On Kanchanaburi’s River Kwai we stand beneath tall trees, their canopy of robust branches and green leaves filtering sunlight into shade as a cool, comfortable breeze riffles the water and we gaze out across the Erawan National Park forest. This enchanted spot is where CEO Dr. Suwin Kraibhubes of Beauty Community, Pcl. decided to build his vacation home.
“In the old days there was a resort here, but abandoned, it fell apart. Coming here on a visit I found myself getting excited about this panoramic mountain view, the forest preserve, the peaceful river. I hadn’t known Kanchanaburi had such a quiet, pleasant riverside woodland as this.”
Dr. Suwin had always had a deep feeling for good design and home decoration. He followed this up with a lot of reading from many sources, and bought furniture and house accessories to add to his own collection and deck out this vacation home in a style suiting this great location on the River Kwai.
“I had a lot of ideas, including building on the original resort’s foundations, and found an architect to help. With modern-style gable roofs, the shapes are reminiscent of a tobacco-curing plant. I didn’t want to make the house too eye-catching, but more low-key, in tune with nature, so we used strong, dark colors with natural materials such as wood, stone, and steel, materials with beautiful colors and textures of their own, that also are easy to maintain. The result is a relaxed retreat where we don’t stay every day, but that fits in beautifully with the natural environment.”
Dr. Suwin’s personal living space is a compact house on a hill directly above the water. The full residence extends across the property: another three steel-frame buildings are set in a quiet corner. There is a separate structure in the center for use as a reception area and common dining room near a two-story house built to accommodate more family members and friends.
“I live on the river bank for comfort. It’s a little like a greenhouse: the walls are glass and face out on the river, giving both a beautiful view and privacy. Mornings I really enjoy looking out from the porch. I can see everything from there, it feels like we’re in the middle of everything!”
Dr. Suwin gets a lot of outdoor time here, playing in the water with the kids, kayaking, jet skiing, enjoying nature by Tha Thung Na Dam. Sometimes in the cool evening air he sits out on a raft, socializing with his friends.
“I really love that this house has both mountains and river. Outside we get the full benefits of being close to nature: almost no landscaping needed. I love the big trees the most, giving the house that refreshing. shady frame.”
Starting with the idea of building a temporary residence from commercial containers, Charnwit Ananwattanakul of Wish Architect Design Studio had to analyze the different characters of the family members who would live there. In the end, this temporary project became a permanent house made from 15 containers.
/// THAILAND /// Story: Samutcha Viraporn /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Design: Charnwit Ananwattanakul of Wish Architect Design Studio /// Owner: Non and Chutiporn Som Chobkhai
The house has 2 wings, one used for the living area. The master bedroom is on the second floor. An open wood-floored multipurpose space runs longitudinally through the house as a sort of inner courtyard, enabling family interaction and serving as a channel for heat release and air circulation from front to back. Similar decks in front and back follow the width of the house and set it back a distance to reduce heat entering the container elements of the house. Trees planted in front add another level of protection from the western sun.
Blocking partitions behind the house create a wind channel to reduce any late-morning heat from eastwards. To minimize heat and humidity, bathrooms are placed on the south side, some containing plants suggestive of old-time country houses where bathing was done outside, pouring from water jars. Another important feature is the sprayed-in roof insulation.
The living room is done in a spacious “open plan” style, connecting it to the large food preparation area/pantry with facilities such as a coffee brewer, an island with a gas range, and storage shelves for kitchenware with a large protective screen to keep the space more orderly. The second-floor verandah has a gap cut where netting is placed for people to sit, lie back, and chill; this also helps release heat and brings natural light into the central area, as well as giving it depth.
To avoid a busy look, white was chosen as the primary color for interior décor. Because of the limitations of working utility systems, a lot of them necessarily show inside the house. Some metal posts had to be added to container walls and ceilings to accommodate electrical systems without further lowering the already rather low container ceilings. A steel framework was constructed to meet the proportions of container walls, as well. The wood of the inner “courtyard” and decks gives a warm feeling.
In front of the house that feeling is a little diminished, as real stone is used in the staircase area to give the atmosphere of a modern-design garden, playing off the boxlike shape of the container house. The fence also features a play of vertical and horizontal lines, using the language of design to simultaneously create a look of transparency and a sense of privacy.
Each area is designed to suit the behavior of the family members living there, and this links the family and strengthens relationships all the more.
This Chiang Mai house sits on a plot surrounded by fields of rice in Mae Rim District. The upper floor, all bedrooms, is of wood. Downstairs the many open walls give the sense of the Thai traditional tai thun below-the-house spaciousness, and it serves as living room, dining room, and coffee nook, with a natural breeze providing cool comfort all day long.
