F Art spotting at W Bangkok - jeepneyjinggoy

Art spotting at W Bangkok

Perhaps the most photographed letter in the world

When the chic W brand unveiled its first urban hotel in Thailand, it made sure it matched perfectly with the 24/7 energy of the city and the colorful vibrancy of its people and rich culture. It gave everyone—the jetsetters, businessmen and fashionistas alike— a new destination and another reason to visit the exciting Thai capital. 

For W Bangkok’s unique and distinctive design that melds deep-rooted Thai heritage with modern Western influences, a team of local and international designers was commissioned to develop a cutting-edge design that captures the traditional and modern elements of Bangkok. The result is nothing short of spectacular— a contemporary niche for the 21st century luxury traveler filled with museum-worthy artworks. Here are some of them. 

The Bejeweled Lobby Mural: Mythical Creatures of the Himmaphan Forest. The W Hotel features an original artwork by Maysa Yanovan, an emerging local artist who has keen interest of Thai folklore and the mythical creatures in it, which was commissioned exclusively for the hotel. The reception wall displays a phoenix and tiger—good luck symbols of power and strength— engaged in an epic battle using a style frequently found in tattoo art. 

Interpreting Maysa’s design is A.C.D. Thailand, a group of crystal artisans who crafts luxurious products using the “Crystal Painting” based on the technique of pointillism. To create the mural, over thirty artisans were involved applying each of the 80,000 crystals by hand onto the lobby wall for 17 days. 

Seen at the hotel lobby: The Bejeweled Lobby Mural: Mythical Creatures of the Himmaphan Forest. About 80,000 crystals applied by hand on this wall art

The drawings of the beautiful hybrid creatures, wearing golden Muay Thai boxing gloves, can also be found printed on the bed throws in the hotel’s guestrooms. 

Seen in all guestrooms: Boxing hybrid creatures on the bed throws

Golden Glamour Screens: WOOBAR. Inspired by the ropes of a Muay Thai ring, the screens at the private rooms (VIP zone) at WOOBAR tie in the reference s made to the battle happening at the crystal mural running the length of the glass wall at the reception. Clothed in a glamorous gold metal fabric, these ropes also capture the bejeweled concept of the hotel, and create a fantastic glittering backdrop for the Woo Bar.

Seen at the WOOBAR: Golden glamour screens that mimic the cords of the boxing ring

Bangkok Nights: Lift ground floor.  At the lift on the ground floor of the W is where you’ll find the “Tuk Tuk Couture”, a light installation inspired by Bangkok’s ability to strike a fine balance between the serene and supersonic. Made up of 800 different kinds of lights typicallt dounf in Tuk Tuks, the installation takes a bit of Thailand’s legendary traffic congestion and infuses it with dazzling street lights to create a captivating LED light show. 

Tuk Tuk Couture

Holographic Art Feature: The Kitchen Table  At the restaurant vitrine in the W Hotel, Sutee Kunavichayanont, a prolific and respected Thai artist, sculptor, painter and writer known for the playful irony and sarcasm he displays in his highly-engaging work, does a spin off of his original High Fidelity collection of 2008.

The artist was inspired by the existing crocodile pattern on the walls of The Kitchen Table which provoked thoughts of the most popular crocodile in Thai culture from the Thai Folk Tale, “Krai Thong.”

In this tale, Chalawan is a demon crocodile who kidnaps two girls from the village and Krai Thong is the crocodile hunter who becomes a hero after slaying Chalawan and rescuing the girls. The front side of the vitrine is a group of crocodile hunters similar to the High Fidelity series.

The backside may look the same, but it’s not. Viewers will find that there are three crocodiles hidden amongst the hunters. Can you spot them?

The crocodile pattern printed walls of The Kitchen Table by artist Sutee.

Sutee's Holographic Art. Can you spot the croc among the hunters?

Twinkling Bangkok Sculptures: 2nd Floor Niche Sculptures. Alongkat In-art developed his signature style of art that blended the three forms of discipline he studied—painting, sculpture and printing. His series of sculptures at the W Hotel was inspired by the skyline of Bangkok where old and new are brought together in a surprising combination.

Each panel is the result of hundreds of wires stretched over hand-made plaster molds, bent and formed individually to create this panorama. The artist then fixes hand-cut metal squares onto the surface and paints squares directly onto the base to create artwork with dimensionality. 

"Artwork with dimensionality." Bangkok as interpreted by the artist Alongkat.

Muscleman Hanuman: SWEAT, the fitness center. The Ramakian is Thailand’s national epic adapted from the Hindu Ramayana under King Rama I. Rama II further adapted the Ramakian for the Khon drama, which is one of Thailand’s distinctive theater arts. The characters of the Ramakian are frequently depicted in traditional murals, carvings and images across Thailand and the designers has taken a spin on this quintessential Thai epic by taking one of the characters to create a modern and refreshing graphic at the entry of the hotel’s fitness center, Sweat.

The depiction of the traditional Hanuman character complete with buff physique and modern barbells is both humorous and befitting since Hanuman is a well-respected character who represents strength, stamina and agility. 

Hanuman lifts barbells

Difficult to miss these other art installations in the hotel...

Art installation at the stairwell of the W Lounge leading to the Great Hall

The WET Deck aka pool area of the hotel features a twinking, starry pool when night falls. 
From above, the pool is in the shape of an eye.

To be in W Bangkok is to be embraced by art in all its discipline. Go see, better yet experience it, for yourself.

W Hotel Bangkok, an Agoda partner hotel, is at 106 North Sathorn Road, Silom, Bangrak, along the prestigious Embassy Row of Bangkok, Thailand, and a minute’s walk to the skytrain- Chong Nonsi BTS Station. Visit their website at www.whotelbangkok.com. For great deals, visit http://www.agoda.com/asia/thailand/bangkok/w_bangkok_hotel.html

For more travel & lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 22, 2013.