michael Lepore, 61, of New Rochelle, NY, and Vincent Tardibuono, 41, also of New Rochelle, NY, with running an online bookmaking operation via website , which generated over $1.5 million in annual wagers.
Additionally, a related narcotics-based indictment filed by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and prosecuted by OAG OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Thomas Luzio, charged Lucien Cappello, 38, of New Rochelle, NY with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a Class A-II felony, as well as six counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and seven counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree. If convicted, Cappello faces ten years in state prison and five years of post-release supervision.
Attorney General Schneiderman thanks Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. and his office for their assistance and support.
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. said, “This investigation and successful take down of this organized crime loan sharking operation was the culmination of a collaborative effort among the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, the New Rochelle Police, and our office. We commend the work of all involved and will continue to work together to fight organized crime here in Westchester.”
Acting New Rochelle Police Commissioner Joseph F. Schaller said, “I want to commend members of the New Rochelle Police Department’s Special Investigation’s Unit, members of the New York State Attorney General’s Office and members of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for their hard work and dedicated efforts in helping to root out illegal gambling and loan-sharking in the City of New Rochelle.”
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
The investigation was directed by OCTF Investigators John Mullen and Kyle Vitale-O’Sullivan, Supervising Investigator Bradford Miller, and Deputy Chief Investigator Christopher Vasta, under the supervision of Chief Dominick Zarrella; and New Rochelle Detective Dwayne Jones, under the supervision Lieutenant Brian Fagan.
The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paige Wallace, under the supervision of OCTF Deputy Bureau Chief Diego Hernandez. Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff runs the Organized Crime Task Force and Margaret Garnett is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice.
How brands are experimenting with digital audio advertising
Digital Decoded: With 24 million people streaming music and podcasts each week, there are huge opportunities for brands to target people on-the-go with relevant and timely messages.
Consumers in the UK are increasingly streaming music and podcasts to their connected devices, with 24 million people now doing so in the UK each week, according to the latest audio survey by RAJAR.
With that comes opportunities for brands to target consumers with relevant digital audio ads within playlists, radio ad breaks or podcasts, which can be highly targeted to both a listener’s interests and location.
In the next instalment of Marketing Week’s Digital Decoded series, we speak to Oliver Deane, director of commercial digital at radio group Global about how brands including O2 and Deliveroo are connecting with listeners on the go.
He says digital audio works particularly well when synchronised with out of home advertising, as it can be used to highlight specific nearby stores and local offers. People that were served a geo-targeted O2 ad, for example, were 67% more likely to go into a store afterwards than those that didn’t hear the ad.
In the latest instalment in our Digital Decoded video series, not-for-profit internet company Mozilla takes us on a tour of The Glass Room, a pop-up tech store designed to help consumers take control of their lives online.
In the latest episode of Digital Decoded, we test McDonald’s mobile ordering app and speak to the brand’s digital director to find out what the future holds.
In the next instalment of ‘Digital Decoded’ Marketing Week explores the latest technology that enables marketers to understand real life patterns.
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A Marketer’s Best Friend: The willingness to challenge each other to create better work is the secret to true alignment between marketing and sales at EE.
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Winter’s over. It’s time to turn off the fireplace and stow away the blankets. Now that it’s spring, you want sun. You want space. You want to feel free and lighthearted rather than cozy and cooped up—but how do you make the transition from the most frigid season to the most joyous season? From glass room dividers to banana leaves, here are six ideas for a spring refresher.
Replace Solid Walls with Glass Room Dividers Glass door room dividers open up a house, letting the sunlight in and giving the entire space an open, airy feel. In other words, it’s a perfect renovation project for spring, when the sun comes out and the whole world looks just a little bit fresher and a little bit happier. Although many people save glass partitions for the big rooms, such as the living room or dining room, room dividers for the bedroom also make a smart investment, particularly if you want the room to look bigger and brighter.
