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Homes The Natural Sophistication Of Openbox Architects

The Natural Sophistication Of Openbox Architects

The Natural Sophistication Of Openbox Architects
By Thailand Tatler
June 01, 2018
Openbox Architects use tropical design and local wisdom to add architectural elan to Thailand’s building scene


Openbox Architects' Ratiwat Suwannatrai sitting in the lounge of his own design at brand new luxury residence Saladaeng One 

If you've been keeping tabs on Bangkok luxury residences, Saladaeng One has surely stuck out in one way or another. To create a luxury residence as unique and full of character as the Saladaeng neighbourhood itself, Saladaeng One's property developer SC Asset commissioned the talents of Openbox Architects, the highly regarded design firm behind many remarkable projects, including Hua Hin’s charming Plearnwam and The Marble House—the winner of the prestigious German Design Awards in Architecture this year.

The visionary flying the flag for Thai architecture on a global scale is Ratiwat Suwannatrai, or Nui, co-founder and partner at Openbox , who has been fascinated by the architectural concept of tropical design since his days at W Architects in Singapore, over a decade ago.

The Sakon Nakhon native, who attended high school in Canada and graduated from Chulalongkorn University’s architecture programme says, “In cities such as Singapore and Bangkok you have a dense urban environment with plenty of high rises. Given the tropical climate, tropical designs make spending time in tall buildings feel as comfortable as living in a house.”

Some of Openbox 's outstanding projects:

Saladaeng one.jpg

Saladaeng One, Bangkok


Marble House, Bangkok


Marble House, Bangkok

mk central kitchen.jpg

MK Central Kitchen, Bangkok

bear garage.jpg

Garage of the Bears, Bangkok


Plearnwan, Hua Hin


Baan Yamu, Phuket

To achieve this for Saladaeng One, Openbox has created fins that jut out from the high-rise at varying lengths, depending on the amount of sunlight each angle of the building naturally receives. “If you notice,” the experienced architect points out, “the building isn’t just this massive marble block. From a distance, you’ll see the varying thicknesses of the ledges. They not only serve the purpose of optimising sunlight for each floor, each corner, they also give the building an elegant character.”

Constantly pushing the envelope, it is surprising to learn that Openbox nearly called it quits four years ago. Organically, through one hugely successful project after another, the firm and Nui found themselves in high demand and he threw himself into his work to the point where his health began to suffer. Hence, as the firm approached its 10-year milestone he made the decision to move back to his home province along with his wife Prang, co-founder of Openbox and an experienced landscape architect, to live a more peaceful life, surrounded by nature. However, after a period of reflection Nui realised that he missed the creative milieu of the architectural world and so returned to Bangkok with a fresh outlook and a determination to enjoy his work.


Ratiwat "Nui" Suwannatrai

Rejuvenated and happy, he has been able to achieve even bigger and better things with projects such as The Base, The Line 101 by Sansiri, Rhythm Condo by AP Ekkamai, JIN Wellbeing County and most recently of course, Saladaeng One by SC Asset. At age 43, which is considered young for someone of his achievements in this field, Nui is certain he’s unlocked a sustainable future for himself with his rekindled passion for architecture, much to the benefit of Thailand’s building industry.

Visit to learn more about Nui's award-winning architectural firm and its projects. 


Homes architecture architect SALADAENG ONE OPENBOX


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