Bangkok is not short on history, but even so, Wireless Road has a memorable tale or two to tell, with its colourful past as a crucial part of Thailand's radio industry and the silk trade. Now, it has a new notch in its belt, as the location of the first Hotel Indigo to be launched in southeast Asia. "In the 1940s and '50s, Wireless Road was the location of Bangkok's first radio tower. We've integrated this aspect into the design and artwork," says Sabine Beck, HBA's lead designer on the project. "The hotel is also located near one of the first silk production centres in Bangkok — the one that Jim Thompson bought from."
Thompson was, of course, none other than the American businessman whom Time magazine claimed "almost singlehandedly saved Thailand's vital silk industry from extinction". HBA's design team was adamant, however, that it did not just want to create another vintage hotel, so other elements based on the hotel location were also drawn from in terms of inspiration — the theme of silk, for example, transformed old-style furniture pieces into fresh, brightly coloured new pieces which stand out against the simple architectural backdrops.
With interior design by HBA, the new 192-room Hotel Indigo also drew inspiration from its site adjacent to Lumpini Park. Upon arrival, for instance, guests pass through a large, double-leafed, timber-framed glass door which opens up right into the lobby — customised bronze door handles and timber details on the tall architrave give a hint of the design language and materials used throughout the interiors. There are timber/mirrored ceilings; a metal-clad counter doubling as a reception area and espresso bar; and tall teak panels which express the height of the space and lead the eye up to the mezzanine bar that is open to the lobby.
Not forgetting the quirk factor, the concierge features a DJ station adjacent to a lounge area, with bright furniture and colourful rugs that evoke the hues of Thai silk. Walking past an industrial steel staircase that wraps around a black metal mesh structure, a large artwork installation of old radios and music-themed memorabilia dating back to the beginning of radio in Bangkok graces the space.
This is a preview of the “Broadcasting Loud & Clear" article from the September 2015 issue of Perspective magazine.
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