Replace Solid Doors with Glass Doors In addition to room dividers, consider replacing solid doors with sliding glass doors to free up floor space and let the light flow unhindered from room to room. At the end of the day, it’s a relatively painless way to reimagine your interior. Unless you’re tearing down an existing wall, installing a new room divider requires no major construction.
Rearrange the Furniture There are ways to rearrange furniture that make your interior feel fresher and more expansive. By getting rid of unnecessary pieces and separating large furnishings, you can free up space for foot traffic. Try a little harder, and you might also have room to meditate or even do some yoga. When rearranging, pay close attention to the flow of the room. The best part? It’s free.
Simplify Your Life Most people do some sort of spring cleaning between March and June, but how many make a concerted effort to clear the clutter out of their lives? We’re not just talking about old mail. If you really want to get back to basics, go through the house and figure out what you don’t need. Send area rugs away for cleaning, stow away the knickknacks, pare down the decorations, and cover the upholstery with slipcovers. In other words, you don’t have to throw anything out in order to simplify your life.
Bring Out the Foliage
The flowers are blossoming outside, so why not bring a floral freshness inside? If you’re not allergic and don’t mind watering every now and then, consider a bouquet of hydrangeas, purple orchids, or peonies. If you prefer more low-maintenance foliage, then consider succulents. Statement leaves (e.g., banana leaves and philodendron leaves) also make for great spring décor.
Add a Splash of Color There are many of ways to add color to your home, whether you paint the walls, replace the pillows and blankets, buy new kitchen chairs, or invest in new vases. Now that the passion for minimalism has receded, you can embrace brighter colors without fear of disapproval. Need ideas? Gelato colors are hot this year, as are indigo blues and “glittery” gold.
Visit our gallery for more ideas on how you can use sliding glass doors and glass room dividers to liven up your space for spring.
I’m at a ‘cusp of something’ moment: I did my trigger shot last night and the retrieval is tomorrow. More bloated/uncomfortable than previous cycles and doc’s a tad concerned about Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), but I’m hoping that its close enough to the border for it to be a non-event.
I am currently giving the girls their final lectures on the extremely bad behaviour expected on their upcoming first dates: “Straight for the home run. Show that you’re having a good time to keep the sparks flying! And save the small talk for later!”
Basically, I’m telling these girls to turn every trick they know. Go forth … and multiply! Oh, how that tune is going to change.
Truth be told, I always find this part of IVF a bit harder than the two-week wait (TWW – when you’re waiting to take a pregnancy test).
The TWW is an interlude (even if it can often be one with a very sad ending). For the most part, you cannot actually tell if you’re pregnant or not, or if you’re getting more pregnant or less pregnant as you go (early symptoms be damned). You. Just. Wait. Often, you find SOMETHING to distract you, at least for the moments you aren’t prematurely peeing on things. You symptom spot, Google random things constantly (“is cream cheese soft?” “Steak/miso soup/cheesecake/chocolate/green tea/hot showers/tennis and ivf/pregnancy/tww).
You join chat groups, think of baby names, climb walls, eat Brazil nuts and avocado. In between, you sometimes earn a living. But you can hold on to the fact that you’re PUPO: Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise.
The retrieval and the five days that follow, though, are a strange kind of no-man’s land. You’re as barren as you began and you don’t actually ever exhale. How many eggs? How many mature? Did the boom-boom in the glass room go as planned?
The retrieval and the five days that follow though… they are a strange kind of no-man’s land. You’re as barren as you began and you don’t actually ever exhale. How many eggs? How many mature? Did the boom-boom in the glass room go as planned?
And as an essential part of you sits in someone’s Petri dish, you stare at the phone, willing it to ring – and only with good news. It’s an INSANE amount of pressure with very few distractions. We’ve lost a tremendous number of eggs/embryos along the way in each of our cycles, so I’m constantly bracing myself for the worst.
But that’s not to say I’m not trying to stay as positive as a bluebird on LSD, holding out crazy amounts of hope for my miracle embabies. I’m sitting in my acupuncturist’s clinic waiting to see how she wants to up the girls’ pre-fertilisation game (there will, however, be no cupping, I assure).
