After Working With Top Hollywood Interior Designers, Bank Samritpricha Joins 10DK In Bangkok
Bank Samritpricha was first introduced to interior design as a boy when he helped his mother design the floor plans of their old family house. By 11, he made a decision to further his education in Australia and then America, always gravitating towards the subjects of design and architecture. At 18, he relocated to New York to attend Pratt Institute, and it wasn't long before the ambitious creative began working alongside designers with the biggest celebrity clientele.
During his first internship with Soho-based firm Maneli Wilson Interiors, he found himself working on the office of Beyoncé Knowles. A year later, when he joined acclaimed LA designer Joan Behnke, Bank was a member of a team that worked on the installation of Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen's residence. He continued the streak of high profile residential projects in LA, Malibu and Palm Beach under David Phoenix thereafter.
Having built himself a successful career abroad with some of Hollywood’s top interior designers, the now 27-year-old has moved back to Thailand, joining Bangkok-based 10DK. Bank sits down with Thailand Tatler to talk about his experiences of being a designer, homecoming and what the song Can't Take That Away by Mariah Carey means to him.
Our burning question: how did you manage to be a part of so many high-profile celebrity projects at such a young age?
I was just excited to work and responded to a work ad I saw on my college work website. It was Maneli Wilson’s studio. She worked all by herself from her home and just accepted me as her intern. The two of us worked together over the summer, at which time she was approached by Beyoncé to work on her office. After that, my next internship was with Joan Behnke in LA. She was so kind to me and wanted me to help on the installation of Tom [Brady] and Gisele’s Boston residence as my first installation so that I could meet Gisele. The project took two weekends to complete. I saw Gisele most of the time, and she was so sweet. They were both very minor roles, but I was lucky enough to be a part of them.
How do you approach designing a house?
As designers, we approach clients with different styles, or clients come to us with a style that they like. Being an interior designer, we get to work on so many projects, which keeps everything fresh, fun and interesting. For me personally, doing the floor plan is the very first part of the design process and probably my favourite part of the design process because of my architectural background. I think it's the most sensible way to start a project. It gives me a better understanding of the space that I have to work with and the experience I will create for the owners.
You design such exquisite homes and luxurious concepts for clients, but what is your own home aesthetic?
What I love about designing a home is making it feel like a home and not so grand or perfect. Regardless of how big or small the project is or how big or little the budget is, it's all doable. My own home aesthetic is mainly whites, wood and neutral colours. So I guess I take the minimalistic approach for myself. At the end of the day, when designing a home, no matter how beautiful it looks, if it doesn't feel like home or cosy, what's the point?
After living, studying and working abroad for 15 years, you've made the decision to move back to Thailand to join 10DK. Have you had to readjust yourself or the way you work?
Not really, to be honest. Of course, it's different, but I do still have my roots here. I still have my family here in Bangkok, and family is the most important thing in my life. I think it's important to not forget your roots and not forget who you are and where you came from.
The only perhaps difference is that when I was in LA I was mainly designing houses, but here in Bangkok, it has been mostly apartments and condominiums. Different cities have different things to offer, but the concepts are essentially the same: you have to use and manage every little space you’ve got for the best functionality.
At the end of the day, when designing a home, no matter how beautiful it looks, if it doesn't feel like home or cosy, what's the point?
— Bank Samritpricha
Now that you're back, what's your favourite place to hang out in Bangkok?
My favourite thing to do in Bangkok is to go to Chatuchak. There’s one section that I love going to because it is so design-oriented. The things that are displayed there have nice quality and craftsmanship. I get a lot of inspiration there. Another place I like to hang out at is The Commons because I can just bring food from outside and enjoy, and there’s music there too. It's just a nice place to chill and relax.
You not only curate a living space for clients, but you also design actual furniture as well. Tell us about one of your pieces, the "Deconstructed Table”.
That was one of my final school projects actually. We were instructed to make a chair, but I wanted to make a table. The concept behind the “Deconstructed Table” is that it would be completely constructible and then can be taken apart easily, into simple forms. For the tabletop, I wanted to play with transparency, but not too transparent as furniture should be sturdy. At the same time, I wanted to play with light and was inspired by an Asian design for the appearance of the tabletop. Ultimately, my goal was to create something that was more than just furniture and more like a piece of art. Among all the projects I’ve done, even after working, I think this is the one I am most proud of.
What do you think has been the biggest driving force of your success?
For me, the first biggest factor has been freedom. That's something I learned early on, and there's a particular song that made me free and it's Can't Take That Away by Mariah Carey. The song talks about others trying to take away your pride but that there’s a light that shines bright inside yourself that nobody can take away. When I took that in, it has guided me through everything. The second biggest driving force is love. I'm a big believer in love. No matter which career path you're in, there has to be love and passion for it.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Being in love and getting married. I’ve always wanted to have my own small studio where I can work from home. Just like the very first internship I did, my dream is for there to be the two of us—and our cute little kids—working on projects. I admire that structure. That's the kind of career I want to have: keeping it small and working from home.
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