/// THAILAND /// Story: Patsiri Chot /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Architect: Studio Miti, by Prakij Kanha /// Owner: Anisaa Wangtragul and Apichai Wangtragul
Prakij Kanha from Studio Miti designed this house, which stretches lengthwise along the long side of an L-shaped property, with frame, walls, and post construction primarily of wood taken from 5 old houses in locations all over Chiang Mai.
A 3.5 meter dimension in the original house design was expanded to 4 meters, and the porch was widened for a more comfortable experience of relaxed viewing of nature. Limitations on the amount of wood meant the few downstairs walls were mortared. Where boards were too short, steel was used. The roof was done with Onduline, which is made of strong natural fibers, quite light, and insulates with no need for a ceiling: it is closed off with OSB (oriented strandboard). The west wall gets strong sunlight, and is overlaid with white gypsum board, another insulation that reduces interior heat.
There is a mix of tall windows and glass walls, and a central walkway throughout that connects every corner and provides an air circulation channel. Even the bathroom looks out on nature. The master bedroom has views of both Doi Saket and morning mists over the Ping River. On the opposite side, night after night you can watch the moon wax and wane. Interior décor is a mix of furniture and antiques almost entirely taken from the original house.
Public electricity doesn’t reach out this far, so solar cells are used, and per-day energy use has to be carefully figured. There is no air conditioning, but the natural breezes here are deeply cooling. If you’d like to switch out of your digs to get the peace and quiet of a beautiful wood house set in spacious rice fields and see how totally dark and quiet it can be at night, you can reserve a room by contacting Good Old Days Chiang Mai.
It’s every house owner’s dream to live in a beautiful home, but it takes a special kind of concentration for an architect to create a house that’s both beautiful and great to live in. This box-shaped white house belonging to Mo and Thinan Nakaprasit fits the bill perfectly.
Construction was delayed for 2 years for Assistant Professor Dr.Tonkao Panin and Tanakarn Mokkhasmita of Research Studio Panin to properly develop a plan to build the house around a tree.
“Our old house had a high tai thun (lower open space) and a tree in the middle of the house,” explained Mo. “We loved that place, and it was something like this, but we wanted to change a few things. To have a carport in the tai thun, the house had to be raised a bit, and our first house plan had a half-courtyard, with the tree only partially surrounded.”
Mo and Thinan had already seen results of Dr. Tonkao’s design work, which stresses using simple geometric shapes to bring out hidden character and warmth. Reading Dr. Tonkao’s work gave Mo further insights into his concept of utilizing proportions, a code to unlock the geometric secrets in his classic designs. Of course, security presented another architectural challenge.
Having lived in a house with glass walls, more privacy and security were important to Mo and Thinan: they wanted more containment. Creating secure viewpoints for looking both out of and into the house posed a challenge for the architect. Solutions began with placement of a large tree as the central focus of the house. Every room looks in towards the tree and also has views monitoring entry and exit of visitors in front. People inside can hardly be seen from outside, and the addition of steel panels adds more security.
The steel security panels were originally designed to be of exmet (expanded metal), but Mo consulted with the architects and decided instead on perforated steel, adding a charming polka dot pattern to the latticework blocking off the long walkway behind the house by the canal.
“Environmentally, this is a great location: water and mountains are behind us, so we need practically no gardening of our own,” explains Mo. Instead of being near the road, the house is set deep in the back of the .4-acre property. Besides the tree between buildings, the living room has a beautiful view of the natural forest on the other bank of the canal. For easy maintenance, he property is landscaped primarily with grass lawn or paved with stones and large rocks, which are used especially for the shady, peaceful tai thun space, which gets no sunlight.
For movable furniture, Mo especially wanted to bring some Modernform “black Iceland” items from their old house, which required some expansion of the kitchen. Other furniture is mostly from IKEA, with light color tones and light, simple shapes.
“The longer we’ve lived here, the more charm we’ve found in this house, its great functionality, and the open areas, the deck and the tai thun. This is a very special design. Completely separate from other benefits, just the view as we drive in lets us see past the buildings to the mountains, water, a panorama of nature. I love it.”
Following our report on 10 must-see highlights of the Architect ’19 “Living Green”, an expo of architectural technologies, building materials, smart innovations and home decorations, it’s time for a deeper glimpse into the world of sustainable developments to show why living a green lifestyle is so important to us and our future generations. The 33rd edition of the architectural expo is doing exactly that. It’s the ASEAN’s major confluence of interesting ideas, news and information on how to live sustainably with a focus on innovative products, advances in construction, repairs and decorations. There are even more exciting discoveries that we want to share with you. Take a look.