Keith and Michelle Clark watched “This Old House’’ for years. Open houses were their idea of the perfect date.
So when the family of four left a cookie-cutter home in Texas in 2016 to move to Omaha for Keith’s new job at Mutual of Omaha, the Clarks knew just what they wanted: a craftsman house with all of its wood charm and unique features.
“It doesn’t go out of style,’’ Keith says. “With its good craftsmanship and great design, it holds up over time.’’
They also prefer older neighborhoods, and a five-bedroom peach home they found near the University of Nebraska at Omaha was intriguing.
After spotting the lemonade stand down the street, they were willing to look past the stucco exterior and an all-glass enclosure on the south side of the now 4,500-square-foot home. Reports that 10 kids already lived on the block sealed the deal.
“The architecture and double lot and a true neighborhood put us over the top,’’ Michelle says.
Still, the façade of the 1918 house didn’t look right. Keith’s research at the W. Dale Clark Main Library uncovered a World-Herald newspaper article with a picture of the house in 1937.
“Someone had neutered the overhangs and eaves,’’ Keith says.
The eaves were flush with the house; no overhangs remained.
That was the jumping off point of an ambitious renovation that restored the eaves and overhangs, removed the glass room, added 1,800 square feet on two levels, replaced most of the windows, added a wraparound porch, replaced stucco with siding and repainted the house a historic blue.
That was just the outside. The family lived out of the kitchen for nearly five months while Phase I of construction was completed inside. The addition created a family room and master bedroom suite. Every bedroom now has a walk-in closet, a rarity in Dundee. Insulation was blown in.
The Clarks, who worked with Andy Hearn of T Hurt Construction and Paul Kelly of PJK Architecture, were meticulous about the restoration of the house, built by Norris and Norris. Keith did hours of research, and the couple found inspiration for trim and styling choices in a comparable home in the Field Club neighborhood.
Gone are the rosettes that had been added to the casements and crown moldings. The fireplace surround in the living room now matches the penny tile in the redone downstairs powder room. The mantle has the same corbels as the exterior façade.
Michelle said Hearn was amazed that they wanted to transform the house to its original appearance. Its craftsman roots, however, ensures that it still looks fresh and current.
For the Clarks, the project is a dream come true. “It was years and years of wishing and hoping we could do this,’’ Michelle says.
It was also the first time they made improvements that they could enjoy instead of just doing upgrades to sell a home, as was the case in Detroit and San Antonio.
“We wanted to do it for us,’’ Michelle says.
Phase II will involve a redo of the 1980s kitchen and a second floor bathroom. In Phase III — far down the road — a bathroom likely will be added to the third floor.
Michelle says the only thing she regrets is not putting in a heated floor in the master bath.
This is probably not the right time of the year to write or post about anything related to enjoying the sun as it is peak summer in India. But then who can resist the charm of spending some time in a plant-laden sunroom. Sunrooms need no season or reason as the magic of sunlight and sun-kissed plants are a good enough to indulge or dream about. It does not matter which season you are living through for you can always find moments and benefits of spending time soaking in a bit of the gentle sun.
Sunrooms give us the best of both the worlds; warmth, security and comfort of home with views and stories of outside. With weather getting more and more unpredictable, sunrooms give us a chance to witness the seasons, the colors, the changes, from the comfort of your home.
I do not have a sunroom but will never give up a chance on having one, at least once in my lifetime. There is something about these rooms of glass that let inside the magical rays of sun, the vistas of green gardens, and connects your world with the outside. Of course, there also needs to be a view worthy of opening up your house with walls of glass.
While we drool over the sunrooms and green conservatories, wise men and women had invented them for all practical reasons. People from cold climes and grey weather had to make use of whatever little sunshine came in their lives.
