/ Chiang Mai, Thailand /
/ Story: Warapsorn / English version: Bob Pitakwong /
/ Photographs: Sungwan Phratep /
Chamnian Thongma is one of the country’s top artists and sculptors. Many prefer to call him just “Thongma.” The artist is widely known for having produced many life-size figurative sculptures. His works are soft and sweet with a little bit of rawness, the likes of which aplenty at his studio home.
The artist’s home is on the highway in Chiangmai Province. It is nestled in the heart of an old housing project. Thongma came across this piece of land while working on a friend’s decoration project, which was right next door.
When he first bought it, the one-Rai (1,600 sq.m) land was teeming with long tall grasses. After all the clutter was hacked out, it was a beauty just like it was when the project was born many years back. It took less than four months to build this house from start to finish.
Thongma started out with simple design with a work studio occupying the front section facing the highway. The residential section is in the rear and sits on the water’s edge, where flowing sounds of the stream can be heard all day. The finished project comprises of three one-story buildings looking very much alike but serving entirely different functions. They all have simple gable roofs.
The studio exterior walls are crafted of exposed brickwork. The entrance doorway sports a different kind of appeal. The shutters come in classic antique design. Next to it stands the residential section, which consists two white buildings.
The fascia is made of reclaimed wood boards to add a country rustic feel to it. The two residential units connect to each other based on an L-shaped floor plan.
The first unit houses Thongma’s bedroom, while the second is reserved for guest accommodation. Both buildings come complete with plenty of wall openings to let natural light shine through from every angle. Meantime, natural ventilation makes interior living spaces light and airy, and reduces the harsh appearance of building materials.
The house interior is bedecked with décor items from Thongma’s collections. They comprise old, elegant furniture from France. They were arranged and utilized in ways that give the look and feel of a European country home.
The living spaces are not divided into small rooms, which makes the entire interior feel light and airy. The owner humbly says it is good enough as a shelter protecting him from the elements, but it is warm and enjoyable thanks to plenty of chic décor ideas.
It came as no surprise that Thongma preferred spending time in the open air to being indoors. The natural beauty of the environment was just irresistible. It has gotten everything to take him straight to nature – the stream, the mellifluous sounds, and the lacy canopy of fully grown trees.
Nature and our lives are inextricably linked. It is cool to be able to live in a nature-inspired environment in order to create works of art. And that is what Thongma has been doing. The studio home best describes who he is and what he is about.
Owner/Designer: Chamnian Thongma
Visit the original Thai version…
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