Cover The living and dining area of an apartment designed by Joyce Wang Studio

These hotel-style apartments that come with glamorous facilities and panoramic views could be the next highly-coveted haute property in the Thai capital

Commonly known as the Old Town area of Bangkok, the city’s Rattanakosin Island has experienced waves of change over the years. Sited along the Chao Phraya River, the historic enclave has witnessed a blitz of luxury hotel openings and property launches. A new monorail extension, the BTS Gold Line, is also expected to run in phases in the next few years.

As one of the prominent landmarks in the neighbourhood, The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok hotel seems to be history incarnate. Since it was first built over 140 years ago, the grand dame has seen the city progress from a trading port to the bustling metropolis that it is today. Just across the river from the hotel is The Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, a luxury freehold property launched in collaboration with Thai property developer MQDC. The first Mandarin Oriental-branded residence in Southeast Asia is a 52-storey condominium that is a part of the Iconsiam mixed-use complex—a THB54 billion (S$243 million) venue that features retail, entertainment and cultural venues.

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Envisioned as an architectural tribute to the Chao Phraya River, the building has 146 waterfront units, which include a mix of two- and three-bedroom apartments as well as penthouses with private lift access. Foster & Partners was roped in as an architecture consultant, while Joyce Wang Studio was tasked to design its glamorous interiors.

“The Residences at Mandarin Oriental has been designed with influences derived from both the organic landscape and the unique vernacular architecture of Bangkok today,” explains Wang, the founder of her eponymous studio. “By reflecting the qualities of the river—from the organic lines of the river bed, the raw edges and geometric forms of rocks and shells, and the various tones of river sediment—a strong foundation for the interior concept was formed.”

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Upon entering the lobby, a stunning array of chainmail chandeliers makes an indelible impression; Wang considers it as one of her favourite elements in the project. “The chandeliers move subtly with the winds and glisten against the light; they are reminiscent of water movement and reflections off the surface of the Chao Phraya River,” she says. The ethereal quality of the lighting also forms a pleasing yet gentle contrast to the splendid lobby.

The lobby is designed as a social space that creates a sense of community among the residents. It features various lounge areas as well as a communal pantry where homeowners can pick up a coffee or two while chatting with neighbours. Another shared space on the fourth storey features a light-infused lounge furnished with an open kitchen and suspended bookcases filled with design tomes and objets d’art. A state-of-the-art gym and a golf simulator are also located on the fifth floor.

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The crown jewel of the common areas is on the 36th floor, where homeowners can appreciate the impressive sights of the city. “We wanted to create a show-stopping experience for residents and their guests to enjoy breathtaking views across Bangkok,” explains Wang. A custom-made solid marble drink fountain is the focal point of this space for visitors and residents to relish the cocktails, fresh juices and snacks served throughout the day.

Besides the common areas, Joyce Wang Studio was also tasked to craft the interior architecture of almost all of the apartments to create a seamless transition between the public and private spaces. Luxurious finishes and bespoke detailing defined the project, with the studio partnering local Thai artisans and manufacturers to create bespoke furniture and lighting as well as custom-made wall panels for the property.

“Every material application is used to help tell a story that encompasses the overall design vision,” says Wang. “Timber panelling, travertine slabs and timber parquet all add up to create a rhythm within the space that eases the resident from the hectic urban environment of Bangkok into a subdued pace within The Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.” 

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