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More Cambodian students keen to design future

Visitors, many of them students, mill about at the inaugural Cambodia Architect and Decor exhibition last year. Photo supplied
Visitors, many of them students, mill about at the inaugural Cambodia Architect and Decor exhibition last year. Photo supplied

More Cambodian students keen to design future

From June 8 to 10, the Cambodia Architect and Decor exhibition will be held at Koh Pich’s convention and exhibition centre. With the theme “Sustainable and Innovative Living”, this event represents the country’s second international exhibition on architecture, building materials, interior design, and furniture and decor.

Anjiveat Vhongthong, project manager for ICVeX, the organizer of the event, said: “In a country where construction is booming, it is also a good opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of architecture and quality construction. The event will host an educational seminar and a student design competition to engage future architects on these subjects.”

Participants this year stand at 150 local and international companies, with 4,000 visitors expected to turnout for the event based on the success of last year’s debut.

Chhay Kim Chiv, an interior design specialist for architecture at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA), noted that the number of students majoring in architecture had surged to almost 300 per intake in the last five years. “There’s a big market for those who graduate with interior design and architecture degrees. They mostly work in local and international companies whereas some others team up and form small companies to do freelance projects,” said Kim Chiv.

Students from RUFA’s school of architecture and interior design are regular participants of design competitions among ASEAN countries. For this particular exhibition, however, Chiv was unsure how many RUFA students would be joining in the student design competition.

He elaborated that the modules taught in RUFA’s architecture and interior design degrees entailed 80 percent of knowledge on traditional Khmer designs and curves, with the remaining 20 percent focused on architecture from across the globe and cultures.

“Decorating the interior with Khmer design is very popular for hotels, particularly in Siem Reap,” Chiv added.

Local interior designer Seng Sokleap – a 2015 RUFA graduate – who works at a Chinese architecture company in Phnom Penh, shed some light on the interior design market in Cambodia: “When we offer our services to customers, I would get new ideas or experiences from my seniors, especially from developers who sometimes suggest a lot of ideas to us. Knowledge from school and workshops is 50 percent of our job, while the other half is based on our own evolving creativity and brainstorming with the developers and team leaders.”

Similarly, Moeun Soklay, an interior designer at LomOr Kon Khmer which offers interior decor services to all kinds of buildings, including houses, shops, apartments, and condos said, “As an interior designer, we always base our concept on what we learned in school and have to always stay up-to-date with the trends and projects in real life through our own initiatives, while being a team player with our fellow creative colleagues and team leaders.”​

A previous version of this article attributed the comments of Anjiveat Vhongthong to someone else. The Post apologises for any confusion caused.

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