Stop by New Kid on the (Old) Block The Shophouse 1527 x Labyrinth Café
The new art space in the heart of SamyanWho would ever think that a neglected building hidden away in the deserted corner of Rama IV Road could be resurrected as the latest “art space” of Samyan? The Shophouse 1527 was renovated from old collection of shophouses in the area aiming to create a soulful art project waiting to be discovered. Donlaporn Chanachai or Jo, founder of Cloud-floor stated “we heard that Samyan will be undergoing a mega renovation project as part of the CU 2040 Master Plan turning the area into an educational quarter soon. As the exact timeline of the renovation is not yet finalised, we took this old shophouse hoping to renovate it before being knocked down in two years. With this compromised timeframe, my architect friends and fellow designers agreed to rent out the building to create various projects. We rented the whole building no. 1527 and called it The Shophouse 1527. This building will be experimented as a platform where experiential exhibitions about Samyan community will be showcased. As the shophouse is in Samyan, we feel that the information gathered from real local people should be used to create the content of the exhibitions.”
Simple everyday life stories create endless contentsThe Shophouse 1527 has opened since August 2019. The building is 4-metre width and 14-metre depth. The 3-storey building was turned into a 2-floor art space by merging the first and the second floor while keeping the vintage and rustic atmosphere of the building. “We tried to maintain the existing elements of the shophouse aiming to reflect the local way of life that used to happen at this building and in the area. This also inspired us to produce the first exhibition called “Resonance of Lives at 1527” telling a story of local community that used to live here and our journey with this building. It is no surprise that the family that used to live here left marks and stains around the building as they lived here for generations over the past 50 years.” The next exhibition was the continual series of the first one showing the beliefs and local stories of the local community in Samyan such as a Chinese shrine, a Chinese opera, the holy banyan tree etc. The exhibitions were showcased via a customised newspaper or a shrine story told via the fortune sticks designed by Soi . “Anecdotally, Samyan has hundreds of stories to tell. We knew nothing about the district until we started the project. However, the more we learned about Samyan, the less we know the area. It is rich in history and characteristics. Samyan could be the model for other districts to develop creative space for public use in the future. Commercial areas like Samyan can be seen in many parts of Bangkok where shophouses are used as a shop on the first floor and a house on the upper floors. Historical architectures and beliefs are still there as part of the community. It reminds me of Banglamphu community and this model of Samyan development can definitely be used there. We used to take Samyan for granted as the area seemed ordinary. However, this everyday life stories are, in fact, valuable and very interesting.”
Good assets distinguish SamyanSamyan may be remembered as a centre of shopping malls or great local restaurants with mouth-watering dishes, but Jo found a different beauty “Samyan has good assets – not only the property, but its people. There are many hidden gems in the area that we could only learn by talking to local people. Historical architecture such as a Chinese shrine is an example of the hidden gem of Samyan that we could never discover without asking the locals. The district is truly a mix of the modern world with an old traditional lifestyle. I believe Chulalongkorn students play an important role preserving these creative and meaningful assets of Samyan, too. With the young generation power, the district is driven positively towards becoming a more creative quarter of the city. Photo credit: facebook.com/theshophouse1527
A toast to storytelling of SamyanThe first floor of The Shophouse 1527 is Labyrinth Café. The concept is a slow bar serving special drinks. The second floor of the building is an art gallery used for exhibitions twice. The Shophouse 1527 and the Café work together to create special drink menu based on the happening exhibition. “We had to find the partner that clicked. We both have the same view on coffee drinking philosophy that drinking coffee is a learning process. It should not be just a one-time serving. Instead, there should be a conversation to create a talking exhibition as part of the show. Some of the Café team is a group of photographers so they understand art and ideas. We feel lucky that we found and partnered with them” stated Jo. Nowadays, The Shophouse 1527 is filled with designers, creative minds and students. Jo added that “we want this space to become an active platform showcasing arts in various aspects, much more than just an “art” It could be creativity in any way as we would like to explore new types of creativity. This space is open to beginners to display their work free of charge if their contents fit our show concept. Therefore, this could be an experimental space where young creative minds can come in to fulfill the space and present their contents physically more.” For more information: The Shophouse 1527
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Let us say THANKS!
Let us say THANKS! to you all who make Bangkok Design Week 2020 complete & being a part of positive power to drive Bangkok better together. See you again Bangkok Design Week 2021 30 JAN – 7 FEB 2021 #BKKDW2020 #BKKDW2021 #Bangkokdesignweek