Graphenstone Stuki Premium: Innovative ideas to make your house work like a tree with awesome design and colors
(See real products at Jorakay’s exhibit, Booth S211)
Do you know that using 15 liters of paint (roughly 3 buckets) can sequester as much as 10 kilograms of carbon-dioxide in the air; thereby helping to reduce the overall concentration of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere. That’s pretty much the amount work a tree does in one year. Introducing G Color Stuki Premium. The new paint product line represents a major breakthrough in research and development by the Jorakay Corporation Co, Ltd, a leader in the manufacture and distribution of products for construction, repairs and decorations. Its products are certified to international safety standards.
Jorakay’s G Color Stuki Premium is a colored cement for decorative concrete surfaces. It’s made of a mixture of high-quality limestone that’s sourced directly from nature. Stuki Premium is the result of Graphen technology that’s eco-friendly and capable of producing a family of colored cements that’s durable and suitable for both indoor and outdoor situations. Beautiful design patterns can be easily made using a small handheld plaster trowel. Three are 322 color shades to choose from.
dECOLeather® Recycled Leather Veneer, 5650 Shagreen: Reuse of leather shreds to minimize the killing of animals
(Get the feel of real products at Formica Thailand Booth F507)
The dECOLeather® brand of recycled leather veneer is a composite of shredded leather scraps collected from leather goods manufacturers. An alternative product from the Formica Group, the durable laminate is beautifully crafted for decorative coverings, interior design and other surfaces. Ensuring that nothing goes to waste, dECOLeather® works by making good use of every small piece of leather destined to be discarded or destroyed as rubbish. In the recycling process, leather scraps from garment cuttings and other manufacturing activities are reduced to fine particles and then mixed with synthetic resin to form a hard, flat and flexible material for decorative coverings. After that, a variety of design patterns are printed on the composite material. For this exhibit, four design collections are on public display. They include whiptail stingray, buffalo hide, sea lion, and crocodile decorative patterns. You will love the stingray design. See it at the Formica booth.
dECOLeather® is a line of alternative products designed to be perceived as similar or comparable to genuine materials for which it is intended to substitute. The most important point at issue is about saving the environment. It comes in handy for the consumer who has a taste for leather goods but dislikes the killing or hunting of animals for their skins. Advances in the manufacturing process ensure that recycled leather veneer is more durable than leather in general, making it a material of choice for interior decoration, table top, and other surfaces to name a few. It’s water impermeable, easy to install, flexible and available in many colors.
XPOSH Series: Luxury water-saving faucets and winners of the Red Dot Design Award 2019
(Get the feel of real products at COTTO Booth S308)
If you prefer a touch of luxury and save energy at the same time, look no further than an impressive line of water faucets for the bathroom sink from COTTO. The XPOSH Series features a single handle with one-hole mixer tap design that lets you use just the right amount of warm water when needed. It comes in a variety of colors and finishes that please and pleasure your senses, among them Starlight Silver, Matte Onyx, Midnight Silver and Starlight Gold. Each model features eye-catching design that has won the Red Dot Design Award for 2019.
Nicknamed “a jewel in the bathroom”, the XPOSH Series is considered not only a luxury, but also a perfect example of advances in technological innovations. That’s what COTTO is about; save the energy needed to make hot water. It’s easy to use simply by pushing the handle slightly to the side. The XPOSH Series has a smart mechanism hidden inside the cartridge that turns on and starts heating water after only 4 liters has passed instead of 6 liters that’s normally the case. In the process, this mechanism helps save both water and electricity at the same time. It’s an interesting development compared to the standard instant hot water faucet that consumes more energy.
For design aficionados, the COTTO exhibit also features showerheads in a variety of styles and finishes, among them the “Rivulet Rethinking Flow”, a three-dimensional abstract form designed to let you enjoy the delightful spray of water as if you were bathing in a stream. There’s also the “Reverie Rethinking Form” showerhead, which is a mix of metal casing and crystal parts. The design mimics a mass of small soap bubbles kissed by the morning sun, immediately appealing to say the least.
DOS WaterPac Pro: A space saving water tank rich in functions; it’s more than a storage
(See the real product at DOS Life Booth S104)
DOS WaterPac Pro is a technological innovation under the brand name DOS Life. The water tank with pump has become an instant success story. It won a 2018 DEmark Award, an official accolade for design excellence in the Industrial Goods Category, and the Good Design Award, or Gmark for short, in 2018. The underlying logic and reasoning for the design is about saving space and maximizing the utilization of vertical space.
