Per­fect shell

A Bangkok jew­ellery show­case

Wallpaper - - March - patchar­

Ar­chi­tec­ture is a peren­nial source of in­spi­ra­tion for jew­ellery de­sign­ers. The Bangkok-born fine jew­ellery de­signer Patchar­avipa Bodi­rat­nangkura is just the lat­est to look at build­ings for de­sign cues, but from a re­fresh­ingly new an­gle. It’s not so much build­ings, but rather ma­te­rial fin­ishes that in­ter­est her – the soft, neu­tral tones of in­dus­trial fab­rics and, in par­tic­u­lar, the cor­re­la­tion be­tween them and the or­ganic de­sign re­sources she gleans from her lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment, such as teak, co­conut shells and gold.

This year, she has suc­ceeded in com­bin­ing all of the above in a se­ri­ously min­i­mal­ist home-town store by French ar­chi­tects Ciguë, cre­ators of re­tail en­vi­ron­ments for the likes of Is­abel Marant, Kris Van Ass­che and Maiyet, among oth­ers. Sit­u­ated in the Ploen­chit district of Bangkok, where Patchar­avipa is mostly based (she di­vides her time be­tween Bangkok and Lon­don), the epony­mous bou­tique, to which the work­shop is an­nexed, ful­fils the jew­ellery de­signer’s vi­sion of ‘cre­at­ing a space where I could ex­plain and ex­press my jew­ellery and the ideas be­hind it; a chance to de­sign jew­ellery for an empty space, to cre­ate larger pieces; to ex­plore my de­signs more.’

Patchar­avipa is best known for her use of Siam gold and the par­tic­u­lar tex­tures that her crafts­men file into it. The or­ganic ge­om­e­try of her rings and ear­rings never looks over­styled, too fash­ion-driven or ‘mod­ern’. But then Patchar­avipa, who grad­u­ated from Cen­tral Saint Mar­tins in Lon­don in 2014, has been pro­duc­ing jew­ellery since she was 13.

The new bou­tique is housed in a 1980s build­ing that be­longs to her fam­ily. The jew­eller’s»

great-grand­fa­ther, Nai Lert, was the de­vel­oper who mas­ter­planned the Ploen­chit area next to what is now called Nai Lert Park in the early 20th cen­tury.

‘It’s a strange retro-mod­ern build­ing, with a par­tic­u­lar vibe – 1980s ob­so­lete, pa­tio, tinted win­dows, an­gled con­crete sur­faces. It’s well made,’ says Hugo Haas of Ciguë. ‘The in­te­rior shell was al­ready stripped down to rough con­crete slabs, beams and posts, so the idea was to mix dif­fer­ent worlds, dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods. Bangkok is par­tially about that, and so is Pat, whose aes­thetic forms a ten­sion be­tween con­tem­po­rary and ver­nac­u­lar, in­dus­trial syn­thetic and or­ganic, world­wide and prim­i­tive.’

Haas and Patchar­avipa first worked to­gether for her ex­hi­bi­tion space at Paris fash­ion week in 2016, where they de­vel­oped a foam – or mousse – fab­ric that looked like con­crete, as a dis­play back­drop for her jew­ellery col­lec­tion. ‘The foam ex­per­i­ment, where we cre­ated some­thing “poor” and syn­thetic to op­pose the pre­cious as­pect of fine jew­ellery was the same ap­proach we took with the bou­tique de­sign,’ says Haas. ‘The ma­te­ri­als pal­ette plays be­tween the su­per-soft tones of the coloured plas­ter and con­crete floor, and the con­trast­ing dark teak fur­ni­ture, technical LED light­ing and alu­minium fixtures.’

The pair mostly worked on the project re­motely. Patchar­avipa threw in some im­ages of works by artists James Tur­rell and Rachel Whiteread, as well as a Man Ray pho­to­graph – ‘I liked the way the shadows fell in it, while in Tur­rell’s work I saw some­thing sur­real in its re­flec­tive qual­i­ties.’ The fur­nish­ings, which were sourced by Patchar­avipa’s fur­ni­ture-de­signer brother, Phollawud Bodi­rat­nangkura (whose busi­ness is next door), was also an in­te­gral part of the con­ver­sa­tion.

The sum of all these richly tex­tured parts is now a unique, or­ganic whole – a thor­oughly mod­ern jew­ellery bou­tique. A con­tem­po­rary gem of felt, wood, foam, soft-toned plas­ter, neo­prene, brass, cloth and bul­let­proof glass, Patchar­avipa Bangkok is bliss­fully free of black vel­vet and gilt-edged chairs, with not a state­ment chan­de­lier in sight.

‘The pal­ette plays be­tween the su­per-soft tones of the coloured plas­ter floor and the dark teak fur­ni­ture’

Clock­wise from above, Patchar­avipa in the store, with its soft-toned Plas­ter walls and floor; a brass-edged fold­ing glass façade re­veals the in­te­rior, by ar­chi­tects Ciguë; the jew­ellery Col­lec­tions are dis­played against the de­lib­er­ately nat­u­ral back­drop; the Chairs and ot­toman, de­signed by Paul lás­zló in the 1950s, are from the fam­ily’s Pri­vate Col­lec­tion of an­tiques

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