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- Breaking Stereotypes in Professions
The aim of this photographic exhibition is to break the perception that certain professions are stereotyped based on gender, orientation, physical appearance and stature, spiritual/ religious beliefs, race and ethnic origin, socioeconomic background and more. The Malta Federation of Professional Associations, MFPA, wants to show that where there is vocation towards a specific profession, no individual should feel that it is not the right profession for them simply because of some stereotype that society might have attached to that profession. This exhibition features how local professionals have broken a believed stereotype in their respective profession. Individuals who help others with mental health difficulties, are not precluded from suffering mental health difficulties themselves. A physical disability does not mean that one cannot practice the profession they love or studied for. Being a male does not mean that you cannot embrace a healthcare profession addressing children. Having tattoos certainly does not mean that you cannot be a professional. Females should definitely not feel precluded from pursuing a profession which is typically predominantly pursued by males. MFPA chose to portray this exhibition during EuroPride 2023 to further show its belief in the importance of inclusion and diversity.
- Avoid Dark Materials & Colours on Your Malta Home Facade
As the Mediterranean climate continues to grapple with more intense and frequent heatwaves, residents of Malta must take proactive measures to mitigate the impact of rising temperatures on their homes. While the aesthetics of black or dark-coloured cladding may appeal to some, it is crucial to understand the science behind its thermal properties and why it's not the best choice for a sunny island like Malta. In recent years, the Mediterranean region, including Malta, has experienced an increase in heatwaves due to climate change. These extreme periods of high temperatures can have adverse effects on human health, agriculture, and the environment. Choosing the right materials for your home's exterior can play a vital role in managing indoor temperatures and reducing the reliance on energy-consuming cooling systems. The colour of a material determines how it interacts with sunlight. Dark colour, such as black, have a low albedo, which means they absorb more solar radiation. When your home is covered in dark cladding, it acts like a heat sponge, absorbing the sun's rays and transferring that heat inside. This results in higher indoor temperatures, making your living spaces uncomfortably hot during heatwaves. Malta's urban areas are already susceptible to the "urban heat island" effect, where buildings and concrete surfaces absorb and retain heat, causing localised temperature spikes. Dark cladding exacerbates this issue, making the urban environment even hotter. As a collective, choosing lighter-coloured cladding can help mitigate the urban heat island effect and contribute to a more pleasant living environment. Opting for light-coloured or reflective cladding materials can significantly reduce solar heat gain. These materials possess a higher albedo, reflecting a larger portion of solar radiation away from the building. As a result, your home remains cooler during heatwaves, reducing the need for excessive air conditioning and lowering energy consumption. The choice of cladding materials can have a substantial impact on your household's energy consumption and utility bills. By using light-coloured materials that reflect solar radiation, you can reduce the need for air conditioning, thus cutting down on electricity consumption and saving on energy costs. This not only benefits your wallet but also helps decrease the overall demand for energy, reducing Malta's carbon footprint. As the world increasingly embraces sustainable practices, choosing light-coloured cladding aligns with the global push for eco-friendly solutions. By opting for materials with higher reflectivity, you contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and foster a greener and more resilient Malta. In conclusion, when it comes to cladding your home in Malta, it's essential to consider the implications of your material choices on indoor comfort, energy consumption, and the environment. The science is clear: dark-coloured cladding exacerbates heatwaves and the urban heat island effect, leading to higher indoor temperatures and increased energy usage. Choosing light-coloured or reflective materials for your home's exterior is a scientifically-backed solution to combat the challenges posed by rising temperatures and heatwaves. By making this simple yet impactful change, you can enjoy a cooler home, reduce your ecological footprint, and contribute to a more sustainable future for Malta and the Mediterranean region as a whole.
