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Design & Lifestyle / Featured

Help, I’m trapped in a box

Help, I’m trapped in a box

Prisons and condominiums have a lot in common when you think about it. It’s all about a series of four walls. Walls, more walls, and still more walls. Endless walls everywhere. Of course Donald Trump wants to build his own wall but Mexico has blankly said no change to the presumptive presidential nominee.

Yet, we digress and the real purpose of my tone-def ally rant is on the subject how condo design has become so wrapped in chains that it’s nearly a mythical old-school Game of Thrones episode that starts down in some deep dank cellar beneath the earth. Over the past decade Thailand’s blossoming rising consumer class has created a legion of entry level buyers for small properties. By small I am taking 18-22 square meter boxes.

It’s hard to tag this space, we can nicely call it entry level. Or perhaps take on a marketing hat and say affordable or even the more deceptive budget luxury. One of my personal favorite lines has to be Mickey Mouse flats, which adequately points to the fact that a small rodent indeed might find the space an adequate living area. Too bad if you happen to be a human being though.

While I too once lived in a college dorm room and can accept small spaces, the matter become more complicated once developers try to lump in one, two, or even more bedrooms in spaces that range from 32 square meters up to say about 80 square meters. This is Southeast Asia after all and not Japan.

Size of course is driven by price and price is an absolute in today’s terms. Hence sizing keeps getting hit on the head by a hammer by over-anxious projects that want to enlarge their demographic to taking into account even lower budget buyers. For end-users the results are chaotic and the real acid test is checking out the nearest Starbucks or shopping mall late in the evening to see Zombie-like condo owners walking the streets, afraid to go home to the horrors of their little cages.

At the end the day, my thoughts are go big or go home. This is predicated that home is not a small box, but a place you can actually site in a living room without having your legs extend into the nearest bedroom box.

 

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Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements at key events and spends substantial time with his feet on the ground on research projects and gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

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