Designer Vichit Choopho obviously tries to make a connection between the lifestyle of the new generation and modern conveniences that contribute to an easy way of living. A water tank that’s rich in functions turns out to be one of the four must-haves in every home. For this reason, DOS WaterPac Pro is designed to be more than just a water storage. It’s a source, means and process of supplying water for the entire household, and in a succinct way reflects the taste of the homeowners.
STOCK HOME BROWN: Wood-look porcelain tiles designed to reduce waste
(See the real product at Duragres Booth S305)
Stock Home Brown is a line of wood-look porcelain tiles that’s part of the Recycled Tiles series manufactured by Duragres. A metamorphosis of purpose, it’s made by converting waste into useable raw materials, including tiles that have been damaged in the manufacturing process. The result is an impressive array of 20×20 inch tiles for covering floors and other surfaces. In the end, the main concept is about ensuring nothing goes to waste and that every piece is made to the highest international standards.
KENZAI x JUNSEKINO Architect + Design: Bricks designed to break the traditional rules
(See the real product at KENZAI Booth S212-1)
“I want a building material that allows light to pass through and provides protection from rain.” Jun Sekino of the architectural firm JUNSEKINO Architect + Design has carried out a thorough search for the ideal material. The answer is a line of translucent bricks made of various raw materials binding together to form a perfect building block.
The new kind of brick is made of a mixture of clay and polycarbonate, a synthetic resin that’s the strongest of all plastics. The part that’s translucent is only five millimeters thick. Because it’s so strong, the brick can be used to build a wall up to three meters tall with no need for a lintel across the top. It’s water impermeable and allows light to pass through the part that is polycarbonate. There is practically no limit when it comes to controlling the amounts of light shining through. In so doing, the architect can use any brick laying patterns to add a new dimension to the interior living space. More importantly, it translates into a big saving on electricity use.
MO31 (ECO PLUS): One-piece toilet sanitary ware with washbasin and a water recycling system
(See the real product at MOGEN Booth S305-1)
Wouldn’t it be nice if wastewater from the washbasin can turn around and be used again to flush the toilet? That’s actually the case with M031 (Eco Plus), a revolutionary one-piece toilet sanitary ware that comes with a washbasin and a recycling system designed to cut down on water use.
MO31(ECO PLUS) from MOGEN is the first water-saving sanitary ware system that uses Siphon Wash in coordination with Flush. Made using solid ceramic technology, the toilet bowl requires only 3 to 6 liters to flush. Innovative design ensures the toilet bowl and water reservoir is built tough, its surface smooth to the touch, and the toilet seat stable and easy to operate.
Every model in the MO31(ECO PLUS) series comes complete with an installation kit that includes hoses, clean water supply line, stop valve and rubber gasket that seals the junction between two surfaces.
The above-mentioned technological innovations, products and services are on view at the Architect ’19 Expo that’s happening from April 30 to May 5 at Challenger Halls 1-3, Impact Exhibition Center, Muang Thong Thani. There isn’t much time left, and we don’t want you to miss out on it.
The Architect ’19 is in full swing. The 33rd edition of the Architect’19 expo is on from April 30 to May 5. This year’s concept is Living Green, which is about the role of architecture in building a sustainable future. The event showcases the latest in technological innovations in architecture and building materials by manufacturers from 40 countries worldwide. Here are ten highlights of the show that we don’t want you to miss. It’s good to know something about them beforehand.
A leader in building materials and interior decorating, SCG never ceases to amaze us with new developments, products and services. One of the highlights of its exhibition this time is COTTO Life, a tile installation service designed to solve problems and deal with difficult situations. Once you have selected the perfect tiles for your home project, you can rest assured that they will be installed correctly by a team of experts. There are designers and skilled tile setters on hand to give options so that you are now making an informed choice.
Another outstanding show is the display of new mosaic tile collections that have become more than bathroom floor coverings. There are plenty of ways to decorate with a colorful and variegated pattern that looks simple and feels more fun and modern, yet classic in style and high quality standards. You can decorate the wall and the countertop with a mosaic, too. And, if you are planning on opening a restaurant or café, keep abreast of new trends in technology and design. Go for a mosaicked pattern.
