"The challenge is to create something better than anything we’ve worked on."
Danish-born Thomas Juul-Hansen is truly the designer of the moment, with his luxury projects across New York such as Jean Georges Residence, The Beekman, and ONE57—NYC’s most expensive residence, which sold for $100 million. This year, he came to Thailand for another challenging task—presenting design ideas for Thailand’s luxury residential building SCOPE Langsuan. We spoke to him about his definition of luxury, his principles, and his excitement about the upcoming project.
How did you get involved in SCOPE Langsuan?
Khun Yong (Yongyuth Chaipromprasith, the CEO) contacted me in New York and I accepted the offer because this is an opportunity to participate in creating a Bangkok landmark. Then we started talking in terms of what he wants here. I’ve never been to Thailand before, so I had assumed that the lifestyle of people in Bangkok would be different from New York, but in terms of quality and thoughtful features, this residence is much higher than what we're used to in New York. This is very surprising and I’m very happy to work with this team.
What are the challenges behind designing this project?
Usually, clients will find a way to save as much money as they can, and we have to convince them to spend extra money on some parts of the project in order to get back much more. With Khun Yong, it’s almost the opposite since he wants to move the standard up for luxurious buildings in Bangkok. So, the challenge for both of us is to create something better than anything we’ve worked on. In the previous projects, we came up with ideas and got cut off because the developer didn't want to spend much money. Here, we only think of how to make it better. If you look at the building’s amenities you’ll see the quality of the project. This is a significant undertaking which I don’t think you’ll often find. This is a great challenge and continuous exercise. We’re going to keep changing things, improving the project quality until it’s done.
How do you fit your design style into the context of Thailand?
The architectural style I’ve been involved in is modern, clean, and serene in its way. I think Thailand is as modern as in New York, so people in both cities appreciate similar styles. The only difference might be the materials. In New York you’ll find the color palate sticks to black and white. Since Thailand is more sunny and warm, we’re trying to create a softer and calmer palate, which relates to the lifestyle here. Personally, I don’t really see something as style. If you can create something warm and comforting in the building, you can actually go further than people’s taste—even if they don’t understand modern architecture. If you can create something that makes them feel like a home, then the questions on style almost go away. Also, I think people often talk about style and taste—defining something as more feminine or masculine, but if we can bring it together and create something appealing to men and women alike, it would be more interesting.
What is your definition of luxury?
Luxury is a combination of functionality, scale, and materialism. It’s a certain luxury to have a big functional bathroom to spend your time relaxing in, and it’s also luxury to have bathroom clad in Italian marble. Doing something luxury also means a lot of planning and strategizing; this is why we've spent a lot of time working through the layout of every room in SCOPE Langsuan to make it fantastic. We're trying to create a peaceful, relaxing environment. We also add functional amenities like the big closet that can fit 88 pairs of shoes or up to 112 pairs in boxes, the maids, the onsen. All of these functions are things people in New York wouldn’t understand at all, but it fits the lifestyle of people here. Luxury is also measured by a product's ability to improve quality of life. At SCOPE Langsuan, you might buy a 83-sq-meter room, but the amenities will make it exceptional to live in.
What are the principles of your company
We try to make something honest and organic; we use a lot of natural materials like stone and wood. For me, relying on natural materials to creative an impression means you can be sure that it’s classic and will last. Timelessness is my goal, and also functionality. Something should look great, but also has to be practical. Trends change a lot over time, but what people across the world appreciate is quality. If you look at Hermes bags, what they made thirty years ago is just what they make nowadays. So we try to make a high-quality product that will be appreciated forever for its classic qualities.
At SCOPE Langsuan, prices start from B38 million. Call 02-664-9500 for more information.