Blog : chiang mai

A Glimpse into the World of Rare Foliage Plants, Beautiful Garden by Bensley Design Studios

A Glimpse into the World of Rare Foliage Plants, Beautiful Garden by Bensley Design Studios

Bensley Design Studios is a design firm with many world-class hotels to its credit. Notable among these are the Four Seasons Tented Camp, the Four Seasons Koh Samui, the Kempinski Udaipur, the Siam, and the Indigo Pearl to name a few. Founded by Bill Bensley, who collabed with business partner Jirachai Rengthong, the firm has won acclaim for outstanding works in architecture, interior decoration, garden design and landscape development.

Bensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, ThailandBensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand

“Botanica Garden” is a nursery in Chiang Mai that’s home to hundreds of leaf plant species that Jirachai, an avid horticulturist, has cultivated over many years. It’s an oasis of beautifully maintained greenery that proves a perfect complement to the works of Bensley Design Studios. Some of the young plants grown here are offered for purchase at Kham Thiang Market, Chiang Mai’s largest botanical marketplace.

Bensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Sunlight gives bromeliad plants their bright color and beautiful form. Bromeliad requires direct sun for only half a day. In a nursery, mesh fabric capable of 50 to 60 percent protection will suffice.
Bensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Variegated Malayan spurge trees are succulent plants in the Euphorbia family. They thrive in full sun. Plant stems will grow tall and turn mostly green if placed in low light conditions.

For several decades Jirachai has nurtured and grown foliage plants and tropical species from across the globe at this nursery. He started out with varieties of bromeliad, cordyline or good luck plants, philodendron, aglaonema, anthurium, calathea, and agave before moving on to a detailed study in plant behavior and the breeding of plant specimens by natural processes.

As Jirachai put it, “Normally, after we buy unfamiliar species native to the equatorial climate zone, we try propagating them from the parent stock and observe how they respond to new environments. Every detail counts. Some species perform better in Chiang Mai producing brighter color leaves than they do in Bangkok. Interestingly, others fare badly when planted in the ground. Some species thrive in full sun, while others can tolerate partial shade. We also discover that cordyline or good luck plants perform better in soil than in organic coconut husk pieces. They don’t shed leaves when planted in soi, but they do when put in coconut husk.”

Bensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Philodendron is no stranger among garden growers. Available in many different colors and leaf forms, they are good for interior decoration and make great garden attractions.
Bensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Panama hat palms are known for beautiful leaves that resemble fan blades. They don’t grow very tall, which makes them suitable for planting as privacy screen.
Bensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Plants in the family Araceae come in a wide variety of growth forms, both terrestrial and aquatic.

Offering an open view of the surrounding area, the nursery is canopied by black mesh fabric that gives protection from the sun. Plants that thrive in partial sun are grown here. They are safe in the hands of experienced gardeners.

“Propagation by air layering is a method that should be used in a bid to prevent plants from shedding leaves. Once roots have sufficiently developed, the stem can be cut from the parent plant and potted up. This allows the new plant to grow into naturally beautiful form. As for philodendron, coconut husk pieces are preferred over soil,” Jirachai explained. Apart from the propagation of plant species for decoration and sale, the nursery also specializes in cross breeding to produce desirable features in one offspring. Some young plants are so original and unique that they can fetch as much as a million baht.

Bensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Foliage plants, such as croton, enjoy full sun to produce brilliant color.

“Caring for plants the right way, only Osmocoat fertilizer is added to soil once every three months, while 16-16-16 fertilizer is used once a month. As for bromeliad, ferns, and philodendron, Osmocoat alone will suffice. This fertilizer is effective in stimulating growth in potted plants. The same applies to ferns, but it should be diluted with water and given using sprayers.”

“Pests that attack these plants aren’t many. They include varieties of coccidae, or scale insects, and fungal infections that happen in the rainy season. Sprayed insecticides will likely stay long enough to have effect. Philodendron and anthurium can be raised as indoor houseplants. Give them just enough water and avoid being waterlogged. Place containers where it’s well ventilated. To protect against fungal infections, avoid moist or wet locations.”

Bensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, ThailandBensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand Bensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, ThailandBensley Design Studios, Botanica Garden, Beautiful Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand

That concludes our handy hints and a guide to leaf plant care. For more information, drop by Botanica Garden, or give them a visit at Kham Thiang Market next time you’re in Chiang Mai.

Story: Panchach
Photographs: Sitthisak

Furniture Ideas for Spa and Health Resorts

Furniture Ideas for Spa and Health Resorts

Inspiring design creates meaningful first impressions. It adds value to a brand, and make the product and service memorable. That’s reason enough for a team of Thai designers and business owners to put their heads together and create furniture that gives a further boost to the spa, wellness, and health resort industry.

 

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The team also get the help they need from the Institute for Small and Medium Enterprise Development (ISMED), a division of the Ministry of Industry; and the Creative Economy Agency (CEA), a public organization.