Whereas in India, going by the ancient wisdom of Vaastu (which makes a lot of sense from the sunlight perspective) most of the Indian households either face the east or west direction. The main doors, windows and cooking areas are exposed to the rising or setting sun, letting in abundant sunlight that not only disinfects the areas but also brings in the bright positive energy that man benefits from. Not to mention the how much our bodies needs sunlight for the essential Vitamin D.
Sunrooms are not restricted to huge houses that have the luxury of creating an additional structure. Sunrooms can be made anywhere. It is about opening a part of your house to the have the sunlight in. Nowadays, apartment owners are converting a good part of the balconies into sunrooms. Houses now are doing away with the brick and concrete walls and trading in for glass. Windows are increasingly getting bigger and better. But I still fancy the good ol sunroom that is almost a separate structure, yet an extension of the house.
Sun rooms have the potential to become ideal places to live, cook, entertain, play, study, paint, work and even sleep. These are peaceful retreats where every little thing feels like celebration of life.
The thing that adds life to the sunrooms are plants, plants and more plants. It is symbiotic that sunrooms look lush with plants, keeping it cool and oygeneted and in turn there there is plenty of sunlight for the plants to thrive. While there are many sunroom styles ranging from hi-tech, modern to ornate… simple sunrooms with lots of sunlight and thousands of plants works for me.
Here are some of the sunrooms that I came across and have bookmarked them. They not only serve as an inspiration but also keep reminding me to have one of my own someday soon. Enjoy.
Its the bright sunlight that makes sunrooms so inviting. Life-giving sunshine filters through the glass and happy leaves casting a dreamy spell. Wood, wicker and plants never fail to warm your mind, body and soul.
What an absolute delight to cook, eat and entertain in these sunlit spaces. Though this may not be practical in tropical countries at all times of the day, it still makes morning and evening meal making so endearing. So perfect. Image Source
White can be too bright for a sunroom that is flooded with sunlight. Tone it down with contrasting colors. For colder climes and grey weather, this color works.
Im caught off guard with use of this color in the sunroom. And that means any color could work. Even if it didn’t, there would be enough sunlight and plants to salvage the situation. Image Source
Sober, warm, rustic, and neat. With the bamboo blinds down, this can be quiet a place for the afternoon siesta. And a great place to call it a day… hot beverage, book, warm lights, happy plants, earthy accents. It is so perfect.
Make hay while the sun shines now better translates to make power when the sun shines. What better way than having your sun-room harvest solar energy. An amazing green idea that should be a must-do for all sunrooms.
I love it that you have wandered till here and are still reading… which means you are probably as crazy as I am (or more) about these sunlit spaces. So tell me what is your style? How do you imagine your sunroom to look like? Do share so that I can hopelessly fall in love with more sunrooms, once again.
The sun had not set so much as been swallowed by grey storm clouds one November evening in Galle Fort, along the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The packs of teens with selfie sticks, giddy newlyweds walking with intertwined fingers and dads with gigantic DSLR cameras had all been promised a spectacular sunset, and so they’d stationed themselves along the 16th-century wall, hoping the cloud cover would pass and they’d see the sky turn the colour of cotton candy and the sun sink into the Indian Ocean. It never happened.
In an instant, a heavy rain came down and the dozens of tourists who’d gathered ran for shelter, away from the water. But it didn’t matter – the better sights were away from the shoreline anyhow.
When it comes to tourist draws, Sri Lanka is known best for its beaches: those lined with palm trees in Mirissa, the whale-watching ones in Kalpitiya, the kind that draw surfers in Arugam Bay.
But I didn’t so much as dip a toe in the Indian Ocean on this journey. I had come here to explore how, in the aftermath of a long civil war and a catastrophic tsunami, this tiny island country has quietly established itself as a design destination.
The trip that took me from the southern coast up to the capital was a journey through both space and time.
I saw some of the continent’s best preserved Dutch colonial architecture from the 18th century in Galle, the modernist design that blossomed on the island in the second half of the 20th century in Bentota and the best of contemporary art and design that has emerged in the postwar era in Colombo.
