This is by a Thai architecture firm. They are currently completing a hotel by BTS National Stadium and did the Honda Showroom on Ekkamai-Ramindra, near Crystal Design Center.
Bangkok has just recovered from a week of street battles and raging fires. When Siam Theater’s roof collapsed, a few tweeple got confused and starting saying the nearby Scala Theater was destroyed. I’m sorry for Siam Theater, one of Bangkok’s only independent theaters, but I’m happy to say Scala did not burn.
Built in 1967, Scala is theatrical, something that’s completely lost on modern-day movie theaters, which try so hard to look high-tech or sleek, like an airport lounge. It takes more than red couches to make a theater feel magical. At Scala, every visit feel special, every show is a premiere, every ticket is a VIP invitation. Having to go up a big flight of steps helps a lot, but there’s also the overwrought modern-rococo decor for that guaranteed, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore” effect.
Google its architect, Chira Silpakanok, and you’ll find nothing but a phone number to the architecture firm that bears his name. Designer of the Indra Hotel and some far less sexy projects for dictator Thanom Kittikachorn, he’s one of Thailand’s foremost modern architects and a favorite of his nephew, Duangrit Bunnag.
Here’s to Bangkok, to peace, and to Scala. I’m glad you’re still standing, mam.
All pictures from seatheater.blogspot.com, a wonderful blog on Southeast Asia’s disappearing standalone theaters.
Jintrin Jintaprecha qualifies as veteran designer. His two DeMark awards and collaborations with Thai brands Corner 43 Decor, Stone & Steel and Hygge are just the highlights of a very long resume. His Kanjana collection for Hygge is probably his best work so far, although we’d take the glass Pakarung table, too. It’s just begging for a brand new Mac and a loft office.
Mineral, Miesian, and minimalist, the Alila Cha-Am resort is Duangrit’s Bunnag masterpiece in Thailand. He’s also famous for the Thailand Creative Design Center (Bangkok) and X2 Kui Buri. At the recent Architecture ‘10, he showed a few models of his projects, perched on provocatively high stands. (I’m 1 meter 85 and I couldn’t even see the last model.) The most exciting was Alila Luang Prabang because he obviously had to build in the vernacular and it’s shaken up his style.
Back to Alila Cha-Am. I staid there right after it opened. The finishing was lousy in lots of places but hopefully they’ve fixed the nails sticking out by the pool and the steel cladding falling off the staircase. When I interviewed Duangrit for BK Magazine, he explained that the place is meant to function as series of experiences: there’s the quiet green lawn at the entrance, the dramatic steps climbing to the lobby and then that perspective of a long, narrow water piece lined by two stone ravines. The overall effect is stunning. The rooms are simple but their high ceilings and minimalist decoration are just perfect. The pool villas were very disappointing, though, with their convoluted layouts and ridiculous amount of cupboards. (It’s not a home, it’s a hotel room, how much stuff did Bunnag except people to bring?) And if you’re wondering if Cha-Am is a nice beach or holiday spot, it isn’t. It just happens to be a short drive from the capital.
The Bangkok Post just ran an excellent story on a small architectural and design firm, Supermachine Studio Co. Ltd. These guys already have a lot of projects under their belts, from exhibition and event design (TCDC, Big Mountain concert), to interior design and full-on architecture. In a country as centralized as Thailand, what I really admire about Supermachine is the number of projects they’ve completed upcountry and the fact that many of them are retail. In fact, they call themselves hillbilly (puthorn) architects. Hotel makeover: yawn. Supermarket in Ubon or mall in Chonburi: oh, wow!
In next week’s BK Magazine, we profile a new store, Scrap Lab, founded by Asst Pro Dr Singh Intrachooto, head of the Building Innovation and Technology Department, Faculty of Architecture, Kasetsart University. (He’s an MIT graduate no less.) Scrap Lab recycles old junk into furniture. While I like the idea of recycling, I don’t like the fact that the end product still looks like junk. I like things to get recycled into pretty, shiny new things. The black nest chair is kind of cool, though.
Bestto Boy - The Journey of Switchhead is a little guy with a switch for the head and a little bulb as his doodle. Upon further investigation I found out that Bestto Boy is the creation of Torlarp Larpjaroensook, a chiang mai artist and the founder of the shop/gallery space. Bestto Boy is Limited Edition.
I’m very excited about the blog this is coming from. Sunissa also has one called Baan, which is just as cool. I’m very excited about this artist, too. I can’t help but compare this lamp to the Progaganda boy (also a Thai brand), where the PP is the switch and its the head that turns on (hence the exact opposite). Well, Torlarp’s is way cooler. As a man, I like to think its the head that controls the PP.
my drawings (all places locate in Bangkok,Thailand)
technique : hand sketch using a black-ink pen.
I love architectural sketches. And because the Thai Collection office is shared with an architecture student supposedly wrapping up his thesis (is it about facebook or youtube, I’m not sure), I can relate to their author:
4 days left for my thesis so I had to get up early this morning :( and It’s raining! want to go back to bed so muchhhhh..nice and cozy. Anyhow,getting up early doesn’t help working.4 hrs. later I’m still facebooking and YouTubing! and now Tumblring.ARRRRRRGHH.
really want to know how to stop!
In a piece of unrelated news, Anon Pairot finally got back to me so now there are two videos in the pipes. Yikes.
While I admire Anon Pairot’s conceptual efforts, when it comes to the real world, it’s hard to compete with Oggi. The little brand from Ladprao puts out solid wood furniture which feels tough, perfectly crafted and very natural. There are a lot of people making well-designed wood furniture in Thailand (Plato is pretty good) but their stuff feels a tad mass produced and cold compared to Oggi. (It also often feels like garden furniture, whereas Oggi is very homely.) Oggi sells exclusively at Thailand’s big design and furniture fairs (TIFF, BIG+BIH) and through its website. You can also visit the owner/designer’s home in Ladprao (by appointment, 02-538-5437) and grab what’s on show there. But mostly people pick a design, wood, and color and then wait for the furniture to be handcrafted (4-6 weeks). That’s what I did for the stools in my kitchen, which also had to be of a non-standard height (65cm). If all goes well, I’ll be shooting a video about Oggi, designer Phanomsook Meelugsana, his bare cement home, and the factory where all this stuff gets made in a couple week. Stay tuned.
Who would have thought one of the most exciting architectural projects I’ve ever seen in Thailand would be the work of a Norwegian non-profit organization? TYIN Tegnestue has already completed three buildings: an orphanage on the Burmese border, a bathhouse and library at another orphanage in the North and a library here in Bangkok, at the 100-year-old Market in Minburi. Now if they could only turn their attention to Bangkok’s developers, who might not need roofs over their heads, but could definitely use a lesson in taste and environmental friendliness.