It’s our aim to create spaces for meaningful interactions and as we give you a glimpse of the work that’s going into our first hotel, ASAI Bangkok Chinatown, you’ll see that collaboration is at the heart of everything. Come with us behind the scenes to see local talents and materials coming together to create something unique.
At its core, ASAI Bangkok Chinatown is a hotel that’s inspired by localness. The polished stone bench in the reception area is an overscaled version of those found in front of Chinese houses, and we’ve added the motif of a round opening, which is found in Chinese architecture, famously in the form of a moon gate.
The mural on the wall behind the bench is inspired by the concrete facades of the row houses in Chinatown. We sent the design to the craftspeople, who carefully worked on it section by section, painting the graphics onto the cement surface, laying the terrazzo on top and defining the shapes before pouring the colours into each section. They left it to set, then scrubbed, cleaned and polished until it was shiny and smooth. Now it lives on the wall.
Team ASAI and our talented friends chose local materials to create the amazing terrazzo effect and the finished piece is truly a combination of local influences. You’ll find this wall art behind the huge bench in the self check-in area at ASAI Bangkok Chinatown.
We were looking for a way to divide and define our spaces, in a way that would be functional but also decorative. At first we were just going to use ropes, but then came the idea to incorporate thread spools. We worked with a local artist, Gong from Ease Studio, who’s an expert in fabric, printing and ropes.
It’s called a 1000/1000 Curtain (in Thai, the same word means thousand and wrapping) and this functional art installation is inspired by the tassels of Chinese lanterns, to demonstrate the ways that traditional local wisdom can serve modern functions. By wrapping embroidery thread around tubes and working locally made wood balls into the pattern, we created a modern oriental motif. Months of development went into the effect you’ll see when we open and we can’t wait for you to explore the space.
When your salad is picked fresh from the on-site organic garden, that’s living local. Organic farming is all about understanding the natural cycles of the farm and keeping the ecosystem in balance. We wanted to bring a more sustainable food system into the city, so we’ve planted 2,100 plants, from wild basil, white basil, red basil, sweet basil and hairy basil to mint, chilli, Vietnamese coriander and morning glory. They’ll all be used in salads, smoothies and fresh dishes, for you to enjoy in our communal area with its workspace, wellness zone, chill-out area and bar. JamJam at ASAI Bangkok Chinatown will have a seasonal, farm-driven menu and our chefs will be able to use ingredients fresh from the on-site organic garden.
Another element of the hotel inspired directly by the neighbourhood is the tiling. The dining room floor tiles are custom cut into octagon shapes and hand-painted by craftspeople in Nakhon Pathom. In the guest rooms, we’re decorating the closets with tiles handmade in Lampang. Tiles of various colours are arranged to create a pattern similar to what we usually see at the base of a pagoda, and hand-installed piece by piece by the experts. So neat!
Then there’s the folding doors between the bar and the courtyard. They’re found in colonial row houses everywhere in southeast Asia, Bangkok included, and they’re generally taller and thinner compared to other styles of folding doors. When the weather is good, our inside space will have a whole new feeling when we open them up, to connect with the outdoor areas, where you’ll find activities like growing vegetables, hanging out and wellness classes.
These are just a few of the ways we’re merging local culture with our design by sharing knowledge and ideas. It was a privilege for us to work with local talents and use sustainable materials and we’re so excited about the result. ASAI is all about building local communities and collaborating with the talents around us and we look forward to working on more initiatives like this across all our hotels. Stay tuned.