Open House

11 08 2017


The Open House bookstore is Bangkok’s newest buzzy retail concept. Atop the city’s most high-end retail space, the Central Embassy mall, it is a fittingly chic combination of bookstore, lounge and food court designed by the same architects who fitted Tokyo’s exquisite T-Site bookstore. At Open House, the concept is an interesting one. Beautiful art books (and an exhibition space) pull in the punters and the various food outlets scattered among the shelves ring the tills. It is beautifully executed, with comfy sofas and floor-to-ceiling windows giving dramatic views over the Ploenchit skyscrapers, almost like a tropical Fifth Avenue. The whole thing really speaks to Bangkok’s new confidence as a glamorous style destination.

I bought an interesting Japanese novella, The Transparent Labyrinth by Keiichiro Hirano, and had my eye on a cool inflatable bonsai for my new place only to be told it was for display only, not sale.



Greetings from Planet Bangkok

5 08 2017

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Bread and heartache

5 08 2017


Holey is a stylish-looking artisanal bakery on Sukhumvit Soi 33. I had passed it earlier in the week, and waking up craving crusty European bread, I decided to make my way back. While googling for directions though, I turned up more than I had expected. First of all I was surprised to read that the hipster haven was an import from Bangladesh. In fact, the business is a refugee of sorts – having originally started in Dhaka it opened in Bangkok following a harrowing terrorist attack in 2016. ISIS-inspired militants had burst in, killing 20 customers (after torturing those who could not recite a passage from the Koran, including seven Japanese aid workers). I read this munching on my baguette in the cafe’s stylish and friendly Bangkok space, pondering what would have happened had I been in Dhaka that day. Why had a bread shop been a target? Was it simply a place where foreigners congregated, or was it more an scathing comment on the life of leisure enjoyed by expats in a country where few could afford 100 baht (or the equivalent) for a just-baked bread loaf?  The Bangkok bakery that day was certainly full of the fair and the moneyed, Phrom Phong beautiful people, Australian and European expats. And was I then “the enemy” too? Lots to chew over as I enjoyed my bread and butter.


5 08 2017


Lording over the collection at the Bangkok Scuplture Center is this powerful copy of the 1938 garuda bust adorning the city’s former Central post office. The original can now be seen up-close from the newly opened roof garden of the new Thailand Design and Culture Centre in the restored building on Charoen Krung.

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Subashok the Art Centre

5 08 2017


The sculpture of Kma Sirisamphan at the impressive new Subhasok The Art Centre space on Sukhmuvit Soi 39.


Chang Chui

29 07 2017


Chang Chui is an ambitious new shopping and eating complex in the Western suburbs – basically a hipster themepark. Centred around a decomissioned aeroplane (soon to house a taxidermy-themed restaurant) stands a cluster of cafes, bookshops, a documentary theatre, live music venue, instagram-ready statues, a craft beer bar, barber and a fine dining insect restaurant named after a Thai indie flick (” Insects in the Backyard”).

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Bangkok: Architecture of the unexpected

26 07 2017


The Bangkok suburbs are treasure troves of architectural whimsy from the city’s distinctive quasi-Islamic bank branches, to the actually Islamic “Thai Muslim Womens’ Fund for Orphans” (below) and this strange cave-like hangar containing a condo development in the upscale backstreet of Sathorn Soi 1.