Furniture is not only a home decor, creating a comfortable living but also a reflection of its owner’s taste, individuality and personality.
Have you ever felt and absorbed the ambience of places like hotels, restaurants or cafes in various styles? For instance, a British luxury hotel in Soho House Group, the London-based private members’ club and hotel chain, is designed and decorated to perfections with unique and stunning elements. It features a pleasant civilisation with a remarkable identity and an idea of mix and match of furniture items and decorations which are incomparable. Chic restaurant like El Buda Felis is another one that reflects a cutting-edge taste. Home decoration today does not rely on trend but a taste of each individual which plays an essential role. People’s lifestyle always changes. They prefer more travel experiences as feeling new experiences can be a memory of happiness in each moment to interpret and create home to be a valuable art piece which is a perfect harmony of fashion, lifestyle, magnificence and taste.
“Alexander & James,” a leading British furniture brand, pride on creating beautifully stylish pieces with unique designs perfectly combined with modern trends to reflect a taste of the ultimate living and build a right identity in your own style. Officially launched in 2013, it was founded by “Mark Alexander Smith,” Britain’s most influential sofa designer who designs for the way we live and adds new flavours on furniture design and home decoration. Always ahead of the design trail, he takes inspiration from his travels around the globe. Northern English roots ensure his down to earth approach to life is reflected in his laid back luxe designs. All items are like an art piece with every model hand sketched by Mark Alexander Smith to get the balance of form just right and then gets to work with his creative team on the final vision. Currently, the products are on sale in more than 50 leading furniture stores worldwide.
Feel the Ultimate Soul of Britain, “Alexander & James,” Through Furniture in Eclectic Style, Creating a New Dimension of Unique Aesthetics
“The opportunity gates are now open for Thailand and other developing countries with the right resources to walk through to their dreams, and dramatically raise their standards of living,” says 40-year veteran of doing business in China
By Maxmilian Wechsler
Art & Design
Development & sustainability
Nominations are open to any company registered in Thailand regardless of size or affiliations. It is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements across all sectors in the business community in Thailand.
• Clear explanation of overall business
• Contribution to the Thai economy
• Level of staff participation/involvement
The first i-Store Premium Self Storage in Thailand with the service of Wine Storage with Controlled Light Intensity and Humidity of Global Standards
Businesses usually rise from the want to solve problems or the willing to find the solution to satisfy needs, which is the same for i-Store Self Storage, a provider of Thailand’s Premium Self-Storage. This Self Storage Service can be interpreted as one’s ‘hero’ that will become a solution to small spaces and storing away valuables.
Not only we provide the service of Self Storage for both personal and business clients, at i-Store, there are also wine cellars and personal storage boxes with the outstanding management system that is standardized, highly secured and reliable. Situated in the heart of Bangkok, the centre surrounded by all firms, we provide a range of sizes of storage areas from 0.5 to 18 square meters, equipped with full facilities. It can be called as a fully efficient service that can change the worrisome idea of packed garages or unorganized households to an easy option.
There are always reasons behind one’s need to maximize utilization in residential areas by storing away items that are not often used : moving houses, condominiums, furnitures, also implying goods that are still useful, able to use later on in life, valuables or are in good conditions; some of these goods could be mementos for meaningful events and would be a pity to have to throw them away, and selling them would not make much of a profit. This leaves the job to i-Store to help complete the mission. i-Store does not only provide personal storage spaces but also storage for business users by arranging areas for storing and organizing documents, as well as other office supplies to meet a firm’s needs under their budget.
Singapore is constantly evolving, reinventing and reimagining itself, with people who are passionate about creating new possibilities.
Following the launch of the Passion Made Possible brand, Singapore Tourism Board introduces the Progressor Passion tribe to promote Singapore as a destination for Meetings, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE).
Progressor: Passion for Growth
As a tribe, Progressors are united by their passion for growth. They have an intrinsic passion to grow their events, business, and teams, and as individuals to stay relevant in the rapidly changing world. To the progressors, possibilities remain in being able to constantly adapt, learn, inspire and connect in order to help these ideas, events, innovations, brands or entrepreneurs succeed.
Where Innovation, Growth & New Opportunities Meet
As an inspiring city with tremendous depth of expertise and breadth of experience in creating exciting opportunities through events, our innovation capabilities combined with world-class infrastructure and award-winning venues make Singapore the ideal place to turn your passion for growth into reality. It’s where great minds converge, connect and collaborate. New possibilities are created to shape the future.
Where Goals, Fun & Motivation Meet
When combining business and leisure for meetings and incentive travel, our cutting-edge facilities, unique venues and wide range of entertainment options enable forward-thinking leaders to engage and empower their staff with innovative ways of working, thinking and bonding. It’s where your passion for growth – of your organisation and your employees – is made possible.
“Singapore is where the world comes to meet and do business, to inspire and be inspired,” said Sherleen Seah, Area Director, Singapore Tourism Board, Thailand (STB). “Singapore is passion made possible: a leading, world-class business city and MICE destination, complemented with iconic infrastructure, multicultural experiences and world-class entertainment, that enables new possibilities for the professional growth of the individual, team and business.”