- Executive Council of the Chamber of Engineers for 2023/2024
The first Council Meeting for the term 2023-2024 was held on 07th March 2023 following the Annual General Meeting of the 24th of February 2023. The Executive Council for the term 2023-2024 shall be composed as follows: Inġ. Malcolm Zammit – President Inġ. Robert Busuttil – Vice-President Dr Inġ. Bonnie Attard – Secretary General Inġ. Johan Psaila – Treasurer Inġ. Denise Baldacchino – Public Relations Officer Inġ. Michelle Cortis – International Affairs Secretary Inġ. David Scicluna Giusti – Activities Secretary Inġ. Simon Abela – Membership Secretary Mr Alex Tanti – Funding Secretary Inġ. Claire Grima – Education and Training Secretary Mr Stephen-Paul Boffa – Student Member The Council would like to thank outgoing member Ms Zachea Scicluna for her service to the profession and the engineering student community, through the role of Student Member which she held on the Chamber’s Council during the last term. The newly appointed Council is energised to continue representing the engineering profession through the 2023-2024 term. The Council encourages engineers to keep joining the Chamber of Engineers to support the work being done for the profession and society. The Executive Council looks forward to further collaboration with colleagues to continue advancing the engineering profession in Malta.
- Know the difference - Interior Designer or Interior Decorator?
Interior designers and interior decorators are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. While both professionals focus on enhancing the appearance and functionality of interior spaces, there are significant differences between them. In this blog post, we'll explore the differences between an interior designer and an interior decorator to help you understand which one you need for your project. Interior Designer An interior designer is a professional who specialises in designing the layout and functionality of interior spaces. They have formal training and education in interior design and possess a deep understanding of construction, building codes, and safety regulations. They work with architects, builders, and contractors to create plans for interior spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Interior designers are responsible for a wide range of tasks, including space planning, creating 3D models, selecting colours and materials, creating lighting plans, specifying furniture, and overseeing the installation of interior design elements. They work closely with clients to understand their needs, preferences, and budgets, and use their expertise to design interiors that meet their specific requirements. Interior Decorator An interior decorator, on the other hand, is a professional who focuses on the aesthetics of interior spaces. They do not have the same formal education and training as interior designers, but they have a keen eye for design and a deep understanding of color, texture, and style. Interior decorators work with clients to select and arrange furniture, artwork, lighting, and accessories to create a cohesive and visually appealing space. Interior decorators work with existing spaces and focus on making changes that enhance the look and feel of the room. They use their knowledge of design principles, color theory, and spatial relationships to create a harmonious and stylish environment. Difference between Interior Designer and Interior Decorator The main difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator is their level of education and training. Interior designers typically have formal education and training in interior design, architecture, or a related field, while interior decorators do not. This means that interior designers are qualified to handle more complex projects, such as designing a new home or commercial space, while interior decorators are better suited to smaller projects, such as redecorating a single room or choosing accessories for an existing space. Another key difference between interior designers and interior decorators is their scope of work. Interior designers are responsible for the overall design of a space, including its functionality, layout, and aesthetics. They work closely with architects and builders to ensure that their design plans are feasible and meet building codes and safety regulations. Interior decorators, on the other hand, focus solely on the aesthetics of a space and do not typically get involved in the construction or renovation process. Conclusion Whether you need an interior designer or an interior decorator depends on the scope of your project and your specific needs. If you are planning a major renovation or new construction project, an interior designer is likely the best choice. If you are simply looking to refresh the look of an existing space, an interior decorator may be a better option. Regardless of which professional you choose, it's important to work with someone who understands your vision and can help you achieve the look and functionality you want for your interior space.