The Resysta brand of imitation wood from Germany is made of raw materials sourced directly from nature. It is composed of 60% rice husks, 22% rock salt, and 18% mineral oils. As the market price of genuine timber continues to rise, faux wood is on course to become the material of choice in future construction. It’s available in a variety of styles, each tailored to meet specific building needs ranging from flooring to wall coverings to decorating materials. Imitation wood comes in textures and finishes that resemble real timber. It’s capable of being used indoors and out of doors. Faux wood for outdoor applications is covered by a 15-year warranty. There’s no worry about peeling paint, either. Since it is water impermeable, faux wood isn’t prone to be affected by surface fungi, mold and mildew. Apart from flexibility, imitation wood is easy to drill holes, saw off, and rub to produce smooth, shiny finishes.
Made of high quality stainless steel, the Hooth brand of home kitchen systems is renowned for creativity and craftsmanship. What makes it special is that you have the option of designing a kitchen to fit in with your specific space and functions. Created with the Thai kitchen in mind, Hooth sets of fixtures, cabinets and appliances are made tough to withstand the stresses and heavy-duty use. The layout includes areas where materials are prepared and food is cooked as well as washbasins and neatly designed storage spaces. Stainless steel is unaffected by heat, easy to keep clean, durable, and scratch-resistant. You can add small tweaks to improve the look, such as cabinets with glass doors and the countertop made of natural stone slabs.
The Kenkoon brand of multipurpose kitchen cabinet is good news for small-space dwellers. Known as Q-Mini Compact, the cabinet measuring 120 x 205 x 60 centimeters is designed to make a small kitchen work best for you. Once opened, the cabinet transforms into a workable kitchen with a cooking range, washbasin, storage, and a shelf for the microwave oven. Shelving is fully adjustable to suit specific storage needs, while cabinet sides can be made of real wood, corrugated metal, stone veneer siding, or laminate boards.
Transcending the limits of thought, the 3M DI-NOC vinyl that’s only 200 microns is suitable for multiple uses and looks its best in many different situations. Your home exterior is just as important as its interior, and vinyl siding comes in handy for both. Installation is easy. Simply remove the outer covering and place the self-adhesive film over the existing surfaces. The decorative vinyl sticks to wood, sheet steel, aluminum, stainless steel, Plaswood PVC sheets, and MDF boards. DI-NOC vinyl offers many advantages, ranging from low maintenance to durability to enhancing curb appeal. There are more than 1,000 design patterns to choose from.
That’s not all. 3M is also showcasing Fasara, also known as PE Film, which is only 80 microns. Designed especially for car windows, the film is capable of blocking up to 99% of hazardous ultraviolet rays. It adds strength to glass windows and has more than 55 designs to choose from.
Realizing the potentials of a hybrid of ceramics and synthetic resin, Kenzai has achieved a major breakthrough in manufacturing lightweight brick for construction. The important development is the result of a collaboration between Kenzai and Jun Sekino of the architectural firm JUNSEKINO Architect and Design. Resin, which is translucent, allows light to pass through the brick creating an interesting new dimension to the wall. Combine that quality with creative bricklaying patterns, and the result is amazing. The best part of the show is the Ombra brick collection that’s highly recommended as worth seeing.
A leader in electric bulb manufacture and lighting technology, L&E showcases exciting new lamp collections with a focus on simple design that’s characteristic of the minimalist decorating style. The exhibit offers light fixtures designed for a variety of functions, ranging from floor standing lamps to hanging chandeliers to linear strips and studio rail systems. You will love the clear blinker light bulbs for ceiling decorations that mimic a night sky filled with stars. For the outdoors, there’s a beautiful collection of lamp fixtures that turn the garden and swimming pool into an enchanting place. All of them come equipped with LED bulbs that save you money on electricity while providing sufficient light that’s easy on the eyes.
For people who do occasional domestic repairs and minor renovations, Material World is one of the must-see events at this year’s expo. Handymen will find the exhibition useful in keeping abreast of the latest in tools and equipment for household maintenance. They include multipurpose tool boxes and bags that are lightweight, durable, and available in many colors and sizes. The kind designed for storing heavy-duty tools is capable of withstanding weight up to 150 kilograms. When not in use, they can be stacked up for space saving. If you use plastic bags in the kitchen, there are metal clips for a variety of purposes. Clips and sealable bags come in handy for storing things left over after other things have been used.
Development is a never-ending process at Ricoh, which is showcasing an exciting breakthrough in printing technology. Its new inkjet printers are capable of printing works on many surfaces other than paper, among them faux leather, wood and glass surfaces for interior decorating. Advanced technology ensures that the prints are UV and water resistant, which enables them to stay beautiful for a long time without cracking or peeling off. The new Ricoh inkjet printer is suitable for printing works under time pressure, such as promotional materials for event organizing or unique print jobs that are done in limited quantities. The printer is capable of printing 48 square meters per hour.