“In 2016, we hosted the Millennial 20/20 APAC Summit, Food Vision Asia and Insure Tech. In 2018, Singapore will continue to play host to new, successful events such as Speciality & Fine Food Asia and Money2020 Asia. These have helped Singapore to maintain our standing as the “Top international Meeting City” for the 10th consecutive years by the Union of International Associations (UIA) in 2017. Moreover, Singapore was awarded ‘Best BT MICE City 2017’ by TTG Travel Awards 2017 for 6th consecutive year.” Sherleen explains further.
Where Passion & Possibilities Meet
Some of the key highlight events in Singapore for business travelers this year include ConnecTech Asia 2018, 26-28 June 2018 (Innovation), Speciality & Fine Food Asia (SFFA), 17-19 July, 2018 (Food), Medical Fair Asia 2018, 29-31 August 2018 (Applied Health Sciences), Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific 2018, 16-18 October 2018 (Advanced Manufacturing), Singapore Fintech Festival 2018, 13-17 November 2018 (Financial Services).
This is where passion for growth is made possible. For more information visit www.VisitSingapore.com/mice.
Interview by Rodd Chant
With a little help from Salvador Dali’s bronze master, P. Tendercool has become a key component of Bangkok’s Creative District
IN late December 2004 Belgian couple Pieter Compernol and Stephanie Grusenmeyer arrived in Bangkok with their five-year old son in tow. What was supposed to be a one-year sabbatical took a different turn and they are still here today. From their beginnings as antique dealers they are now at the helm of stylish and sustainable bespoke furniture brand P. Tendercool.
What motivated you to make the move to Bangkok?
Stephanie: I had always wanted to live here.
Pieter: We had been running our gallery for 12 years when two things happened. Our lease had ended and we had made a major sale to a U.S. client. I was on my way to sign a new lease where we always wanted to be in the best street and location in Antwerp then for some reason I picked up my phone and called Stephanie and said - ‘Darling, remember all those years ago you said you wanted to go to move to Asia, so why don’t we? We could go for a year and then come back and show our clients what we have done.’ She said ‘Okay’. So we held a big sale and within six months we were on our way. We arrived in December 2004. Stephanie’s Father was already living in Bangkok at the time in Talad Noi.
What was Talad Noi like in 2005?
Stephanie: There we no expats in this area. No little restaurants, no galleries.
Pieter: It was a very local area. Which we liked. For twenty years we had been visiting and this was our spot in Bangkok as we were always at River City and OP.
How did the idea for a bespoke, made-to-order luxury furniture brand come about?
Pieter: Well the renovated shophouse was a direct link. One night we had a client visiting from New York and we invited him to our home for dinner, he loved what we had done with our place. He said he had a condo in Central Park and asked if we could do something similar for him. Even though we are not interior designers we said - “Sure, no problem”. He gave us carte blanche for the interior and the antique collection. For that specific project we ended up in Vietnam browsing antique shops, in one of those shops we saw two slabs of wood, amazing hardwood, and as antique dealers we recognize nice wood, so we immediately bought those two pieces. Our next question to the shop owner was “Can you find us some more?” He said “Of course”. So we rented a little truck with him and we went wood shopping. So that was the start. Soon we had forty to fifty slabs.
Stephanie: Then I asked what are we going to do with all this wood? We trust our guts. We asked ourselves what shall we do with that? We had all these slabs lined up on the ground ﬂoor of shophouse. So one day we said maybe we can make tables?
Pieter: We said let’s make the most beautiful tables that we could think of. And somehow we thought with our knowledge of culture and furniture in Asia we were sure we could create something people would like. So that was the business plan.
So where did the name P. Tendercool come from?
Stephanie: Well, it is derived from two of our original clients. The aforementioned New York client who asked us to work on his Central Park condo, his name is Evan Cole, so the ‘cool’ in P. Tendercool comes from there. The ‘Tender’ comes from another U.S. client that we mentioned earlier we had made a major sale to just prior to our decision to leave Belgium, her name is Lorraine Letendre. The ‘P’ is for Pieter because when we were in Belgium our business was under my name ST Grusenmeyer due to my family being so well known in the business, so everyone thought Pieter was Mr.Grusenmeyer.
Pieter: The name is an homage to the two people who helped us start this journey and it is also a reference to ‘tenderfoot’ as we were new to this and just starting out.
You started with tables but now you do more - how did that evolution happen?
Stephanie: One day someone asked the question - “But what chairs do we put with your tables?” And we thought ‘hmmm, chairs’. That’s when we started making chairs.
Pieter: It was market driven.
Stephanie: Then we realized that once our clients bought a table and chairs they did not come back as they did not need to because they already have such a quality table that will last, so that is where the idea for sofas came along.
Pieter: Also, we love designing tables but to do one thing for the rest of our lives that’s not us. You learn as you go. We had already developed our wood expertise and then we asked ourselves what else can we do with our expertise and that is why two years ago we started making sofas.
Have you had the same people working for you for a long time?
