Bangkok’s ‘cutting edge’ Siam Discovery wins world’s best designed mall award

Siam Discovery, arguably the artsiest of the many malls attached to Bangkok city center’s Siam BTS station, just pulled a pretty impressive award.

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) — yes, apparently it is a thing — named the building’s design the most cutting edge in the world. Discovery won the award a few days ago at a Las Vegas ceremony, where a group of the world’s top mall operators gathered for the event.

The mall is run by Siam Piwat, the same operator as its neighbors, the upscale Siam Paragon and the street style-forward Siam Center.

Discovery was up against hundreds of other shopping centers across the globe. Officially known as the ICSC’s VIVA Awards, the shopping properties are judged by an independent expert jury to find the best and most unique shopportunities out there.

Though the winning mall has been open since 1997 (which is centuries in mall years), it was renovated and relaunched two years ago to the tune of THB4 billion (US$125 million). The redesign encompassed the interiors and exteriors of the entire 40,000 sqm property, which was handled by Japanese design studio Nendo.

Discovery now bills itself as an “arena of lifestyle experiments” and “Thailand’s largest lifestyle specialty store,” and has won six global design awards in the last 24 months.

One aspect that the mall has done away with is the traditional notion of individual stores. Instead, the entire space is open so that you can wander without thinking about which retailer you are visiting.

Chadatip Chutrakul, CEO of Siam Piwat, said, “Siam Discovery is a game-changing, hybrid retail destination where products, services, and activities are brought together in a way that suits the lifestyle of millennials. Products are grouped without the constraints of a particular brand or school of design, in a way that puts the needs of the customer at the center.”

And apparently millennials need to find themselves through open-plan lifestyle shopping. Noted!

All photos: Siam Discovery

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