A Thai Tower in Tiles

A distinctive Moiré pattern is wrapped around the latest building added to the Bangkok skyline.
20 July, 2017
On the site of the former British Embassy gardens in Thailand's capital city is a new, 36-story tower called Central Embassy.
Central Embassy is the latest project of the Amanda Levete Architects firm, based in the UK. The project features 1.5 million square feet of mixed use space that includes luxury retail shops along one of Bangkok's busiest stretches, and a 27-story, five-star Park Hyatt hotel within the destination district.

The unusual shape of Central Embassy relies on a contoured form that wraps ribbon-like from the retail pavilion, twisting up and over the full height of the hotel façade and back down again. A sinewy surface, with a sculpted texture within the cladding, is achieved by using 300,000 individual aluminium tiles that each have two surfaces. The metal captures sky and city, and is alive with light, shadow and shimmer.

The signature style is meant to connect traditional Thai patterns with a futuristic and technical vision, just as the architects themselves relied on both digital design and tried-and-true architectural practices.
Central Embassy goes to the heart of what makes Bangkok such an extraordinary place. By embracing advanced technology as well as local heritage and culture, the building is local to its surrounding yet simultaneously redefines the location. A distinctive new presence on the skyline that is both fresh and exciting, Central Embassy nonetheless feels like it has always belonged here, already a valued part of the city.
The project vision for Central Group, a Thai retail store operator, was meant to connect both street and skyline, so the architects placed a priority on openness that is enhanced by the aluminium tiles as the hotel tapers to its top. That aesthetic also is supported by two full-length vertical light wells in the hotel. Each of the atrium spaces, accessible from each floor, opens up to stepped terraces while serving a functional purpose in defining spaces within the building. The private, guest-related parts of the Park Hyatt face the gardens of the Nai Lert Park, and support the more residential experience of the towers. On the other side, the hotel reception area, bar and a sky terrace face the busy city center of Bangkok.
The looping curvature of the architectural wrap continues on that street side of the building, ending where rows of outdoor balconies begin and sweeping up to the windows of the first floors of the guest suites. On the public-facing side, full-glass panels and entrance doors soar up to the aluminium shell.

The luxury retail mall celebrates technology companies – it is, after all, located on the corner of Wireless and Ploenchit – but also is home to Chanel, Ralph Lauren, a Sephora shop and a Harrod's presence. On the fifth level are restaurants and the rooftop-bar home of the trendy Siwilai City Club, which is a 1,200 square meter space divided into different subzones to cater to clients in cultural clusters and cuisines.
Image: Archdaily
The sixth floor of the retail space is devoted to literature and the arts, with theater set-ups and gallery spaces along with a bookstore and even a "co-thinking" space for creatives. Musicians, fashion designers and visual artists exhibit and perform, bringing the spark of innovation and creativity. The Central Embassy tower, beautiful itself, also is home to one of the city's best spaces for watching the natural beauty of sunsets that glow and change colors in the ever-shifting shimmer of the aluminium tiles.
Banner image: Yonder