Urban developments in Bangkok are evolving into future cultural and commercial hubs, but the resulting relationship between traditional and contemporary architecture is not always an easy one. So many local and international firms are approaching architectural and interior projects, both at small and at mega scales, in ways that strive to reconcile the existing city fabric with contemporary demands for living, working and entertaining in the Thai capital.
For Klique Desk’s new co-working office, local firm Studio of Design and Architecture (SoDA) revitalized the oldest five-story shophouse building in the city. Merging an old structure with Klique Desk’s new identity, SoDA created a flexible and adaptable co-working space with cafélike atmosphere to promote collaboration and transparency.
Similarly, for the offices of a steelwork and construction company, Metaphor Design Studio converted an existing steel factory space into a multipurpose structure and built out a small building within the factory to house the required offices. Multidisciplinary firm Apostrophy's completed a renovation of its own office, playfully called Apos2, by transforming an existing housing development into a playful and flexible workspace saturated with vibrant color.
Bangkok’s adaptability to the demands of a growing urban enclave has spurred a number of civic, commercial and hospitality projects from a number of international firms and local creative practices. Sala Rattanakosin by Onion is an example of a hospitality project that makes use of the existing urban framework, with a renovation of seven existing shop houses into a boutique hotel with a rooftop bar. Meanwhile, the yet-to-be-completed megatower MahaNakhon by Ole Scheeren gives a nod to Bangkok’s traditional fabric with a design that looks like it is always evolving, just like the city itself.
Within the public and cultural spheres, nearing completion is the EM Quartier retail and cultural center that combines mixed use and urban green spaces within its helical floor slabs. Synthesis Design + Architecture's recent expansion of the Central World Shopping Center, The Groove, creates a new iconic identity for one of the largest malls in the world. Now open is also the AL_A-designed retail section of the Bangkok Central Embassy, located in the former gardens of the British embassy. When fully completed in 2015, the retail mall will connect with a 30-story luxury hotel via a swooping architectural gesture, merging the retail plinth and the hotel tower into one.