Laminate boards from Fineness are the real deal that can add value to your home project. Made of layers of protective material, they are durable and scratch resistant. The kind that’s 0.8 millimeters thick is the material of choice for making the white board that works well with erasable felt tip pens. It’s also available in flat black that’s suitable for making the blackboard to write on with white or colored chalk. The possibilities are endless. They include magnetic memo boards, glass laminate boards, and ceramic tile finishes for the wall to name a few. Manufactured by placing layer upon layer, laminate boards can protect against bacterial and fungal infestations while resisting moisture, wear and tear. More importantly, they are lightweight and easy to install.
All things considered, the Architect ’19 provides an excellent opportunity for an update on the latest news, ideas and information on innovative design, products and services. The expo is highly recommended whether you are an interior designer, architect, service provider, or member of the general public. The expo is on from April 30 to May 5. More details about the exposition can be found at www.asa.or.th/architectexpo.
Determined to make it one of the top expos in architecture, building materials and construction with a focus on advances in Thai and international architecture, the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage and the N.C.C. Exhibition Organizer Co., Ltd. (NEO) are hosting the 33rd Architect’19 under the theme of “Living Green” during 30 April – 5 May, 2019. Thousands of brands will showcase the latest in technological innovations, products and services in architecture and building materials from 40 countries worldwide.
The NCC Exhibition Organizer Co., Ltd. is committed to further developing connections between exhibitors and potential buyers from architectural and construction industry especially those from neighboring countries such as CLMV through business matching program. So far the expo has drawn the biggest response from industries across the region. It is anticipated that more than 400 business meetings will take place this year. The expo is expected to generate more than 10 billion baht in total sales. Some of confirmed buyers include:
Cambodia: Heng Asia, one of the largest shopping centers for architectural and interior design products and services, Unisun Development Corp, which owns and operates office and residential complexes, warehouses and industrial plant renovation services, as well as leading companies such as Hatha Architects, Golden Axis Architecture and Decoration,and Marron Design Studio.
Myanmar: Pro1 Global Home Center, a major shopping center for building supplies and decorating materials.
India: Adroit Design India Pvt Ltd provides innovative solutions for architectural and interior design.
Indonesia: G-Architect and Asia Interior Design will also be meeting with local business participants during the show.
To promote a green experience, the organizer is providing free shuttle van service between BTS Mo Chit station (exit 2), MRT Chatuchak station (exit 4) and IMPACT Exhibition Center during the show, bring your own cup and receive free drinks at the rest area, And to cut down on plastic waste, shoppers are encouraged to bring their own reusable cloth bags. Ideas on reducing paper use is available when you download the ASA Application and get information updates on the show and get a chance to win prizes worth more than 500,000 Baht.
“My mother was born here, but we moved before I was two. After building it up from 2 storeys to 2½ storeys, my aunt continued to use it as an office. However, that business ended many years ago, and it has been only two years since we began making plans for renovation and conversion to fulfill our long-time dream of a guest house and a café.”
This area’s former prosperity is apparent in traces of European colonial-style architecture and bustling alleys that now welcome international tourists and backpackers to the charm of its storied history. Mou and architect Pok (Wachirasak Maneewatanaperk) from sea.monkey.coconut share views on the value of preserving history through architecture.
“Renovating this great old building, I didn’t want to change a lot. But I discovered it had already changed. An upper floor had been added, and it had been expanded out back as far as it could go. The entire second-storey wooden floor had been covered with another material. In line with building preservation guidelines, Mou and I decided to make clear distinctions between old and new. We kept intact the front wall and brick walls all around, chiseling off interior mortar to show weight-bearing structures, including wood wall beams fitted into brick arches, and we kept the charming mortared patterns of the original roof.”
For warming the heart, the morning sunshine is no match for fragrant fresh-brewed coffee topped with milk foam and a gold-skinned croissant just out of chef Lolo’s oven, amid a modern-vintage atmosphere with a touch of French and British, Thai and Chinese styles integrated seamlessly into an elegant whole. The lower floor is chic travelers’ café, a wooden stairway stretching up to guest rooms above. Visitors might wonder about the functionality of the steel poles they see set at intervals throughout. AS Pok explained,
“This area is a walled-in rectangle, and without changing outer walls and structure at all we’ve created a new house within the frame of the old one, sinking micro pilings into the root foundation and installing all new support pillars. It was important to keep the new structure separate. Concrete flooring was poured on the ground level and separated by a foam at the joints where it meets the original walls. These “expansion joints” keep outer and inner structures from being attached, so if the floor subsides, it won’t pull a wall down with it. On the second level, we’d intended to keep the original wood flooring, but found irreparable termite damage, so we had to replace it. Behind the house we changed to steel and drywall construction to install walls and latticework. Building here was difficult because of the limited space. Fronting on a narrow street made delivery difficult. There was nowhere to stack & store materials, so all work had to begin inside. When the inside was done, we brought in the materials stored outside and switched to working on the front. There was a lot of planning involved to make it possible for the craftsmen to be able to work at all.”
