A look inside The Siam hotel a design-lovers’ dream – created by Bill Bensley
When The Siam hotel opened on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok five years ago, it marked a point in the evolution of East-meets-West Thai hospitality design. Under the guidance of creative director Krissada Sukosol Clapp and the Sukosol Group, Bill Bensley (and 2018 A&D Trophy Award Judge) brought his renowned design sensibilities to the project, originally intended to be an estate where Clapp could house his considerable collection of European and Asian antiques and works of art.
Now among the world's most luxurious hotels, The Siam's singular interiors and their inherently connected architecture and landscaping are being celebrated in honour of the hotel's fifth anniversary. The book The Siam: Our World collects 750 photographs shot over two years by London-based photographer Michael Paul in a single volume that illustrates the property's design fusion and its interpretation of innovative interiors.
A journey through The Siam begins with a main residence that recalls Paris's Musée d'Orsay, signalling its marriage of Western art deco with Rama V-era Thai elements, both dating to the turn of the 20th century, for a complementary contrast of old-world luxury and ancient Thai heritage; an unexpected juxtaposition of eclecticism and timelessness.
No surface is free of texture
With just 39 guest rooms and four traditional teak villas, The Siam hotel is dominated by its public spaces, where the incorporation of carefully selected pop-culture accents, such as the vintage film projector in the state-of-the-art media room are given room to stand out. Lush gardens, pools and courtyards are enveloped in a graceful symmetry that brings the outside inside, and are balanced – and counterbalanced – with curvilinear Thai geometries, foliage and detailed tiling. No surface is free of texture.
While each guest suite has its own design, the design elements that connect them are most obvious in the form of the subdued colour scheme: cream or white furnishings boast classical art deco motifs, with accessories in grey and neutral tones. Also of note are the recessed wall panels hosting works of art, timber, inlaid flooring, and art deco accents (particularly in the form of the bathrooms' elongated mirrors). Brick patterning, mosaic tiling and brass accessories and fixtures all serve to add retro glamour to the rooms. In keeping with both art deco and Thai aesthetics, materials such as wood – from dark teak to subtle ash – leather, stone and woven fabrics are used liberally, lending the suites a welcoming tactility.
This text was taken from “Tactile classicism", an article from the May issue of Perspective magazine.
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