Dutch colonialism in Galle Fort
On account of the sunset-interrupting rain, dinner service had started early that day at the Fort Printers hotel. By 7 p.m., the dining room was full of couples trading bites of Sri Lankan lobster curry and lamb tagine as their umbrellas made small puddles on the floor.
The bones of the Fort Printers hadn’t changed much since it was built in the 18th century. From the wide, arched doorways to the wood-shuttered windows, all details unique to colonial architecture of the time were preserved by mandate of UNESCO, as is the case with all other buildings constructed during that period within the fort. In its many lives, the Fort Printers was a school, a bank, a printing press and now a hotel (my room for three nights, on the top level, was once the headmaster’s office when the building was used as a school). Since its construction, one of the only changes permitted was the addition of a narrow pool flanked by frangipani trees, Petar Prokic, the residence manager at the hotel and restaurant, told me.
“It’s because we put it in in 2005, just after the tsunami, when the country was still at war,” Prokic explained with a nervous chuckle. “They’d never let us do it today.”
He saw the reservation log from 2005, the year after the Boxing Day tsunami, when the country was still in the throes of what would be a 25-year civil war: There were five reservations, for the entire year. The war ended in 2009 and until then many foreign tourists wrote off Sri Lanka as too dangerous to visit. The few souls that ventured to this part of the country were rewarded for their bravery with incredibly long journeys, as the road between Colombo and Galle was littered with military checkpoints.
The quietness of that time remained during my mornings within the fort. The streets were silent save for the occasional polite “watch out, pedestrians, I’m coming up behind you” honk from a passing scooter, or the familiar bars of Fur Elise (as composed for an arcade game) that played from the speakers of passing auto rickshaws that sold fresh bread.
By afternoon, when we set out to find a late lunch (one afternoon at A Minute By Tuk Tuk, where I feasted on a plate of grilled prawns; the next day at Poonie’s Kitchen, which serves a killer salad thali) the streets were alive. There were packs of German and British tourists toting Lonely Planet guides and parents on scooters, picking up their daughters in starched white uniforms from the all-girls’ school in the centre of town. The whole fort could be explored on foot, without a map, in a day. But I’m married to an architect who likes to admire nice joinery, so we needed a full 2 1/2 days to properly stare at, photograph and comment on the impressive gables on the Dutch Reformed Church, the stately courtyards and restored teak beams on the house-to-inn conversions, the thick walls at the National Maritime Museum and Old Dutch Hospital, the latter of which has been converted into a shopping and eating hub.
After dinner each night we’d wander the winding streets, peeking in through the windows of the Dutch colonial homes that hadn’t hung curtains. Though the exteriors were in keeping with UNESCO’s strict guidelines on colours (ash, light yellow and white were permitted), finishes and doors in keeping with the original design of the properties, many current owners had furnished their spaces with the colonial furniture that become popular during the British rule. They arranged their elegantly curved cane-woven planter’s chairs and long teak benches around the living-room TV, where they watched cricket matches or the evening news or, on a few occasions, looked out the window to return our curious stares.
Tropical modernism in Bentota
It was almost noon, the sun cresting in the sky, when our car pulled up beside a group of farmers standing in a field, whacking at tall green stalks with their blades.
Our driver rolled down his window to confirm we were on the right path to our destination. “Lunuganga?” he asked, interrupting the half-dozen farmers who had been loudly chatting in Sinhala, naming the estate we were looking for.
They beamed knowingly. “Geoffrey Bawa?” they asked in reply. Our driver nodded and they pointed down the road.
The late Bawa, the Frank Lloyd Wright of Sri Lanka, is a household name here. His most famous work is in Colombo – the Sri Lankan Parliament building, the Seema Malaka Buddhist temple – but here, to his former country estate in Bentota, halfway between Galle and Colombo, to see the best example of the style of architecture he pioneered: tropical modernism. On a previous trip to Sri Lanka, we visited C. Anjalendran, an architect who studied under Bawa, who insisted that this was the best place to observe his mentor’s genius.