Row houses lasting more than a hundred years naturally tell stories with marks from sun and wind, just as with marks left on our lives by travel. Leaving to study and live in England for more than twenty years Mou could never have expected the winds would slowly blow her back to her origins with a new feeling, one born of love and dreams.
The word “Chez” is French, meaning “at,” or “at the home of,” hence the name: Mou has opened her home to welcome friends at “Chez Mou,” where stories are told by marks on bricks and sweet smiles. Here is a place full of feeling of release from travel, and full of a bittersweet, gentle fragrance.
Earth’s average surface temperature is rising. Climate change results in new weather patterns, while pollution in the city has far exceeded the acceptable level in many places. Not to mention polar ice caps that are melting rapidly and marine animals dying from entanglement in plastic on which we have become overly dependent. In so many ways, humans are negatively impacting the environment. The problem is coming back to haunt us. It begs the question; Are we destroying Earth, or not?
Organized by the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage (ASA), the 2019 edition of the architecture exhibition is about raising environmental awareness. Its main theme ‘Living Green’ is designed to inspire people to be more mindful of the natural environment and sustainable living choices. The event is rich in exhibits, ranging from the idea of smart cities to zero waste living to innovative green products.
Green exhibition structures provide a focus of attention. They are built of eco-friendly materials such as paper tubs and vetiver fiberboards. The exhibition pavilion showcases the best pieces of advice about a recycling process that begins and ends with paper. In a nutshell, it’s not about something being used once and then disposed of. Rather, it’s about reuse and recycles. Paper tubing that comes from plants can be used many times over and then converted into reusable materials again and again.
ZERO WASTE: Living without making trash
Is living without producing trash doable? Answers can be found at the Zero Waste exhibition zone. The show is organized in cooperation with the Thai Health Promotion Center. It encourages individuals to be conscious of trash they make and find ways of reducing it each day. The presentation is divided into four zones. “Check and Shock” reminds people to take stock of what they do in the day and assess the amounts of trash they make. “Waste Land” presents an updated look into the mounting waste problem. “Waste Wow” showcases innovative ways to cut down discard matter, while “Waste World” is about finding ways to reduce trash that has overwhelmed our environment.
SMART CITIES: Energy saving isn’t just a dream.
The Smart Cities Zone presents the feasibility of an urban area that incorporates many kinds of technologies to improve the quality of life and reduce energy use. They include programs such as Smart Mobility, Smart Energy, Smart Infrastructure, and Smart Governance that relies on the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data/Open Data, and Plan Tech in resource management.
GREEN BUILDING SHOWCASES: Save Earth, conserve energy.
No longer is green building an imagined scenario in a case study. It’s happening for real, and the number is increasing. Green building is about creating energy-saving structures capable of reducing negative impacts on the environment. There are several of them in Thailand including some high-rise buildings that have become familiar sights, as well as a few lesser known places that have won recognition for being environmentally responsible. This show presents an updated look into green buildings from 21 countries across Asia, absolute go-to exhibits for visual inspiration.
ASA INTERNATIONAL DESIGN COMPETITION: Uncanny sustainability
The ASA International Design Competition 2019 is dedicated to exciting new ideas in environmental sustainability. The principle by which design will be judged is the quality of being radical, unexpected and capable of bringing about change, hence the term Uncanny Sustainability. Enter for a chance to win 4,000 USD plus a research trip to Japan for first prize, plus smaller amounts for second and third prizes, and three honorary mentions. Here’s the link for more information. www.asacompetition.com
ASA FORUM 2019: World famous architects talk
Are you searching for design inspiration? Some of the architects who have great influence in green building will participate in this year’s ASA Forum. They include big names in the world of environmental sustainability, such as Kai Uwe Bergmann of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), who is the driving force behind several big projects and teaches Urban Resiliency at the University of Pennsylvania. He is joined by influential architects from Atelier Ten, New York, that’s expert in a high-rise building; as well as like-minded professionals from Foster and Partners; and Sanne van de Burgh of MVRDV, one of 25 high-profile architects to keep an eye out for this year. Homegrown personality will be there, too, including architects from Stu/d/o, and the design group Eco Architect. Together, they will make the Architect ‘19 a very interesting event.