- Unveiling the Trailblazing Women of Interior Design History
There are many historical women who have made significant contributions to the interior design industry throughout history. Here are some notable examples: Elsie de Wolfe - Considered the mother of interior design, Elsie de Wolfe was one of the first professional interior designers. She is credited with creating the modern concept of interior decoration, and her work was characterised by light colours, chintz fabrics, and elegant furnishings. Dorothy Draper - Another pioneer of interior design, Dorothy Draper was known for her bold use of colour and pattern. She was a master at combining different styles and eras to create unique, vibrant spaces. Syrie Maugham - Syrie Maugham was a British interior designer who became famous in the 1920s for her "all-white" rooms. She was known for her use of white lacquer and mirrored surfaces, which created a clean, glamorous look. Sister Parish - Sister Parish was an American interior designer who was known for her traditional, cosy style. She was often called upon to decorate the homes of wealthy clients, including several U.S. presidents. Madeleine Castaing - Madeleine Castaing was a French interior designer known for her eclectic, whimsical style. She mixed different styles and eras in her designs, creating a look that was both elegant and playful. These women, and many others like them, played a significant role in shaping the interior design industry as we know it today.
- Press Release - Malta Chamber of Construction Management
In light of recent tragic events that hit the construction industry, the Malta Chamber of Construction Management would like to emphasise the need for professionalism within the construction industry. During the previous months, the chamber concentrated on raising the quality standards through several channels, emphasising the need for further professional development. Obtaining a degree is good but not enough. The construction industry is continuously evolving, thus, all the stakeholders working in it, and this includes the members our chamber represents must make sure to remain alert and upscale their knowledge by further training. One of the main responsibilities of the Construction Project Manager is the setting up of a Quality Assurance structure that monitors all the activities that will be taking place during the whole life cycle of the development. Make sure that all the stakeholders involved are following the checks and balances set at the early stages of the development. Unless such a professional is in place thus taking responsibility of this process, the probability of accidents to happen, increase. As a result, rather than having professionals who work in `silos, it is clear that the industry requires professionals that work together and hand in hand. Professionals that concentrate their efforts and expertise in their specific fields, thus creating an environment that once these specialisations and knowledge are combined, results of the highest quality are achieved. The construction industry cannot keep accepting mediocrity and poor quality. The price being paid is too high. Jesmond Chetcuti President - MCCA
- Valentino Architects - 2022 World Interior Winners
Malta made it to the podium yet again! This time, our ambassador was Valletta-based architecture firm, Valentino Architects, winning the World Interior of the Year award for a Single Residential Dwelling at the World Architecture Festival for 2022. This project uses dramatic light and lines to honour Portelli's unique vision and design sensibility. The World Architecture Festival has been bringing together thousands of architects annually since 2008. Spread over three days, every project entered is discussed by a panel of esteemed judges. 2000 global architects, interior designers, clients, developers, investors, contractors and the industry's media from over 65 countries attend these awards, where they compete in 45 categories, and celebrate their achievements, learn from their peers whilst discovering new products and services. Valentino Architects won the competition for the renovation of Frank Portelli's art studio into his granddaughter's home. The Attard art studio, which has since been turned into a home, features a gorgeous open-air terrace with plenty of natural light; a feature piece across from the kitchen of one of Portelli’s very well-preserved mood boards—kudos to the architects; some of Portelli's hand-written notes and sketches; geometric tiles reflecting Portelli's cubist artworks and murals; a model kitchen adjacent to the terrace with black cabinetry; amongst other extraordinary architectural designs. This refurb was truly a work of art and a very well-deserved award-winning project which made our tiny island proud. Valentino Architects designed the Dean Gera Salon at the Phoenicia Hotel, the E-Cabs booking office and Art Diamond Boutique interior, as well as a number of other residential and commercial projects. View the complete project by visiting La Serenissima. Photoshoot by Ramon Portelli.
- Fixed sizes for doors and windows: Public Consultation launched.
