With their love of delivering unique statement projects, this small Bangkok design firm is making impactful waves across design disciplines. Nikki Busuttil writes.
25 July, 2013
Department of Architecture is the ‘love-child’ design firm of two Thai architects, completely and utterly enamoured with their work. Founded by Amata Luphaiboon and Twitee Vajrabhaya Teparkum in 2004, the pair previously worked together in Metric, a large-scale engineering firm.
Six Senses Samui
“We used to design factories, aircraft hangars and airline catering facilities. Things with a huge footprint… We gained a lot of experience, but were more interested in smaller-scale projects,” shares Luphaiboon. Then, they won an architecture competition for their design of the former Sila Evason Hideaway, now known as Six Senses Samui.
The project has since gone on to win multiple awards, and has garnered international acclaim. “We were thrilled. It was our first resort design, and we won a gold medal from the Association of Siamese Architects,” enthuses Teparkum.
“It was the equivalent of an Oscar for Thai architects,” jokes Luphaiboon, “so we thought we should concentrate only on projects we love.” Starting out with around four staff, they have since expanded to 27. The firm’s focus extends from architecture to interior design, landscape design, and other related design disciplines.
Affectionately known by clients as ‘Dept.’, they personally review and fall in love with every single project they do. “Asking us to choose our favourites would be like asking which child you love the most,” they laugh.
Their very first independent project was the award-winning Sala Phuket, followed by the interior design for Hilton Pattaya. They are currently working on a 160,000sqm luxury resort for the Taiwanese ‘Lalu’ brand in Guilin, China. Not limited to hospitality alone, Dept. has taken on commercial projects such as Sun One tower in Bangkok, as well as various retail outlets and private homes, not to mention a multi-functional pavilion community project for the SCG group in Thailand.
Sun One tower, Bangkok
Prime Nature Residence
“Each project is unique. We love that our clients come to us, because they know we won’t repeat ourselves or other designs and they let us generate the complete experience for them,” says Teparkum. Despite insisting that they do not have a signature style, each project they complete invariably leaves an indelible impression.
Multi-functional pavilion community project in Thailand
Department of Architecture
Department of Architecture’s new office will be featured in the upcoming issue of Cubes Indesign (issue 63), out soon.
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