LUXE Meets: Duangrit Bunnag, Architect & Designer, Bangkok
One of the most influential voices in Bangkok, architect Duangrit Bunnag is responsible for some of Thailand’s most innovative buildings.
His work spans shopping malls and award-winning resorts to pet projects like hip hangout The Jam Factory and recently opened gallery-design-community space Warehouse 30. Duangrit is also a driving force behind the Creative District, an eclectic, vibrant riverside area near Charoen Krung Road. We chat to him about his starry career and beloved hometown.
How did you get to where you are now?
It was a 40-year process. From a young age, I found that art, design and architecture responded well to my nature. I did a degree in architecture without realising how hard it would be, though!
Describe your approach to design...
One word: authenticity. Whatever I do, in design or business, it has to be authentic.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
To listen. Once I changed my approach and really started to listen to people, and what they wanted and needed, it completely opened up my world.
Where do you find inspiration?
Anything that’s not me. That sounds a bit vague but, when I’m working for other people, as opposed to myself, it is their perspective that’s fundamental to my design.
What do you most love about Bangkok?
Everything! I love Bangkok. I love that it’s loud, unplanned, and chaotic. It’s diverse and coherent at the same time. I love the food, the people, the river – I hate most of the architecture, but I’m okay with that.
And what frustrates you about the city?
The people who are governing the city; they have no clue about what people want. And the traffic. Bangkok needs to become more environmentally aware.
What do you recommend visitors do in Bangkok?
Anything on or along the river. The relationship between the river and the city is unique and it’s something us Bangkokians are very proud of. Bangkok also boasts some good museums and art collections. The Bangkok City Gallery is a favourite of mine.
Name some of your favourite places to eat...
I often eat at The Jam Factory’s Never Ending Summer, but I also love the Old Town‘s smaller alleyways, where you’ll find everything from barbecued pork and noodles to local Thai food. Wander away from the busy main roads and you’ll stumble across some amazing street food stalls.
What’s Bangkok’s best-kept ‘secret’?
Exciting new restaurants crop up on Soi Nana in the Old Town all the time, but my favourite has to be Ba Hao, a retro-styled shophouse serving Chinese street food.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a private members’ club called Cloud House, on the top floor of EMQuartier, that will launch later this year. It’s a bit like Soho House, except there will be areas that can be accessed by non-members too.
Take a bigger bite of the Big Mango with the LUXE Bangkok guide...
A spur-of-the-moment decision to move to Bangkok brought Liz to Asia in 2003, where over a decade and three countries later, she's in Hong Kong heading up LUXE editorial.
- Liz LOVES... Chilli (on everything), getting lost in cities, hiking, people-watching at airports
- Liz LOATHES... Suburbia, MSG
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