With a big bang and 30 million USD event budget, the Icon Siam mega-mall on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand, was opened on the weekend of 9 to 11 November 2018. The 2.2 billion USD mega project comprises two retail complexes, two luxurious residential towers, and public areas on 750,000 square meters and a 400-meter, 10,000 square-meter riverfront. That by itself would be quite impressive, however, there is a lot more that this long-awaited development has to offer to the market, the design and art world. Under the theme of co-creation and creating shared values, Thai beliefs and traditions have been artfully combined with the latest in architecture, design, craftsmanship, and art. Over 1,000 creators and makers were involved in the development of the property that will be the most connected transportation hub in the City of Lights. The three developers Siam Piwat, Magnolia Quality Development Corporation (MQDC), and Charoen Pokphand Group brought together Thai and international talents from a wide array of disciplines to create a true Thai icon to present to the world. ‘Icons within Icons’ is a construction of many small buildings within the larger complex of Icon Siam that gives each of the smaller ones a 360-degree façade with maximum exhibition space. They are like mansions under one roof. This architectural concept has been executed for the first time in Thailand. Of course, this is not the only first of Icon Siam. In fact, it would probably too extensive to list all the ‘firsts’ that the project has to offer. A few need to be pointed out. The 25,000 square-meter ‘Icon Luxe’ luxury pavilion is the longest pillarless glass façade in the world. The 300-meter glass façade represents three traditional ‘Krathongs’, symbols of Thai cultural values looking like blooming flowers. The glass was specially produced to create the vertical pleats that are a further inspiration from traditional Thai dresses and the pleated shawls. The interior decoration is a collaboration of massive dimensions with Thai and international artists and artisans creating a one-of-a-kind shopping and entertainment experience enveloped in modern interpretations of ‘Thainess’. This is the first time that so many creative minds in Thailand came together for a commercial project to create and develop art. From painted columns from the four regions of Thailand, to exclusively composed songs for Icon Siam, to ‘Iconcraft’ – a 2,500 square-meter area – for creativity, innovative art, and contemporary craft, to statues, paintings, carvings, and a chandelier inspired by the shape of woven garlands, the multi-complex has it all. At the River Park, a magnificent sculpture by Ajarn Chalermchai Kositpipat towers over a 400-meter long multi-media, light and sound water fountain that is the longest in Southeast Asia. Built by the GHESA Water and Art Co. Ltd. fountain specialists, the special air pressure nozzles project water up to a height of 35 meters into the air creating water shapes in 2D, 3D, and 4D. It would be amiss not to mention the two super-luxury residential towers that tower over Icon Siam. The 70-floor MQDC with 379 unites uncrowns Mahanakorn as the tallest building in Thailand and is one of the tallest residences at a riverfront in Asia. The 52-floor Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is the first of the brand’s residential development in the region. The design and construction of both of the towers are of equal standards as projects in London, Tokyo, and Shanghai. In addition to culture, Thainess, and tradition, Icon Siam is also the center of innovation. The first-ever Apple store in Thailand calls it its home, and Asia’s first BMW center showcases automobiles using virtual reality through special eyeglasses to present the different features, to change background colors from day to night, or car colors. It is also possible to virtually walk around the car and get inside it. Icon Siam offers the best in communication innovation and services with the fastest fiber optic in Thailand and most innovative communication packages. With so many firsts to celebrate, the opening on 9 to 11 November needed to highlight all of the features of the mall and multi-complex. The first night with 36,000 invited guests offered a concert by Alicia Keys, appearances by American actress Naomi Watts, and K-Pop star Choi Si-won. Famous floral artist Sakul Intakul designed floral sculptures that were between 1.5 to 9 meters in diameter and up to 1.2 meters high. Another attraction was the High Art of Food Decoration by Tom Wolfe and Sorapol. Tom Wolfe is a chef who collaborated on this first project in Thailand with Sorapol, an haute couture designer based in the UK. The results were eye-pleasing creations that also tasted scrumptiously. The stars of the evening apart from the amazing traditional dances and percussion performances with numerous professional and amateur artists were the 1,500 drones that created the largest light show in Southeast Asia so far. The number of drones was even higher than during the show at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Shopping destination Bangkok has just gotten richer with the opening of Icon Siam that provides much more than a shopping paradise. The new destination is a celebration of Thai culture and values in an absolutely stunning location.
#Iconsiam #contemporarydesign #retaildesign