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The Fig Lobby Hotel

Conversion of an old apartment building neighboring a Bangkok shanty town into a gay art hotel

Chiangmai Life Architects is proud to present our latest project, the Fig Lobby Hotel, a colorful conversion of an old apartment building neighboring a Bangkok shanty town into a unique boutique hotel. Our team was approached by the owners of this 30-year-old 5-storey building with the exciting proposition of transforming their existing old building into an LGBTQ friendly art hotel that embraces the co-existence and clash of two worlds – the bustling tourist scene of Sukhumvit and the neighboring Klong Toey harbor shanty town.

Instead of designing another “modern city spa hotel” in brown and grey that could be built anywhere, we tried to find the right connection for the contrasting environments that would bring something new but also appeal to both sides. Inspired by the vibrant and colorful architecture of the shanty town, as well as the works of Austrian artist and architect Hundertwasser and Spanish architect Gaudi, we designed the Fig Lobby Hotel to be an oasis of creativity using colorful round and irregular shapes and columns.

To lighten up the strangling squareness of the exterior and at the same time increase the useful space for the rooms, an irregularly shaped façade was designed to give each room a unique frame to the world beyond. Handcrafted round tiles of different lengths were used to take the edge of the corners and all over the surface a mixture of paint and tiles create a vibrant texture. The lobby was designed as a symphony in blue lined with sculptured columns that relate to the exterior columns along the road and boasts a unisex toilet as a nod to the social trend of inclusiveness. Besides numerous art objects in the rooms, the whole staircase is designed as an art gallery, fitted with a glass wall that provides light and a spectacular view.

At Chiangmai Life Architects, we are very conscious about carbon footprint. Therefore, using an existing structure as creative challenge appeals to us instead of demolition and building anew.

The Fig Lobby Hotel consists of 68 rooms, each one designed to reflect the colorful and eclectic nature of the surrounding neighborhood. It also provides a range of amenities designed to nourish the mind, body, and soul: a chakra balancing spa, the “Sundance” rooftop, a modern Thai cuisine restaurant, and for those seeking more creative or active pursuits, pottery as well as indoor cycling studios. In context with the overall artistic and progressive image, the hotel also features a cannabis dispensary, and an LGBTQ wellness clinic.

We are proud to have transformed this old apartment building into a one-of-a-kind LGBTQ friendly art hotel that celebrates the unique spirit of Bangkok’s contrasting and coexisting neighborhoods from shanty town to high end tourism.

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