The Building and Construction Authority has just launched a two-week public consultation period about the standardisation of window and door sizes in residential buildings. What are the main aims behind this policy? Easier repair and reuse of apertures; standardised modules for producers to adhere to thus reducing construction waste and production costs. Which are the sizes being proposed? Doors and windows shall both see an increase of 0.05m, with the latter being at least 0.4m wide and 1.05m high; whereas the former shall be at least 0.75m wide and 2.1m high from finished surfaces. How about exemptions? Skylights or fixed glass fittings; small apertures in non-habitable rooms or into service shafts, buildings that feature huge apertures that make up more than 25% of the façade; existing apertures if renovating an existing building; scheduled or iconic buildings or those within Urban Conservation Areas. Where can one send feedback and when? The public has until November 28 to send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information and technical documents may be found online. In a nutshell, when designing new residential buildings or altering existing ones, architects and developers will have to adhere to standardised internal and external aperture sizes, with the latter being a prerequisite when applying for planning permission, otherwise, permits shall be denied. This is not the first time that such a proposal was mentioned as last year, the Ministry for the Environment announced a nine-year, aimed at tackling Malta’s ever-growing construction waste problem. The public in general is thus encouraged to make their opinions heard.
- Malta’s Sister Island takes the crown.
The Regiostars Public Choice Awards: Europe’s label of excellence for the best EU-funded projects, demonstrating innovation and new approaches in regional development. This year, on the 15th-anniversary edition of this prestigious competition, out of 300 participating projects from across the EU and 15 shortlisted projects, our very own Cittadella scored the highest number of votes. And how could it not? Renowned for the outstanding trompe l’oeil painting on its ceiling, depicting the interior of a dome that was never built, the Gozitan ancient fortress alone is a masterpiece brimming with historic treasures, ranging from the Neolithic period, thus being a gem in Gozo’s crown. Following the 14.5-million-euro facelift - involving the restoration and rehabilitation of the entire external fortified walls and military internal structures – this old city not only further improved its appearance, but as Commissioner Elisa Ferreira righteously stated, this investment gave “this beautiful historic monument a new life for present and future generations.” It's safe to say that such a project involved hundreds of hours of labour and planning, with a large team of professionals and experts coming together throughout the various stages. From the use of laser scanning technology providing the documentation of all the city’s fortifications thus allowing the state of conservation to be mapped in detail and an accurate analysis is undertaken before stabilising the ground and restoring the ramparts; to the restoration of the St Martin’s Cavalier, St John’s demi-bastion and the north-facing ramparts; and the marketing campaign team of Vote Cittadella launched on 22nd October 2022. The Cittadella project had what it takes to win this competition, ticking all the boxes by inspiring best practices, showing breadth and scope, creating jobs, and improving citizens' lives. Hence a massive congratulations go to all the professionals involved whose sterling work and expertise brought about the achievement of this well-deserved European-wide stamp of approval.
- Top 5 Indoor Plants that Produce Oxygen
One may ask, how would a plant help my health? Well, the following plants are scientifically proven to be the best oxygen-producing plants which can aid your mental health, immunity along with energy levels. An important note is that no plant produces oxygen constantly. When they are exposed to light, they are able to photosensitise thus producing oxygen. It depends on the plant but some produce more oxygen in the evening whilst others do during the day, this is due to the rate at which the plants photosensitise. Pothos Pothos can be considered the top indoor producing oxygen plant because of its quick conversion from carbon dioxide to oxygen rate. It absorbs the exhaust fumes in the air thus purifying the air whilst also replacing CO2 with oxygen. If you have a spot which has direct sunlight in your house, pothos would surely enjoy it there, whilst also being kept cool. Peace Lily The peace lily is a floral plant, where the flowers produce oxygen during the night time. It removes dangerous chemicals which can be found in the air we breathe. For it to work more efficiently it should be placed either in hallways or highly humid rooms. No need to fuss too much for the lighting, the peace lily is happy with moderate lighting. Snake Plant The snake plant can also be referred to as the mother-in-law’s tongue plant. There is a slight difference between the two which is, snake plants have green leaves whilst mother-in-law’s tongue has yellow stripes amongst the green. It works very well in closed rooms as it produces a very high amount of oxygen for an indoor plant whilst also removing harmful chemicals from the air. Areca Palm Thanks to its high oxygen production along with air cleansing it helps children during their development as they remove dangerous toxins from the air, reducing the common respiratory illnesses. It is suggested that various areca palms are placed around the house for maximum oxygen levels in the house. Weeping Fig The weeping fig is a Ficus plant which increases oxygen levels by a great amount and thus lowering a great amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Like the peace lily, it filters the air from dangerous chemicals found around us. It can be a sensitive plant which should not be moved around often.