Pieter: We started out with two brothers, Khun Sek and Khun Song, who were working in a factory two doors down from our original location and they started doing some work for us on the side on our wood and then soon were working for us fulltime. Then we brought in Eli who was our furniture restoration expert in Belgium. It was a great opportunity; our local Thai guys could teach him how they work with wood in Thailand and in turn he could teach them how he works with wood in Europe.
Stephanie: Khun Sek and Khun Song did not speak one word of English and Eli could not speak Thai, so that was a big challenge.
Pieter: But they all had a common love for wood. So there was some sign language going on. But they understood each other and that was amazing. But we did realize communication would become a problem and we offered to get Khun Sek and Khun Song private English teachers. Khun Sek was very open to it. He now speaks ﬂuent English. Plus, because he understood what we were making and our quality standards and he knows Thai woods I asked him to take-over buying the wood. He came back from his first trip and he had found the most amazing wood. And not only that, he told us how many pieces we could make with the wood he found.
Stephanie: He had already calculated in his head what could be done.
Pieter: Then I asked him to build his team to work with him, to find more people who he felt he could work with and who could do the job. He also does all the quality control, he is invaluable. So that was ten years ago and we still have the same team, a few had to leave due to family responsibilities, but that is the only reason they left. Khun Sek is now married, has a child, and owns his own house.
Stephanie: They all got to know how we work and understood why we are picky about quality with the work. They learned a lot along the way and then we gave them a lot of freedom and responsibility, because what comes around goes around. We don’t treat them as workers, and they see that. We are all the same level here. We don’t sit in separate rooms or offices we all sit together. When we created PT Lab it was super important that we created a space that everyone wanted to work in, hence why we opened it up, painted it all white, there is an abundance of natural light, plus a lot of greenery right outside and of course the khlong. It’s a beautiful space to work from.
Where do you get inspirations for your designs?
Pieter: We travel a lot. We keep an open eye. We see possibilities everywhere. We always want to try new things. That’s why we call our new space a lab. We don’t do fairs, but we do go to Milan every two to three years to see what is happening.
Stephanie: Now we are busy with shelves and bookcases, and we are also working on a chair with armrests, they are things we feel are missing.
You're also involved with art and hold exhibitions in your showroom. Is this something you do regularly?
Stephanie: We have been doing this for a few years now as we are in the Creative District. Every three months there is the gallery hopping nights, so since we don’t use the walls we thought it would be a nice combination. Plus having the art on the walls makes our showroom feel more like a living room.
Pieter: You may have noticed we have the words ‘Cross Cultural Creations’ on the wall. We put that up ten years ago as we do believe how important it is to learn from others, so we meet with artists, we hear about their visions, they hear about our work, and we see if we can work together or not.
You're part of the 'Creative District' and were in fact the first expat 'creativepreneurs' to move into the area, were you surprised to see how it has evolved?
Pieter: I’m not surprised because we believed in it from day one. We saw all these warehouses sitting along the river and we could see the potential. And what is happening now is just the start. There’s so much creativity here. We just rented out part of our old workshop, which is within Warehouse 30, to two Korean guys who worked on the First Class Suites for Air France. And you have guys like Thomas (Menard) who saw the potential of the area and started up his projects.
One of the charms of the Talad Noi area and surrounding areas is that it still retains an old Bangkok charm, is that something that is important to you and others who have made this area home?
Pieter: What we like so much about this area is that it is authentic. You still have the Mom & Pop shops that have been around for a hundred years. You still have all the motor mechanic workshops where they are cleaning up old car parts and reselling them. There are so many beautiful old shophouses and buildings. We really do love the authenticity.
What is ahead for P. Tendercool?
Pieter: Well of course we have
PT Lab, which is the first steps of something really nice. Because there we have enough space, we can grow with more people, but also more expertise, we would like to get someone in who works with leather and that could lead to many things, and as mentioned we have started selling on 1st Dibs, that is the only platform we are working with but there will be more in the future. We want to grow without compromising our values, quality or service.
So to wrap up, tell us, as expats, what do you love about life in
Stephanie: The diversity, the fact that you have choices in everything - from food, to clothing, and so much more. We can focus on what we love to do. The quality of life.
Pieter: The general acceptance, people don’t judge very fast here. It’s also such a safe place. Thailand is an amazing place. We could never have something like this in somewhere like Hong Kong. They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but I think it’s pretty green here. >>
Virtual Wine Cellar (V|C) App lets Bangkok’s wine enthusiasts and party planners order wine without leaving their premises or party scenes, and guarantees a delivery less than two hours.
Wine enthusiasts can either browse through extensive wine list in The Wine Merchant’s portfolio at www.thewinemerchant-thailand.com or via Virtual Wine Cellar (V|C) App. The company also owns LA CASA NOSTRA - an award-winning Wine Bar & Italian Restaurant in central Bangkok.
V|C App is an innovative, simple, and economical way to satisfy your wine drinking pleasure – at your command. Download V|C Application at App Store or Android* Market.
*Android being actively developed and ready for download soon.