Lush greenery and contemporary touches define this house in the heart of Bangkok.
Most city dwellers long for a serene sanctuary where they can break away from one act of life and replace it with another in a bustling metropolis. For Vincent, a business owner based in Bangkok, such a place constitutes an essential part of the quality of life.
On the look out for a new house that answered his party lifestyle, and a place of respite which he doesn’t have to share with other residents, he commissioned Ayutt and Associates design (AAd) to develop the Interlude House: an oasis to live in within the ever-bustling city of Bangkok.
“Interlude is a house designed not as the main act, but for the essential little moments in between,” notes Ayutt Mahasom, the lead designer of the project. “The client wanted a home that can be lived in practically, and on frequent occasions, be able to host parties of up to 30 guests.”
For the Bangkok-based studio, responding to the owner’s need for privacy was a huge challenge. Situated amongst a densely constructed busy neighbourhood in Sathorn, a major commercial district of the capital, the property is accessed only by a heavily trafficked narrow 4.5-metre road. The solution was to conceal the central garden behind a dark cave-like front that greets passers-by with no hint to what lays beyond it.
Upon first look, the 800 square-metre house appears as a mysterious opaque box-shaped building. Raised a half level to deflect inward-looking eyes towards the ceiling, it maintains privacy in areas with large openings.
While the ground floor is designed as an opaque black impenetrable box, the upper level is clad in a lighter white hue. The central garden, complete with a swimming pool, takes centre stage.
“To bring the outside in, all outdoor space is directed towards the green central court against the neighbour’s garden,” Mahasom explains. “The mid-ground greenery connecting with the neighbouring landscape is a trick of the eye to extend the house’s spatial domain.”
Adjacent to the pool, the garage wall is lined with an angular aluminium featured façade that gives the mass a weightless illusion as if hovering above the air. The wall reflects the garden and the pool, and people that move towards it find copies of themselves appearing and disappearing as though passing through a house of mirrors at the fair – no doubt a welcome feature at parties.
Inside the abode, the team has designated the common living area of the ground level as an open space containing the kitchen, living and dining rooms. The kitchen surface, island and back wall are all lined with a smart black and white marble arranged in a diamond pattern.
Most of the furniture, says Mahasom, is custom-made to align with the design concept, while some loose items have been obtained from international auctions or selected from the owner’s collection of antiques.
In the living room, the custom-made dining table is crafted from 200-year-old timber, behind which hangs two paintings collected by the owner. To the left, the double-height living area is decked with a large mural of round and geometric abstractions. Above the cubist Minotti sofa, the chandelier echoes the mural with round bulbs and tubular housing.
The cantilever stairs have been precisely crafted such that the stone pattern aligns and runs continuously from the ground floor to the upper level. From the clerestory window above the stairs, a ray of light traverses down the wall and ceases at the handrail, culminating in a natural sundial that varies dependent on the seasons, with thick and thin rays denoting hours and minutes.
“The house is, at the end of the day, an oasis to be lived in. The spaces are designed to deliver exactly as required: to supplement the functional and emotional needs of the client,” Mahasom says. “The architecture does not actively draw attention unto itself, it seeks to be a place that elevates the living quality of the client; a place to seek solace before heading outside where the next act awaits.”
Photo: CHALERMWAT WONGCHOMPOO (SOFOGRAPHY)