The first clue that the crash pad of Nitiphan Phuriprecha, analytics and commercial effectiveness director at Roche Thailand, Switzerland’s second largest pharmaceutical company, is far from conventional comes when we ask to use the guest bathroom. It is, he tells us, located down the narrow corridor that serves as the entrance, but, with the left side covered in square blocks of black glass, we’re left pacing up and down it and wondering ‘Where exactly?’ This canny use of space is a defining feature of this apartment at Rama IV’s Amanta Lumphini condominium. Not everything here is what it seems—a simple wall or flat surface could hide a door, cupboard or drawer. Another thing that strikes us are the views. Like many of Bangkok’s skyscraper residences, Nitiphan’s home, located on the 24th floor, boasts breathtaking panoramic views. These provide a stunning backdrop in the living room, and are the focal point of the apartment. Large windows frame most of it and allow for an abundance of natural light while also making this 100-square-metre aerie look much more spacious than it really is. Nitiphan believes you don’t need an extravagant amount of space or decoration to make a place feel like home. Our host has built quite the perfect bachelor nest for himself up here—plain and simple yet also chic and full of character. Neutral tones feature throughout and are complemented by sleek furniture and cute little trinkets acquired on his travels. These bring a certain playfulness and humour to the place. “For me, less is more,” he says. “My aim was to keep it subtle and clean to the eyes while keeping it interesting, and of course I wanted it to reflect my personality and taste.” Although one might mistake this place for a contemporary home, almost everything about it evokes an early- to mid-20th century interior design concept—albeit with a twist. “I’ve been a big fan of modern classical furniture since I was a teenager. I like the fact that although they were designed way before I was born, there’s a timeless aspect to them,” he says enthusiastically as he walks us over to his collection of furniture, many pieces of which are the very epitome of 20th century innovation. At the centre of the living room stands a low marble-topped coffeetable surrounded by a grey Nube couch and two chairs that will be familiar to anyone who knows their furniture design. “This is the famous leather Eames lounge chair which takes its name from its creator Charles and Ray Eames,” says our host, pointing to the piece on the left side of the main couch. Then, he points to a chair on the right side of the couch and adds, “This is one of my favourites—the 3300 Arne Jacobsen chair created in 1950. I spend a lot of time here. It’s simple but very comfortable.” Across the living room is a small open kitchen. There is white counter, which Nitiphan installed to serve as a dining table. Turns out, it’s no ordinary counter. “Actually, there is LED lighting inside it,” he says. “In the evening you can turn it on, setting a nice ambience for when guests come over.” Complementing it are four Wishbone chairs from the 50s by Hans Wegner, a Danish architect and furniture designer famous for his sculptural frames and hand-woven seats made from paper. The kitchen is compact and welcoming but Nitiphan admits he doesn’t cook at home. “I’m surrounded by fantastic restaurants and bars so I almost always eat out with my friends,” he says. Heading over to the right side of the unit, Nitiphan introduces us to what he calls the playroom. “This apartment was originally designed to have two bedrooms and three bathrooms,” he explains. “As I live alone, it just made more sense to turn one of the bedrooms into another living space. And so we knocked down the wall, replaced it with a sliding glass door and created this room.” Against a black wall of volcanic stone, there is a built-in seating area decorated with blood orange pillows that add contrast and vividness to the room. But the most eye-catching item is the grand piano, which stands in the centre of the room and takes up the most space. “I bought this two years ago,” Nitiphan smiles. “I like challenges and I wanted to learn new things. Music for me is the perfect way to enhance your concentration skills and exercise the brain. Since I bought it I have been taking weekly lessons.” The room is also equipped with a flat screen television and books that reflect our host’s fondness for architecture and design.
On the left flank of the condo, is Nitiphan’s sanctuary—his bedroom equipped with a see-through bathroom and walk-in closet. Here too, the view of the city is absolutely breathtaking. Furnished with the bare minimum, namely a king-sized bed, a coat hanger, a lamp and a low sideboard for his stereo and stacks of books, this is probably the most laidback place in the whole apartment. “I really wanted to keep the bedroom as simple as I can and make it a place of relaxation. It’s more calming to have a clutter-free home, and besides, the more things you have the more dust will form. I deliberately avoided putting a TV in here because it’s too much of a distraction and really, all I want to do before I sleep is to read a book or listen to the radio,” he says. With the help of a friend, Nitiphan has managed to cleverly blend his character with the right amount of minimalism to reflect his personal taste in interior design. He describes himself as a detail-oriented and fun person and this is reflected in the apartment and perhaps also what makes this place so interesting. Behind the façade of what seems at first glance to be a simple home lies a significant amount of attention to detail. “It actually took me about a year to decorate the entire apartment,” he says. “It was during the big flood in Thailand and it wasn’t easy to obtain the furniture and materials I wanted. I know it seems quite plain at first, but I tried to make it so that each wall is covered in different materials. I like things to look neat, and nothing to stand out too much, but I also like things that have a gimmicky quality to them. And I try to change the decorative items and move the furniture around every two to three months. I think it makes the place more fun and interesting.”
Why a condo and not a house? “This place is so conveniently located and matches perfectly with my lifestyle,” he replies. “If I owned a house, it would most likely be on the outskirts of the city but my work is in town and most of my weekends are spent here with friends. I think a house would take too much effort in terms of maintenance and gardening. And I feel safer living in a condo, as there is always security. Plus,” he adds smiling, “I have three friends who live in the same building.”