Recent history has seen our Sultanate play home to the rise of themed rent-a-spaces, a unique business model by Brunei standards that has thus far received a pretty good reception from the community at large. From The Collective’s Makerspace for budding entrepreneurs, and the Kitchen Table for food related (mostly) events, to shared co-working spaces that cater to students and working professionals alike, the advent of rentable enclosed environments has come to Brunei, and seems to be here to stay.
Such is the case with Avenue 41 – a modern rentable space with a slight industrial vibe to it, which opened its doors to the public in late March, 2018. Located in Kg Kiarong, this latest contender is the brainchild of Luxe Development and occupies 1,000 square feet on the ground level of Bangunan Suasa. A collaborative project, the other major stakeholders include Hoco Agency, in their role as the branding and marketing partner responsible for developing an identity that Avenue 41 can call its very own, as well as the Creative Core BN, in its capacity as the facilitators of the myriad and diverse range of events that have been held to date.
The studio space is armed with a fully-equipped kitchen, furniture, a high-end Bang & Olufsen surround sound system, projector, and the famous (online anyway, and this is no joke) retractable floating table. Courtesy of well-managed social media platforms, even the BHC Magazine team felt a sense of familiarity with the floating table long before we made this visit. Operated via a winch, the table can be lowered to about two feet off the polished concrete flooring, and raised close to the ceiling rig in order to create extra room when necessary. Cool and smooth, the concrete flooring is the product of BUE Enterprises – featured in Volume 78 last month – and is a major feature that anchors the entire room’s industrial vibe, setting the tone while the remainder of the equipment and décor serves to boost the ambience further.
A good portion of the seats dotted around the room’s perimeter are cardboard creations, and despite a good level of craftsmanship it is not uncommon for visitors to look at these stools with some skepticism. Never judge a book by its cover, but should you require more than a metaphor to convince you, then simply take a seat. You will be pleasantly surprised, and to quote this publication’s lead photographer, “Wow, these cardboard seats are deceptive. They don’t look sturdy, but they can really tahan (handle the weight) ah!”
A partial, yet detailed map of the Australian state of Melbourne in one corner of the room has a dual meaning, both as references to Luxe Development’s upper echelon. One of the two partners is a true-blue, born and bred Melbournian, who met his current day Bruneian business partner while they were both pursuing their studies in Australia. In an interesting twist of fate, these two friends reunited to eventually become the founders of Luxe Development.
Commenting on the sudden appearance of rent-a-spaces, Project Director, Ting See Hung replies, “With all due honesty we didn’t realise that there were others (similar business model), out there. My partner and I were in agreement that we wanted to set up a space that could be used as a platform to promote talented individuals and groups through events relating to their interests and work. So far Avenue 41 has hosted coffee conventions, a jewellery exhibition, product launches, cooking demos, and other socially enterprising events. We also have plans to begin screening movies from time to time”.
With its funky ‘41’ trademark logo incorporated into the thickset door, as well as the numerous stickers of the same design repeated on the glass partitioning this innovative space from the mundane world; it is great to know that there now exists another option for people to ‘Create. Share. Inspire.’