24 May 2011
my city: bangkok by brigid eyley
Story by Claire Sullivan
The Bangkok based interior designer shows us the sights in her current home town.
After a five year stint based in Bali, New Zealand interior designer Brigid Eyley now calls Bangkok home. Her company Hemisphere Design designs and consults on a vast array of projects including tropical resorts, restaurants, retail stores and private residences for clients based all over the world, Brigid revels in the exploration of her new home city. Residing with her husband Simon Grigg, daughter Isabella and two frisky dogs, Brigid spends much of her time exploring beyond the beaten track, discovering great food and design in one of the world’s most vibrant regions.
TCDC (Thailand creative and design centre) tucked away on the top floor of the Emporium Mall sits an amazing design centre, exhibition space and resource library. It carries over 25,000 books, a multimedia library and a huge material sampling resource. Open to anyone to join and use for a small fee – even overseas visitors. TCDC also holds fantastic seminars, lectures, workshops and events plus cutting edge, often surreal, design exhibitions open to the public. (6th Fl., The Emporium Shopping Complex, 6th Fl, 24 Soi Sukhumvit, Bangkok)
Pla Dib restaurant I will use any excuse to go here. A renovated modernist house with a slightly industrial vibe and casual atmosphere, serves up stunning Japanese-Thai fusion food, with some wood fired Pizza thrown in for good measure. This place never disappoints. Pla Dib translates as raw fish in Thai – if you can take things spicy, don’t miss their signature dish, Salmon Larb – raw salmon with a spicy dry rub – incredible. (Soi Aree Samphan 7, Ari.)
Ice Idea fresh creative ideas combined with original flavours make Ice Idea a treat for the mind as well as for your mouth. From apple crumble to global warming icecream, sushi platters or soccer turf brownies – this place brings out the inner child in everyone. Located in the Guggenheim-esque Bangkok Cultural Centre. (4th Fl. Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre, 939 Rama 1 Road.)
Weekend Markets Bangkok has one of the biggest weekend markets in the world, but it would be a mistake to think it was all about cheap tee-shirts, tacky souvenirs and knockoffs. This is a serious market, and you can buy just about any commodity under the sun: great clothes by young designers, modern ceramics, beautifully made leather goods, Danish style stainless bowls, Thai silk, just to name a fraction. Cross the road and you will find a whole section dedicated to midcentury furniture and homewares. Tip – if you are looking for anything in particular make sure you have a Nancy Chandler map in hand, the place is a maze. (Chatuchak Park – Kampheng Phet)
True Café – Paragon is an offshoot of the leading Internet and cable provider in Thailand, and while the coffee is only average, the environment alone makes it worth hanging out in. Ipod docks are provided on every table with sound pods for individual listening pleasure. The central corridor through the space has an amazing giant black and red kinetic highway billboard and the rear of the space is filled with every telecommunication device old or new known to mankind. Flat screens mounted to poles fill another area, free internet, games and videos are all provided to wile away your time. You’ll find it next to the Maserati showroom on the 4th floor, Paragon Mall
The flower markets the smell alone is worth coming for – a sweet, vibrant, colourful, assault on all the senses. This 24-hour market is bustling at anytime of the day or night. Flowers are an integral part of the Thai Buddhist’s daily life – the sheer volume of flowers being bought and sold is simply overwhelming. Just absorb the atmosphere, take photos, or go on a massive floral shopping spree – they are sold at ridiculously cheap prices. (Pak Khlong market – Thanon Chak Phet)
CDC (Crystal Design Centre) this brand new purpose built Design Centre is an interior designer’s dream come true. With nine enormous buildings set in a giant courtyard, almost every product you need to get the job done is represented here, local and international. Instead of battling Bangkok traffic getting from showroom to showroom one can enjoy the time saved in one of the many fantastic cafes and restaurants also in the complex. (Praditmanutham Road – Ekamai-Ram-Indra)
White Café a stylish, airy fit out, with a glazed floor to ceiling kitchen – but people really come here just for the food alone. The owner, Benya, has been on the Thonglor scene for many years and her signature dishes are considered by many Thais (and me) to be some of the best tasting around, they have all the positive elements of Thai home cooking, beautifully and creatively presented. (988/5 Ground Floor Noble Solo Condominium, Soi Thonglor)
Soul Food Mahanakorn American expat Jarrett Wrisley, a food writer for The Atlantic, HK Magazine, Time Out and The South China Post amongst others, has realised his dream and set up a stylish bar where you can enjoy authentic Thai style street food in a relaxed environment – and it totally works. He mixes some pretty mean cocktails too – American style doubles – I highly recommend the Jai Yen Yen. Reservations recommended. (56 / 10 Soi Thonglor)
Tuba is a second hand retro furniture/object gallery by day, and a bar/restaurant by night – a truly eclectic place with lots of nooks and cosy seating arrangements, it’s the perfect place for a casual drink with friends – its location at the end of our street means we often do.
(34 Room 11-12A Soi Ekamai 21)
Soi 38 Night Food Hawker Market go there for the street food, but don’t miss the mango sticky rice, it’s the best in Bangkok – period. I’m not sure if it’s the lovely smile served with it that makes it so extra delicious, or the combination of perfectly ripe mango with the slightly salty sweet coconut sticky rice. Heavenly. (Soi 38 Sukhumvit – Thonglor BTS Station)
Local fresh markets with one of these wonderful markets just around the corner from our house in Ekamai, grocery shopping is never dull. Available in any neighbourhood in Bangkok. Mine is (Soi 30 Ekamai)