- The historic election of the first Maltese Inġinier to the Executive Board of FEANI
First Maltese Inġinier Elected to the European Federation for National Engineering Associations Executive Board. Inġiniera Malta is honoured with the election of Inġ. Michelle Cortis to the Executive Board of the European Federation for National Engineering Associations (FEANI) as a member from the Southern Region. Inġ. Cortis has been elected with an overwhelming majority of 85% of eligible votes at the FEANI General Assembly held online on Friday 07th October. This positive result follows her co-option into the Executive Board, which position needed to be confirmed via the election held during the FEANI General Assembly attended by 31 countries. As Malta’s representative at FEANI, Inġiniera Malta is pleased to note that Inġ. Michelle Cortis is the First Maltese Inġinier to be elected to the FEANI Executive Board, for which she will serve for three years. Malta has been actively represented on FEANI through the Chamber of Engineers (CoE) since 1981 yet it has never been represented at an Executive Board level. This election opens up a new chapter in the international relations of the engineering profession in Malta. Inginiera in Malta congratulates Mr Alain Jouanjus, from the French National Member, Ingénieurs et Scientifiques de France, who has been elected as Treasurer on the FEANI Executive Board, and also thanks Dr José A. Goicolea from the Spanish National Member, Comite Nacional Espanol de la FEANI, who participated in the election with Inġ. Cortis. Inġ. Michelle Cortis, who is Chairperson of Inġiniera Malta and International Affairs Secretary on the CoE Executive Council, stated the following upon reacting to the result: “It was humbling to see such a level of trust from our European colleagues. This encouraging result was possible only because of the support of both the Chamber of Engineers and Kamra tal- Periti – especially Malcolm, Robert, Andre and Jeanette. Through this role, Malta will continue to effectively contribute to the international engineering community from our country's perspective.” The President of the CoE Inġ. Malcolm Zammit expressed his utmost satisfaction with this result and said; “The past few years as an active council member were sufficient to show me the strong relationship which the CoE had built throughout the years with our international engineering counterparts, especially through FEANI. With the formation of Inġiniera Malta, I was certain that such relationships would only be fostered. Therefore, it came as a clear expression of trust when my colleague Michelle was proposed for co-option to the Board. Her historic election is an honour for the engineering profession and for our country. I am deeply satisfied with this development and humbled that as CoE President I had the opportunity to nominate the first Maltese Inġinier to the FEANI Executive Board. I look forward to an even brighter future for the profession.” Perit Andre Pizzuto, President of Kamra tal-Periti, also remarked on this milestone during the first year of Inġiniera Malta and stated that: “The Kamra tal-Periti supports Inġ. In her post on the FEANI executive board, Michelle Cortis said that as part of Inġiniera Malta, we will ensure that the voices of engineers in Malta will be represented in Europe.” Inġiniera Malta expresses its continued support for Inġ. Michelle Cortis looks forward to the fulfilment of its mission with the additional driver of being represented on the FEANI Executive Board. This election to the FEANI Executive Board is expected to mutually benefit the engineering profession in Malta and the European engineering community. Inġiniera Malta is a joint committee between the Chamber of Engineers and the Kamra tal-Periti and is the National Member of Malta within FEANI, Fédération Européenne d’Associations Nationales d’Ingénieurs.
