Japanese studio nendo has recently completed a complex redevelopment plan, covering both interior and exterior design, for five floors of “Siam Discovery” – large-scale retail complex in Bangkok, Thailand. The existing building was deep with a narrow frontage, resulting in a poor flow of visitors at the front. To deal with this problem the many existing circular atriums dotted through the building were extended and joined up to create an elongated canyon-like space of over 58m that draws visitors into the back of the building.

A wall consisting of a stack of 220 frame-shaped boxes with video monitors, digital signage and displays of merchandise inside them was installed along one side of the atrium. This wall has the effect of drawing visitors to the upper floors since it extends up from the first to the fourth floor. By repositioning the escalators to run through the atrium and wall, the design also facilitates a smoother flow of circulation.

Rather than categorising merchandise by brand, the experience is organised around the theme of “Lifestyle Laboratory”. This aims at encouraging visitors to discover and enjoy a mixture of tastes and lifestyles, and to reflect this, motifs were designed at 13 different locations around the sales floors that include laboratory equipment such as beakers, flasks, and test-tubes, and diagrams of molecular structures, nucleotide DNA sequences, microscopes and amoeba, smoke and bubbles.

nendo blended the finishes on the floors and ceilings in the common areas and retail spaces in a graduated way which gives an impression that different materials are stirred together, making a point of creating an atmosphere where people can feel relaxed and feel free to approach the stores.

Finally, nendo created a character called “Discovery Man” as the symbol for the retail complex. The character expresses intellectual curiosity and creativity – his head is a cube like those used throughout the design of the building and the top is slightly open as if something is always popping in and out. The character also serves as a guide in the complex. As one of the opening events, 30 artists from Thailand and across Asia were chosen to paint and customise the boxes to decorate the space.

 

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[Images courtesy of nendo.]

 

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