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Going with Feng Shui Flow Makes Practical Sense

By on Jan 31, 2012 in Property News

Published on Bangkok Post dated 29 January 2012 by Aliwassa Pathnadabutr, Managing Director of CBRE Thailand

Even for those who don’t subscribe to the beliefs, many principles of the ancient art are rational and in line with buyers’ preferences

December and January usually indicate a low season for property sales as Thais celebrate the traditional New Year and the Chinese New Year. Thais and Chinese have close ties culturally, and these days many Thais seem to believe in Chinese astrology and feng shui.

Feng shui translates literally to “wind and water” and is based on a belief in patterns of the opposing but complementary forces of yin and yang and the flow of chi (energy). It is the Chinese practice of positioning objects, especially buildings and furniture, based on these patterns and energy. In the tradition of feng shui, the way a home is decorated and designed affects the fortunes of its residents.

I am not a feng shui expert, but in the property industry it is an area that cannot be neglected as more and more buyers put faith in it. As property agents, we know how feng shui can be either a deal closer or a deal breaker.

One feng shui master said that it is important to choose the right timing and location to associate with positive forces. This involves considering direction, timing, location and horoscope.

Today feng shui is practised by many people around the world, including Westerners. There are a wealth of theories on the subject, but it comes down to each individual’s beliefs and what they feel comfortable in implementing.

I have had the opportunity to listen to several feng shui masters and, combined with a knowledge of building design and customer feedback, I find that many feng shui principles are rational and in line with customers’ preferences. Below are examples:

1. Building structure: According to feng shui principles, buildings with curved structures are preferable to buildings with sharp angles, which represent the fire element and therefore are not ideal for residential purposes. And from a design point of view, buildings with sharp angles often have less efficient floor space and do not work well for residential developments, particularly if the building is sharp on top, thereby reducing the usable area on upper floors. Experience shows that rectangular floor plates work best for residential developments, but a slightly curved structure makes the design and architecture more interesting. However, a structure that is too curved can lose its functionality, so balance is needed.

2. Ventilation: Feng shui places a high value on good ventilation and air flow, especially in living areas and bedrooms. All rooms should have windows, although this may not be possible for smaller condominium units due to space and design constraints. Larger units and houses should be carefully designed to ensure that all rooms are well ventilated and have enough windows, including in the kitchen and bathrooms, as this will be a major advantage in selling the property.

3. Water features: According to feng shui principles, water features should be incorporated in the home. For houses, adding a fish or lotus pond is an attractive feature, as well as advisable from a feng shui perspective. For condominiums, one can add a fish tank or if possible select properties with a view of a river, lake or sea.

4. Access, entrance and exit: Good access to your home or building is considered desirable in feng shui, and again this makes sense from a design perspective. Access should be convenient, and if you live in a condominium there should be good traffic flow inside the car park and the entrance should be prominent, clearly marked and easily visible, particularly at night.

5. Lighting: Lighting is an important consideration in feng shui and in design in general. Exterior and interior lighting should be bright, particularly for commercial buildings. For example, 7-Eleven convenience stores are a good example of lighting that helps customers to easily locate the store and draws them into it.

6. Unit features: Feng shui principles consider many factors relating to the internal layout of a unit. Most attention should be paid to the master bedroom and living area. The living area should draw the “yang energy” _ it should be airy, bright with good ventilation and a lot of movement. This is one of the reasons why the balcony should be off the living room rather than bedrooms as a balcony provides movement from the natural environment. This makes sense both from a design and a feng shui viewpoint.

In the bedrooms, the bed headboard should not share a wall with toilets. This is underpinned on the belief that it will attract bad health. From a design viewpoint, it would also be noisy. Feng shui principles say mirrors should not be placed opposite the bed, and this is also practical from a design perspective because most people don’t want to see their reflections upon waking up at night. Most feng shui experts do not recommend having mirrors in the bedroom at all as a mirror represent the “yang energy” that creates activities, while a bed represents the “yin energy” that represents peace. Mirrors are more suitable for common areas of the residence such as living and dining spaces.

7. Direction: Preference in direction is not fixed in feng shui and depends on many variables. Most Asians also do not like west-facing units due to heat from the sunset, but will take them for good views. Buildings with good west-facing views such as The Lake, St Regis Residences and 185 Rajadamri have no problem being sold.

8. Colour scheme: Dark colours are to be avoided in some situations according to feng shui, and in general the majority of buyers prefer a light colour scheme. Black or dark colours are incorporated mainly in combination with other colours, and should be avoided altogether in front of residential buildings or entrances.

At the end of the day, whatever is recommended based on feng shui principles should be practical and functional if it is to be implemented. One needs to balance beliefs with practicality.

Aliwassa has been the Managing Director οf CBRE Thailand for a number of years. As a Thai national, Aliwassa is extremely knowledgeable about the sale of property in Thailand, specifically large scale high value condominium developments largely in Bangkok.

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