Siam Center ushers in a revolutionary retail concept: The Ideaopolis, with a glittering series of exciting grand opening activities.
By Percy Roxas.
Bangkok never ceases to amaze with its seemingly endless creative energy and imagination, and arguably, nothing in the city reflects this better than the major shopping malls, which have become veritable trendsetters in modern living, setting benchmark standards in our stylish urban lifestyle asprations. Take the grand opening last month of Siam Center, billed as “Asia’s most sensational event.” The shopping center re-opened with a revolutionary retail concept that is expected to amaze and inspire. It has been renamed as Siam Center: The Ideaopolis – a transformation that does not only represent a new chapter in the mall’s name, image and history but also is expected to boost further Bangkok’s climb as the undisputed “Shopping Capital” of the region.
Siam Center: The Ideaopolis represents a new concept in shopping landmarks in Bangkok indeed. It is more than just a lifestyle destination. It is a place, a center, a hub if you will, that espouses and encourages unlimited imagination, and houses creative initiatives in art, fashion, technology, and lifestyle.
“We have invested over Bt200-million to make Siam Center’s grand opening the ultimate event of the year,” says Chadatip Chutrakul, CEO of Siam Piwat Co., Ltd., owners of Siam Center: The Ideaopolis. “An array of surprises were lined up to amaze every visitor and reflect succinctly the center’s new cool vibe. Besides the completely new look and the outlets of famous brands (including those that have never had a presence anywhere else before), we have prepared a number of world-class highlights – the first of their kind in Thailand for Siam Center fans.”
What was dubbed as “the coolest party of the year” started on The Preview Day, Jan. 9 – when the center’s business partners, owners of famous international brands and local brands, VIPs, celebrities and Thailand’s industry leaders were given a chance of becoming the first to witness “a major chapter of history being rewritten.” The Preview Day was graced by Thailand’s hottest stars — such as red-hot Ken Phupoom and Davika Hoorne — as well as Hollywood and international megastars such as Oscar winner Adrien Brody of ‘The Pianist’ and Kim Bum, one of Korea’s F4 idols. And in addition, talented world-class R&B singer Keri Hilson and American rapper Taboo, one of the members of the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, performed in a special concert.
Indeed, every square meter of Siam Center was filled with fun and excitement on grand opening day. In the cool ambience of the 4th Floor (with its high open ceiling and a transparent glass top loop and site of chic restaurants) first-rate DJs, headed by DJ Soulflower, the up-and-coming German-Filipino DJ known for her love of different types of music kept the party alive.DJ Onra, another big name with a special taste for Asian and hip hop music, joined the Europe- and Japan-veteran DJ.
On Grand Opening Day itself – Jan. 11 – Siam Center started to show off its new look from 6 p.m. onwards. Visitors were met by Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick, the American superstars of the international hit series ‘The Gossip Girl,” and Taio Cruz, the chart-topping British recording artist, singer and songwriter. They walked the red carpet alongside some of Thailand’s brightest stars, including Araya A. Hargate, Nadech Kugimiya, Urassaya Sperbund, Pakorn Chatborirak, Pimchanok Luevisadpaibul, Laknara Piatha, and many more. The two world-renowned DJs were joined by a number of Thai DJs including Tul Waitunkiat and DJ Seed Norasate Mudkong. In the DJ Party. Then, Piyanat Chotisathien played guitar while Pisut Prateeppasen showed off his mastery of the saxophone.
An amazing highlight was the “The Illumination of Light” created by an award-winning lighting designer, which provided an unforgettable ambience for those around Siam Center. The public was amazed by a show of mixed media full of light, color, and sound, created by Jiro Endo, Japan’s veteran lighting designer who was behind many international art projects such as the SOI music project, Greyhound’s fashion show in the recent Fashion Week, as well as the Big Mountain Music Festival.
Endo made the atmosphere outside Siam Center’s building a true spectacle by working with KOB of Team Kor Bor Wor, a talented visual artist and motion graphic designer whose track record is guaranteed by a world-class mapping design award at the “Visual Jockey Contest 2011” in Switzerland. “The Illumination of Light was complemented by the music of Tul Waitunkiat, music curator in charge of all the music in the Grand Opening.
From the first floor onwards, Siam Center was geared in a glittering mood. The entire lobby walkway and other main areas such as Idea Avenue were set for top-tier and new generation artists from Thailand and elsewhere to exhibit without limit their ideas, imagination, and talent, under the supervision of an honorary board of advisors comprised of Sombat Tirasaroj, one of the most sought-after event organizers, Kittirat Kittipanich, Thailand Creative and Design Center (TCDC)’s Design advisory director, and Tassanai Yan-ubol, founder of The Embassy of Design Territory. During the unveiling, Idea Avenue carried the theme ‘Timeline Extendist’ using state-of-the-art technology to tell the story of Siam Center in three dimensions of time. And with the Digital Mirror Room, visitors enjoyed globetrotting in just five minutes.
One of the most special part of the grand opening program was the “Pop Culture Art Exhibition,” which showcased masterpieces from American pop icon Andy Warhol. “We brought the real work of the pop artist for Thai people to see up close and personal,” Chadatip said. Apart from Warhol’s master ouvre, genuine art pieces by another pop art icon, Roy Lichtenstein, were also displayed. The pop culture exhibition, which was designed to be interactive, was a new experience many visitors say they have never had before.
Another big highlight is the “Fashion Exhibition,” which showcased collections by Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, and Issey Miyake. The collections were all of their ‘Archive’ level, which means they are as close to the brand signature as possible and are kept as precious treasures by private collectors. The items were put on show alongside those by Thailand’s leading designers such as Theatre, Playhound by Greyhound, and Wonder Anatomie.
Red-hot stylist Suriya Krutphan created the fashion exhibition while famous fashion photographer Pansiri Sirivejapan shot the trendy Black Garment collection. Editors-in-chief and fashion editors from top fashion magazines offered the exhibition their fashion insights.
And because Siam Center celebrating its 40th anniversary this year,an art design effort on the familiar “I Love Siam” mascot was organized with several important people from various circles joining in. The celebrities, including ‘Bird’ Thongchai McIntyre and ML Piyapat Bhirom Bhakdi,were divided into three groups under the theme “Be Amazed, Be Inspired, Be Revolutionary” and their creations were put on public display.
On the 3rd floor of Siam Center , an area called Fashion Visionary and housing the largest number of leading Thai designer brands in the country, more than 80 models flaunted the latest haute couture in a flash mob. The corridor was turned into a runway for the models to walk down. The fashion flash mob, which took place every 15 minutes, was a brainchild of Thailand’s leading stylist Araya Intra and Joy Ananda, a well-known stylist.
All in all, it was a glittering spectacle, an experience that lived up to its promise. The glitz and glamour were enhanced by the attendance of celebrities, important guests, as well as representatives of Thai and international media, including world-renowned fashion bloggers Bryan Boy and Lauren Kolodny, recognized by Fashion Bible and Women’s Wear Daily as one of the world’s 100 best stylists. The event drew massive coverage from various media people who attended.
“Siam Center’s grand opening was certainly a big success, one that will create a new industry benchmark as a global phenomenon to be remembered for years,” says Chadatip. “That’s more than a fitting reward for all of us who worked very hard to make it Siam Piwat’s most challenging masterpiece ever.”