Joyce Wang took inspiration from the snaking Chao Praya River when crafting interiors for a luxury apartment block towering above Bangkok’s main waterway.
September 11th, 2019
Joyce Wang has designed the communal areas and 146 apartments in the recently launched Residences at Mandarin Oriental at the Norman Foster-designed Icon Siam complex.
The brief was to create opulent interiors with influences derived from both the organic landscape and unique vernacular architecture of Bangkok today. Says Wang: “One major inspiration was the sinuous and dynamic form of the iconic Chao Phraya River, an iconic feature of Bangkok where this project is located.”
At the entrance on the ground floor, a backdrop of striking black state contrasts with neutral tones of timber and stonework, and evokes the landscapes of the Chao Phraya. Undulating travertine slabs on the towering lobby’s columns and timber parquet flooring create a relaxing rhythm to ease guests into home and out of the hectic city, says Wang.
On the walls, enamel artwork features golden threads – a reference to the fishing nets put to work on the mighty river. A statement sculpture carved from natural stone, meanwhile, evokes the Chao Praya’s riverbed.
The main focus of the space is the linear reception desks fronted by fanning metal grilles, which evoke the ripples of water. Chainmail drop chandeliers are one of Wang’s favourite aspects of the design, helping to bring the monolithic lobby to a more human scale.
“They move subtly with wind and glisten against the light; they are reminiscent of water movement and reflections off the top of the Chao Praya River,” she says.
Wang says one of the challenges of the project was the import regulation that made it harder to use external suppliers. The design team, however, used this as an opportunity to incorporate as local materials and craftsmanship as much as possible – particularly in the apartments.
Wang designed the building’s sky lounge on the thirty-sixth floor to centre on smaller, more intimate alcoves so that residents might enjoy the space as an extension of their own living rooms. Each seating area takes advantage of a jaw-dropping view over the Bangkok cityscape. Standing in the middle of the space is a solid-marble drinks fountain.
Wang wanted to foster a sense of community in the nearby library with an island workbench and low-level table lamps. Wang also created a sense of community by cleverly connecting the spaces – the gym overlooks the social areas and private dining rooms overlook the pool.
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