An oasis amid Bangkok's hustle and bustle
Located a few minutes from the highly revered Four-Faced Buddha in the heart of Bangkok, Ed Ng and Terence Ngan's private residence is a serene oasis infused with Thai elements and inspirations.
The founders of renowned interior design and architecture studio AB Concept love long weekends and short trips around Asia where they can experience different cultures. Bangkok has been one of their favorite hot spots to enjoy food and different vibes without having to adjust to a time difference.
"Bangkok has always been a destination attracting people from all over the world because of its unspoiled culture and history. As a designer and an architect, I like Bangkok because it's a spontaneous city, and there are fun people who are daring and adventurous. When you go to the shopping malls, streets and cafes, you always find interesting concepts," Ng said.
Having an apartment in Bangkok provides a reprieve from their busy work lives. It is on the 25th floor of a residential building in the center of the city.
"In Bangkok, I don't think I can ever drive and get used to the chaotic traffic, so one of the criteria I had was that the daily essentials have to be within walking distance while I'm able to jump on the Sky Train as the main communal choice," Ng said.
For many years, Ng made very minimal changes to the apartment layout from the standard provision. But one day he found out that all the hotels and developments around the neighborhood were going under construction.
"Even though the apartment is on a very high floor, we didn't want the view to be obstructed and still have privacy. Once the construction was finished, we knew what we would wanted to do with the layout. For example, we swapped the bedroom location," said Ng.
As time went by, the designer duo understood the lifestyle patterns in Bangkok and the needs for their home.
"We also got to learn more about the local sources, such as textiles, lighting, artisans... where we finally were able to consolidate our understanding of the local lifestyle and findings," Ng said.
The renovation process began in 2018, and the refurbishment took two years to complete.
Ng wanted to make the best use of the living space, so he removed the other rooms, leaving only the bedroom and a small den he uses as a study. The extra space is joined together to make a spacious living room with a great view of the cityscape, and the flexibility for different daily activities.
Most of the kitchen space was also removed, retaining just a simple stove that serves more as a pantry.
"Bangkok already has so much to offer in terms of food, especially considering we usually only stay for a long weekend or a week per trip. I can't even finish tasting all the different kinds of food within the premises," he said.
The space has become a part of Ng's walking closet connected to the en-suite, giving him enough space to keep enough clothes for different occasions so he can travel light all the time.
"When in Bangkok, especially in this neighborhood, you have more than enough stamina and hustle bustle vibe. The idea behind this home is to create a small getaway that eases the mind, a silent cocoon within the busy jungle. This home is about simplicity, and the idea is to bring as many local elements as possible; it's like a glimpse of the contemporary side of Bangkok living. However, we tried to decorate it in a minimal way, because you need some sort of balance between the vibe outside and the place where you rest," Ng said.
The overall design scheme is calm and soothing with the addition of ornate details and abundant local materials and decoration. A wide selection of Jim Thompson fabrics has been used throughout the apartment, from wall coverings to drapes, creating a quiet and relaxed interior in contrast to the bustle outside.
The bespoke white pewter screens in the living room have been beautifully crafted by a local Thai artist using a hand-hammered technique. The wooden sculpture on the shelf features a mobilized village in Thailand. The desk is made of solid local teak from a local company.
The walls and flooring in both the bathroom and den are covered in locally customized tiles. The bathroom's white color strikes a sharp and purifying contrast to the city's colorful backdrop, and the den provides an intimate retreat from the concrete jungle outside.
Most of the other items besides artworks were locally found or produced.
The couple came across a colorful four-poster daybed in a local antique market, and have placed it beneath the window in the master bedroom to perfectly frame the city view and provide an afternoon resting spot.
However, it is the living/study room where they spend most of the time while at home.
"I like to sit in the solid timber table enjoying the expansive city landscape of Bangkok through the 15-meter panoramic windows where you can see the heart of the city. And if I want to read a book or have a chill afternoon, I like to stay in the four-poster day bed decorated by Jim Thompson's textiles," Ng said.
Before the pandemic, the couple tried to come here at least once every other month.
"Sometime when I return from Europe, Bangkok is one of my favorite stops to drop by for a getaway weekend to rest for a bit and enjoy the city's unique energy," Ng said.