Held in Chengdu, China, this year's Asian Bookstore Forum revealed the big news for Open House at Central Embassy, awarding our city's breakout bookstore concept the title of "the Most Beautiful Bookstore for 2017". Open House previously received the prestigious Design For Asia Grand Award by Hong Kong Design Center in 2017.
Barom Bhicharnchitr, the managing director of Central Embassy—who is also to no suprise a Thailand Tatler Generation T lister— was thrilled to receive the Asian Bookstore Forum award, noting that the objective of Open House from the start was "to create a village of spaces with familiar human scales, " one where anyone could feel "comfortable in, at home in, spend all day in, relax in and be inspired in."
(Flashback: Welcome To Open House)
Because truthfully, Open House isn't just a bookstore. Shelves meander around restaurants, cafes, a gallery, co-working spaces, bars, other shops and even a playground for children, rendering the entire space, just as Barom implies, a lifestyle village. Collaborating with world-class interior design company Klein Dytham Architecture (KDA), Open House, as its name pronounces, was designed to offer a great sense of openness with tall ceilings, a vast and uninterrupted floor plate and surrounding views to the city from a prime location.
In terms of the bookstore itself, art books of all sorts are highlighted—especially rare editions that aren't often found in your standard bookstore—garnering praise for Open House from Bangkok's art and design crowd. But even beyond the amazing photography books Open House has to offer, the curation of all the other genres, including children's books, cookbooks, novels, academic books, as well as Thai books, are also done with a tasteful and selective eye, attributed to none other than Shane Suvikapakornkul, curator of Open House Bookstore by Hardcover.
Shane, who we've interviewed once before on the topic of Open House and books, puts an emphasis on offering customers a meaningful offline experience despite the increasingly digital environment the print industry faces.
"Now it's very difficult to manage a bookshop and make profit... A lot of people are now shopping online, so we do a lot of marketing with Central Embassy to help build our community, and we also do a lot of workshops. We have websites, but the best books are in the bookstore, which becomes another unique selling point of the bookstore."
The bibliophile gave a keynote speech at the Forum in Chengdu, reinforcing the idea of Open House as a "symbiosis that is for everyone."
(Related: 5 Coffee Table Books For Serious Collectors)