Before Bawa bought the land in 1948, it was a rubber plantation and before that, a cinnamon estate. Now the landscape, marked by mahogany, jack and blue olive trees, seemed inspired by an English garden but with a certain wild, untamed quality: moss-covered concrete stairs that led up to Bawa’s buildings echoed the terraced land around it, simple concrete structures framed spectacular panoramas of wide green fields, an intentional clearing in the trees opened up the view over Cinnamon Hill. There was no prize-winning rose garden. Vines that hadn’t been pruned back in ages had twisted recklessly over small buildings, becoming secondary roofs.
Included in the garden tour was a traditional thali lunch – rice with nine Sri Lankan side dishes, including shrimp curry and gotu kola sambol (shredded greens with coconut) – eaten on the back patio of one of the many tasteful properties on the estate. The interiors were luxe, but, like all of Bawa’s work, gave importance to local context: the palette was mostly stark black and white with a few nods to the natural surroundings in pops of green, brown and beige.
After lunch, Lahiru, our guide from the garden tour let us explore a bit more, and we caught a few glimpses of the envy-inspiring guests who had booked one of the property’s six vacation suites. I broke away from Lahiru for a moment to stand under the Glass Room, a suspended windowed suite that was the bridge between two other buildings on the grounds that Bawa designed in the eighties, and it was then that I realized why Anjalendran was so adamant we visit this place. A woman in a tank top and shorts was lounging in an easy chair under the gabled roof with exposed beams and through the glass behind her, I could see a thick tangle of foliage planted behind the building. Even in this modern space, the wild exterior was within reach.
After seeing preserved colonial architecture in Galle and Bawa’s 20th-century vision in Bentota, it made sense to end our trip jumping to the present, to Colombo: the most aggressively contemporary part of the country. Construction crews were at work building luxury hotels on the city’s waterfront – a major development project that had been stalled for decades by the war – and the art world, too, was also trying to make up for lost time.
“Where I find Sri Lankan art is strong lies in its history,” Annoushka Hempel, the founding director of the Colombo Art Biennale (which had its fourth run in December), told me in her eponymous Colombo gallery. “[The war] isolated it from most of the region and world.”
From that incubator, paintings, photographs and installations that dwell particularly on themes of identity, conflict, loss, separation and memory have flowed out – many by young, emerging artists. When we visited, the chic Saskia Fernando Gallery was exhibiting a series of haunting photographs of rescued family albums washed up on a shore in the final stages of the country’s civil war. But not everything was as sobering.
After a lunch of red-snapper head cooked in a creamy red curry and thick, crispy slices of fried fish at Upali’s in Cinnamon Gardens, we jetted south to the Colombo 3 district, home to Barefoot, a bright gallery and shop whose wares borrowed from the traditions of Indian craft but were injected with a playful, uniquely Sri Lankan vibe: highly pigmented cotton sarongs, dumbara-woven tablecloths, wild-boar stuffies in orange and red plaid. Most alluring was the shop-within-a-shop for Stick No Bills, a purveyor of cheeky, mod Sri Lankan posters. Some designs were actually pulled from the archives and restored such as the smart 1950s-era Air Ceylon ads), others were new designs, evoking that impossibly slick mid-century aesthetic and casting Sri Lanka as a glamorous, stylish travel destination. It was as if they’d been carefully preserved in a time capsule during the war and now were now being reissued.
Colombo is such a small and manageable capital city that three days was enough time to pick up on the city’s patterns and to establish routines, as if we were locals. We avoided travelling at rush hour with one exception, and as a result had no trouble hailing a metered taxi or calling an Uber to jet around the city. We spent our evenings with what felt like a large swath of the city’s middle class, sitting on a bench at Galle Face, a seaside park, and snacking on freshly fried sticks of jackfruit in white paper sleeves and little bags of tart mango slices tossed in chili we bought from boardwalk vendors. With the exception of one splurge dinner at the famed Ministry of Crab, we relished meals at local kades (small shops or eateries), where a family-sized portion of red rice was served with vegetables, sambols, pickles and any combination of fiery meat and fish curries one’s heart desired. We ate till we were full, ambled about and looked at art till we were hungry again and then repeated the cycle.
