All roads and waterways last week led to Iconsiam.
After five years and 55 billion baht in the making, the riverside mega project opened its doors to a crowd of some 10,000 people. But with nine million square metres of retail area to start with, there was ample space to accommodate the black-tie socialites and celebrities who turned up in spite of heavy rain and horrendous traffic both on land and river.
I had planned to take the shuttle boat but for once, I had the luxury of being driven, thanks to a kind friend with a driver. And because everyone had been warned not to drive there if possible, the road congestion was not as bad as expected, although it did take almost two hours from Wireless Road.
Usually such openings end up being chaotic, and this was no exception, although I must say the hosts had tried their best to ensure a smooth flow with procedures such as pre-registration. The rain didn’t help as it caused some confusion, with the highlight performances being delayed, from 8pm to close to 10pm, which meant I missed the show of 15,000 drones and Alicia Keys. I am sure I only covered a small part of the space but I did get to see Sook Siam, the recreation of Thailand’s four regions offering their cuisine and handicrafts, and Iconluxe housing the luxury brands but didn’t make it to the Takashimaya Japanese department store. Not open yet are the True Icon entertainment and conference venue and the River Museum (both scheduled for July 2019) as well as the two condominium towers.
With Iconsiam, a joint venture by Siam Piwat and the CP Group, Bangkok has a new landmark that brings activity and dynamism to the other side of the Chao Phraya River. This is sure to be a good thing for residents on the Thonburi side and we hope that together with the tourists, they will be able to fill this huge spectacular development. And we wonder why Bangkok is becoming known as the city of malls.
A Taste Of Scandinavia At Jojo
Next to shopping, another favourite of locals and visitors alike in Bangkok is eating. And that’s what I did last week as well. First there was chef Sayan Isaksson, previously with the Michelin-starred Esperanto in Stockholm, Thai-born but raised in Sweden, who has returned to his land of birth for the Scandinavian promotion at the St Regis. The chef presented a menu of Scandinavian-inspired dishes infused with an Asian influence at Jojo. His creations will also be available for afternoon tea through the month.
Fin With Fin Wines
Then I was invited by Benjawan Wisootsat of Fin Wines for a dinner to meet with members of the Austrian National Tourism Office at Karmakamet Diner. Chef Jutamas Theantae prepared a contemporary Thai menu that didn’t hide her European training, paired with wines from Fin. Joining in the dinner to welcome the delegation led by chief executive director Petra Stolba was Austrian commercial counselor Gunther Sucher.
There was also a farewell party for outgoing Grand Hyatt Erawan general manager Gordon Fuller which was also to welcome his successor Edouard Demptos. Now, any party for a hotel GM has to offer great food, as was the case here. Pity I couldn’t enjoy it all as I had to hurry off to another event.
Doi Tung & Friends
For the third year running Doi Tung held its Doi Tung and Friends collaboration, where design professionals work with tribal artists to create products. This year, Polpat Asavaprapha, Sombatsara Teerasaroch, Kullawit Laosuksri and Natapohn Tameeruks came up with collections that will be sold at the pop up store at Siam Paragon until November 18. The products include unisex fashion items, tote bags and clutches and carpet.
More Launches & Parties
Restier, the Thai brand of natural latex bedding products, has unveiled its line of scarf pillows for travellers, with 10 designs of animals. Kunpimook Bhuwakul or pop star BamBam of the Korean Got7 group was at the launch event at Central Chidlom, to the delight of his many fans, as well as members of boy band SBFive.
Another product launch was that of Vifa, a brand of Bluetooth wireless loudspeakers from Denmark. In true minimalist style, the five models exhibit an aesthetic design that has won numerous awards, coupled with innovative technology. The launch was held at the Muse Hotel by managing director of distributor ASH Asia Adam Reuterskiold Arnback.
I managed to also find time to stop by the Y’s Yohji Yamamoto pop-up shop at EmQuartier. The autumn/winter collection continues to focus on oversized looks dominated very much by black and white shades, with very little touches of colour. Part of the Club 21 group, the space will be used to rotate pop-ups for the brands in the multi-label brands.
The Reserve 61 Hideaway on Sukhumvit Soi 61 was where Prueksa Development’s CEO Prasert Taedullayasatit held a get-together for potential clients of the premium low-rise condominium project. Guests enjoyed a show by Burin Boonvisut and lots of food and drinks.
Happy Birthday, Poomchai (Again!)
And finally, yet another birthday party for ML Poomchai Chumbala, who confessed to having tucked into 18 birthday cakes over a course of a bit more than two weeks. This lunch, hosted by Kathleen Pokrud and held at Brasserie 9 on Sathorn, was also to celebrate the birthday of the YWCA’s fundraising adviser Noreerat Noparatanaraporn.
(Previously: Naphalai's Diary: October 29-November 4)