To introduce new design into their business, they work jointly with a select team of craftsmen from the Handicraft Retailers Group of Baan Tawai in Chiang Mai, the Furniture Carpenters Group of Sukhothai, and the Office of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion (OSMEP).

Good design matters to the spa and health resort industry. This “Crafted Journey” furniture set is a product of collaboration with the Handicraft Retailers Group of Baan Tawai in Chiang Mai and the Furniture Carpenters Group of Sukhothai.
Beautifully crafted of rain-tree wood, these duo planters are inspired by flower garland pendants. – From Rungnirand. Designed by Sarisa Viraporn.
“Dwelling of Satisfaction”, a lighted curio cabinet set with antique finish and handy hints about the Thai way. — From Nantiya Décor. Designed by Rush Pleansuk.

The collaborative project aptly named “Crafted Journey” has Siriwan Tempati as team leader. Distinguished members include Rush Pleansuk of the design studio “Sumphat Gallery”, Sarinya Limthongtip of the “Srinlim” brand, and Sarisa Viraporn of the furniture store “Brezza Dee”.

The project debuted its products recently during the “Style Bangkok” event, and will go on show at the Chiang Mai Design Week 2019, which will take place on 7-15 December. Plenty of inspiring designs. See for yourself if you are in town during this time.

Designed to blend in with a round lounge chair, this rope weave partition can be set up vertically or horizontally. — From Chakriya. Designed by Rush Pleansuk.
A two-piece celadon tea set portraying mountain scenery and geometric shape art. — From Chiang Mai Celadon. Designed by Sarinya Limthongtip.
A handcrafted mirror frame inspired by lotuses in full bloom. Lotuses are symbols of purity. — From Bamboosay Craft. Designed by Sarisa Viraporn.
A set of table and curio cabinet gets its inspiration from stupas and other Buddhist shrines around the ancient capital Sukhothai. – From the Wood Handicrafts Cooperative of Baan Ram Yai. Designed by Sarisa Viraporn.
“Pigoon Sri”, antique inspired lanterns with a bullet-wood floral pattern on stained glass casing — From Mai Goft. Designed by Sarisa Viraporn.
“Chabaprai”, a set of stackable accessory containers handcrafted the old-fashioned way, available in both wood stain and color paint. – From Chabaprai. Designed by Sarinya Limthongtip.
“Trayble” is a set of table and tray crafted of teak. The wood tray can detach from the tabletop when needed. — From Baurieo. Designed by Sarisa Viraporn.
Round tables with complementing lounge chair and antique armoire present a relaxing provincial ensemble in the parlor designed for receiving guests.
A Boutique Farm Stay in Chiang Mai

A Boutique Farm Stay in Chiang Mai

A boutique farm-stay destination in norther Thailand has provided a good example of how a business could involve the community every step of the way. It thrives on showing respect and fitting in with local ways of living. It’s secret: City and local people stand to gain from each other’s presence and coexist in peaceful harmony with nature.

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Story: Punchat /// Photography: Supakorn Srisakul, Sitthisak Namkham  /// Owner & Designer: Jak Ladpli

The farm stay offers four rooms with garden views at the rear of the building, one on each floor.

An architect from Bangkok recently started the boutique farm-stay in Mae Rim District, a 15-minute drive from central Chiang Mai. In a unique way he adapted to be in sync with the new environment and still remained very much in vogue. How did they do it? The answer can be found at the wholesome destination called “Chic 39.”

Farm stay owner Jak “Joke” Ladpli said his was an interesting piece of architecture in the middle of a lush landscape. Chic 39 is offering guest accommodation and operating in conjunction with the surrounding community. It thrives on a simple concept — Make the space modern and keep decor local.

“Call it modern local if you will,” said Joke. “As newcomers, we respect the community, its people, and their ways of life. In our hearts we are modern, kind of like a man donning business attire. But such a formal outfit would be out of place here. The contrast would be too obvious. So we chose a modern cube-shaped design, and paired it with materials that represented local values and wisdom.”

“That’s the metaphor defining our design concept. Like a business outfit made of folk fabric known as “Mo Hom,” the hotel building offers textures and finishing touches crafted of materials that are readily available locally. They include bamboo, palm tree trunks, and old-fashioned corrugated sheets.”

The farm stay involves the community in its day-to-day operations. Joke said: “In this area 4-5 villages are actively engaged in flower farming. Having done it for several generations, the growers produce cut flowers for a wide variety of decorations, from shops to hotels to even food. Especially yellow chrysanthemums, they prefer to grow them during winter months.”

Flower growers leave electric lights on at least three hours after sunset. Increased exposure to light helps flower stems grow a bit longer in time for harvesting.

At night the weather is cold, and the flower farm is aglow with colorful neon lights. “If you don’t feel like going to bed early, just hang out and enjoy the views,” Joke said, adding, “In fact, the lights are left on for a good reason. Increased exposure to light helps flower stems grow longer before they are harvested the morning after. “If you are an early riser, put on a pair of boots and go help the planters harvest some flowers.”

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