Surprisingly, our favourite stop on our eat-and-art crawl was the unassuming Sapumal Foundation, a gorgeous, rambling bungalow down the same quiet lane as Hempel Galleries. The house was originally occupied by Harry Peiris, an iconic portrait artist and the founder of Sri Lanka’s influential ‘43 Group, but now resembled the comfy home of a serious art collector. I wouldn’t be surprised if the endless rooms filled with Peiris’s work and that of comrades George Keyt, Lionel Wendt and Ivan Peries might be the largest private collection of art, private or public, in the country.
Though the art on display was the least appealing to us, the one space we returned to again and again was Paradise Road Galleries (the former office of Bawa) which was just a short walk from Colombo Courtyard, a hotel we’d booked for its proximity to so many design points of interest. The space was moody and stylish, a contemporary restoration of a colonial bungalow, and – because it housed an upscale restaurant – that seemed to be thriving the most of all we visited (and had the best-curated gift shop of any I’d seen in the country).
On my third visit to Paradise Road, which was just meant to be for dessert, it was raining lightly outside. As soon as I stepped into the long, white-washed hallway in front of the courtyard, the most jaw-dropping part of the property (and where much of the art is displayed), I stopped, mesmerized. The narrow pool that cut through the centre of the courtyard had come alive. The pool’s inky water, which would otherwise sit undisturbed, was brought to life by the raindrops dancing on its surface. It seemed like a perfectly executed art installation, but was merely nature entering a space as it was designed to do. “Really,” I thought, while snapping one mediocre photo after another, “who needs the beach?”
If you go
Fly to from Toronto to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo via London with SriLankan Airlines. You can hire a taxi to take you to Bentota and then on to Galle. Head to the Galle railway station just outside Galle Fort and buy an inexpensive same-day ticket to return to Colombo – make sure you sit on the side of the car where you’ll get an ocean view for much of the journey.
In Colombo, the sustainability-focused Colombo Courtyard Hotel is the base to explore some of the city’s best design attractions by foot (the rest are a not-so-far taxi or metered tuk tuk ride away). On lazy or rainy days, the hotel is a gallery unto itself, which displays the inventive sculptures of Prageeth Manohansa and drawings of Anup Vega among others. Rooms from $112.
For architecture buffs, the Fort Printers hotel is the best place to rest your head in Galle Fort. The property has been impeccably maintained in a way that preserves its 18th-century roots but with (UNESCO-approved) contemporary touches so it doesn’t feel stodgy or museum-like. Opt for the Sri Lankan-style breakfast by the pool and at least one lunch or dinner at the restaurant, which offers Mediterranean and nouveau Sri Lankan cuisine. Rooms from $212.
The art and design must-sees
In Colombo: Sapumal Foundation, Paradise Road Galleries, Saskia Fernando Gallery, Hempel Galleries, Barefoot, No. 11 (home of Geoffrey Bawa)
In Galle Fort: Dutch Reformed Church, Old Dutch Hospital, Meera Mosque, Stick No Bills
The writer’s stays at The Fort Printers and Colombo Courtyard were covered by the hotels. Part of her travel was sponsored by SriLankan Airlines. They did not review or approve this article.
Women who return to work after childbirth face a number of obstacles, including the need to breastfeed their babies or, at least, to pump milk so that their child can have access to fresh nourishment. In order to help them transition back from pregnancy to a regular work schedule, lawmakers have stepped in and demanded that employers provide a helping hand by creating a dedicated breastfeeding room in the workspace.
Why Are Employers Required to Provide Breastfeeding Facilities?
A breastfeeding room is more than a mere convenience for women who are returning to work after delivering their babies; it’s the law. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers must create a separate room in which women can breastfeed or pump milk.