- Carlo Schembri's achievements over the years
Carlo Schembri, designer and artistic director, has been twice honoured in his prolific career spanning 25 years, by the commissioning of the design of the platforms and backdrops for 2 iconic stages of the visits to Malta of 2 Popes, HH Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 and HH Pope Francis in April 2022. The commissioning of the papal platform for Pope Francis’ visit originated 2 years ago, but was postponed due to the pandemic; things have changed since, not least Pope Francis’ health, which had deteriorated; thus, the brief had to be adapted to reflect and accommodate these changes. Schembri’s approach to the design of the platforms is very personal. He likes to look at what he designs, placing himself at the heart of it, he looks at it. Schembri wanted the Pope not to be detached from the faithful, the public. “I tried to place Him at eye level as much as possible, so that people would not have to look up to see Him, like a superstar on a stage, detached from His “audience” at the bottom of the stage, but to participate together with Him in the celebration of the Mass”. He also had to consider the people who would be on the platform, the Church hierarchy and others. Schembri also took into account, the elements of the day, the time of day, the sun, the wind, the possibility of rain, the size of the crowd and all relevant logistics in general. Pope Benedict’s visit in 2010 should be viewed in a different context. There was less awareness about the use of recycled materials, for example, it was still more of a “buzzword”; though, “I did use recycled wood - durable recycled cardboard, called OSB. But when this April, Pope Francis showed His firm intention to visit the Hal Far Peace lab meeting with the migrant and refugee community hosted there, a stronger message needed to be delivered. “I was given artistic licence and I felt that it was more appropriate to apply this at Hal Far rather than at Floriana”. He decided to create an installation in plastic, representing the sea waves with the installation of plastic bottles, "because our sea has more plastic than fish", and using the vibrant colours of our beautiful mediterranean sea - blue, turquoise, green, but he draws attention to the loss of migrants' lives by the "orange blobs" on top which is representative of what he refers to as “salva uomo”, life - saving jackets or rings?... but they are empty, “denouncing the strong message of loss of life!” This embodied the objective of Pope Francis’ visit, specifically to send us a message of compassion. The description of the design of the platform for the Papal Mass and Angelus at the Granaries, Floriana, belies Carlo Schembri’s artistic raison d'être. He is both spiritual and minimalistic in his chosen hues of grey, white to Lenten purple, reflecting the Church Liturgy of the Lenten period; one could go on drawing parallels to his own description of his art and design styles, merging well-being (health and safety considerations for an ailing, ageing Pope; the practicality of the underground sacristy; a sensitivity towards the playful way that natural sunlight is featured together with comfort, including a little touch of tech-savvy awareness to allow those present that special successful selfie memento. Indeed, Schembri reiterates that all the “theatrical” applications on the platform at Floriana were indeed biblical, including the flora used, all to reflect the “spirit of the objective”, which is the celebration of Mass. Carlo Schembri demonstrated flair in the design of a special Chair of State for the occasion, (two in fact); this brings together his design and art in both the Spiritual and the Statal aspects of the Papal visit. Carlo underscores that he does everything himself and on a voluntary basis. Statal chairs were first commissioned in 2010, for the Visit of Pope Benedict XVI, by then President George Abela. Pope Benedict’s visit commemorated the 1,950th anniversary of the visit of St Paul to Malta in AD60, so the brief focused on this connotation. The chairs were used at the Pope’s arrival ceremony at the airport. With Pope Francis’ visit, President George Vella’s brief was to replace these chairs which had been used for several State visits during the last decade. The last time they were used was by HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 2O15 during the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting. It was decided that these chairs would be preserved at the Museum. This time the 2 new Statal chairs are more generic in design; the Papal and Malta coat of arms are custom-made. After the Pope’s visit, the papal coat of arms would be removed and framed; this would allow the new Statal chair to be reused for other Statal occasions. Schembri has stated that "Spirituality is a big part of (my) life"; in approaching these special commissions, with their diverse meanings and messages, he emphasises that this is not so much reflected in the practising of religion, but more so, in being in touch with oneself spiritually, “listening to yourself to help you understand and of course, listening to others, and, he emphases, “you should, of course, listen to your brief”.