Daily Archives: February 2, 2007

How to destroy a building, Thai style………..


Some of you may remember that I reported on a new project we are investing in, the Warehouse Bangkok, early in December — The Warehouse: a new arts center for Bangkok. A month has gone by and we have had some fun. A serviceable, habitable building has been deconstructed, a polite way of saying that we destroyed it! For the photographs and the story, read on.


The Warehouse is part of a 3,000 sqare meter development we have purchased that will house a new signature contemporary art gallery, a new restaurant and bar, and two or three high quality retail outlets.

The common link between all these businesses is what we term an “affluent, contemporary lifestyle”. We will be targeting consumers with high levels of discretionary income who want to have a premium, fun but relaxing and quality shopping experience at prices that make sense.

The gallery promises to be exciting. With wide open spaces, and huge concrete walls and flooring we are going to be able to significantly expand our offering to artists and art lovers.

At the same time, we will be much more radical and innovative in terms of both content and presentation. We intend to offer performance as well as visual art. We will put a high emphasis on graffiti, sculpture and many different types of installation.

We will offer art workshops, in-residence artists, as well as work from artists both Thai and non-Thai.

We will continue to put emphasis on developing new Thai talent across all arts media.

We will also begin to sell specialist art products such as quality oils and acrylics, brushes, papers, canvases and picture hanging equipment.

For a full set of photographs of the original site, click on Beginning.


A month later and — well look for yourself — there is not much left!

The “destruction” team moved in on Christmas Day and clearly had a lot of fun!

I arrived on the site that morning and was told by the foreman to get myself a hard hat. I asked him why, pointing out that none of his team were wearing hats, most had no shoes and many were hanging precariously from beams and poles and wires.

“Ah Khun Adam” the foreman says, “You don’t understand. We have already made merit at the Spirit House, so we don’t need safety. It is all in the hands of the Buddha.”

Sure enough there were selections of food, joss sticks and various other weird and wonderful things surrounding the Spirit House. Comfortably outmanoeuvered, I went to buy a hard hat.

To see these people at work is an experience. A Health& Safety Officer would have a heart attack if he were ever to get near the site, yet they get the job done.

We cut a deal, paying almost nothing for the work but giving all reclaim to the contractor.

They saved everything. Nothing was allowed to go to waste, not even the smallest piece of rubber lining.


Now we have little more than empty shell. The space seems huge and the challenge a little scary.

The clock is ticking, rent is being paid and we are in a race to finish construction as soon as possible.

There have been some sleepless nights, and there will be more to come, but we are now seeing the birth of what we believe will be an innovative and exciting gallery and retail space.

Doing business in Thailand is rarely easy but it can be fun and it is always different!

For a full set of photographs of the site as it looks now, click on Destruction.