Here to make your life easier. More than 850 companies worldwide, will be selling goods, staging shows and providing information at the Architect ‘19. Among them, the SCG Cement-Building Materials Co., Ltd. will feature advances in the Internet of Things (IoT) for home automation. Its exhibit, titled “Smart Living Solution,” focuses on the opportunity to benefit from new ways of living.
Jorakay Corporation Co., Ltd. will introduce GColor by Graphenstone, natural paint that will add unique colors to the home inside and out while being environmentally sustainable. The new product line is Cradle to Cradle Certified, which means it’s gone through the five steps in an on-going improvement process for quality assurance and ensure that it doesn’t contribute to global warming.
Thammasorn Co., Ltd. will exhibit water tanks with pumps and creative space saving ideas that are designed to be practical and eco-friendly.
TPI Polene Public Co., Ltd. will display paint made with nanotechnology. Its product has won the Official Label Number 5 for energy saving and not being environmentally harmful.
Mogen (Thailand) Co., Ltd. will showcase new sanitary ware and bathroom furniture that combines natural elements with modern design.
Häfele (Thailand) Limited will display digital door locks, intelligent lighting systems, and window blinds that provide variable amounts of light to keep the interior cool.
The AICA Company of Japan will exhibit a new line of translucent sheeting and beach pool ideas for the home interior, while AGC presents Halio smart-tinting glass capable of blocking heat, reducing glare and saving energy. The intensity of light shining through can be controlled via the smartphone.
The most important thing is to enhance public awareness regarding global warming and to save the natural environment from further destruction. All things considered, the Architect ‘19 on the theme of “Living Green” will take place at from April 30 – May 5, 2019 at Challenger Hall 1-3, IMPACT Muang Thong Thani.
This beautiful house belongs to Bhalangtham Klomthongsuk, a well-known drama series organizer and television personality. The single-level home plan takes up most of the 200-square-wah land space with modern living amenities and a private retreat amidst nature. The peaceful setting fits the lifestyle needs of the homeowner whose name translates as the power of dharma.
“On first seeing, I liked the way it differed from the style typical of modern-day housing developments where everything looked very similar. Besides, I’ve always preferred a single-level floor plan. Initially, I didn’t plan on doing any remodeling for five years, kind of waiting for Arty (nickname of his son Natewut) to grow big enough to have his own room. But, I didn’t want my elderly Mom to climb up and down the stairs any more. So, here we are! This house offered many advantages. It was fully functional for an old home. There wasn’t much damage to repair to begin with, except a few updates here and there to make home life easier. That was pretty much it.”
“The most outstanding part of the house is a small courtyard garden at the center of the floor plan. The open space offers refreshing environment in the middle of lush foliage. There’s an outside sitting area with a private garden view.”
From the main entrance, a hallway leads to a corridor that connects to the left and right wings of the house. The right wing contains a kitchen and dining room, while the left wing has a bedroom with private bath that has since been transformed into a multi-use space. The most outstanding part of the house is a small courtyard garden at the center of the home plan where Bhalangtham’s bedroom is located. The open space offers refreshing environment in the middle of lush foliage. There’s an outside sitting area with a private garden view.
The furnishing and decoration is left in the good hand of interior designer and close friend Suranart Lerdkunakorn. Knowing the homeowner’s taste, Suranart creates a mix-and-match interior combining chic vintage ornamentation with newer furniture and decorations from different eras and styles. On the whole, home décor and accents give a hint of Eastern culture that makes the interior warm and welcoming. Strong, deep colors make the interior room visually interesting. Asked to elaborate on this, the designer said:
“Bhalangtham likes the metallic duck-head green and navy blue; hence much of the interior is pained dark shades of color. Together, they bring renewal and nature to the indoor living spaces. As for furniture and decorations, a chinoiserie dining table that’s a gift from the previous homeowner comes in handy to reduce the stiffness of modern home design. Elsewhere, vintage décor ideas imported from Bhalantham’s old house complement a look that’s stylish and relaxing.”
A perfect amalgam of chinoiserie, vintage, modern, and classic styles is a distinctive feature that gives the house meaning and character. Combine that with a courtyard filled with lush foliage of the container garden, and the benefits are amazing. Despite its small size, the patch of greenery serves as the lungs of the house, a condition that ensures everyone wakes up fresh and happy every day.