Various state laws also make provisions for breastfeeding. The goal is to make the workspace a more hospitable place for everyone, and smart employers should treat the guidelines as an opportunity rather than a burden.
For starters, they must allow women to take breastfeeding breaks for up to one year after they give birth. Not only that, but they must also provide mothers a separate space in which they can express milk.
It doesn’t matter how big or small the business is. The law applies to every workplace, with only one exception—companies with less than 50 employees if they can prove they would suffer “undue hardship” if made to comply.
Lactation Room Guidelines
Lactation room requirements for employers aren’t onerous, but the government does expect employers to follow a few basic standards for every lactation room at work. It cannot be a bathroom, but it need not be a permanent area, either. It must be private, clean, and close to the workspace. It must also be available whenever a woman needs to breastfeed.
In other words, you can’t repurpose a bathroom stall and call it a “breastfeeding room.” You can’t open up a broom closet and force women to pump milk in unsanitary conditions. You can’t locate the room a mile away, at another facility, and expect your employees to hike long distances every time they need to pump milk.
So, how can a business comply with federal requirements for lactation rooms? What do they need to make their employees’ lives easier and their businesses run smoother?
Finding the Best Lactation Room Designs
The simplest and best solution is to erect a breastfeeding room divider made of smoked, frosted, black, or laminated glass. By installing a partition, employers can skip the hassle. No need to renovate existing rooms. No need to construct new ones. The best part is that a glass partition offers privacy, cleanliness, and ease of access—all in one package.
Behind the partition, employers can include as many amenities as they want—sinks, mirrors, couches, pump outlets, refrigerators etc. With room dividers from Space Plus, a division of The Sliding Door Company, employers have even more options. They can install a lock on the door so women know they can breastfeed without worrying that others will be barging in. They can order a door with black opaque glass for maximum privacy. With us, businesses also can get a beautiful design, easy installation, and ADA-compliant handles and locks.
Want to find out how your business can use our high-quality glass room dividers to help empower women in the workforce? Take a look at our catalog to see what we have to offer.
Who wouldn’t want to unwrap a Jo Malone gift set this Christmas? Let’s be honest, most people would LOVE to find one of those little beauties sat under their tree on December 25, all wrapped with a shiny black bow.
But with price tags exceeding £200, the chances of Santa bringing you one is actually quite minimal…
Luckily, that’s where Aldi comes in. Earlier this year, the budget supermarket launched its own range of Jo Malone-inspired candles and to say they sold like hot cakes would be an understatement. At £3.99 a pop, the whole world and its dog got in on the action, leaving the shelves bare.
This Christmas, Aldi is sprinkling its magic again by launching its very own Jo Malone-inspired gift sets.
Among the range is a luxury three-piece set, containing a trio of travel-size candles for just £9.99. Coming in a choice of two scents, Lime, Basil & Mandarin, Pomegranate Noir, and Freesia & Pear or Orris & Sandalwood, Sage & Sea Salt and Red Roses, these little wax delights will certainly lift spirits in January.
More importantly, given that one single Jo Malone candle can set you back £23, this is a bargain not to be sniffed at – quite literally.
Meanwhile, Aldi is also offering a Luxury Diffuser Gift Set, also priced at £9.99. Again, similar diffusers flew off the supermarket’s shelves back in September, so you’d best get in there quick.
The set is available in two ‘trios’ of scent combinations: Lime, Basil & Mandarin, Pomegranate Noir, and Freesia & Pear or Orris & Sandalwood, Wood Sage & Sea Salt and Red Roses. Together with the candle gift set, it goes on sale in store on Friday 7 December.
Meanwhile, if this isn’t enough to fill a loved one’s stocking, or if you just simply fancy filling your own, Aldi is currently selling a giant three-wick centrepiece candle for £9.99.
Just to compare, a similar Jo Malone candle will leave you £120 lighter… Oh, and there’s a £3.49 Premium Glass Room Spray on sale at the moment too – if they’ve got any left.
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