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Expansive, light-filled living spaces are linkedby an open sculptural staircase in this East-meets-West townhouse

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The fusion of European and contemporary Asian architectural styles has added a new dimension to residential design. Its emphasis on simply decorated, flowing spaces is well suited to our modern lifestyle.

Designed by DWP Cityspace to appeal to both Thai locals and expatriates, the Lofts Sathorn apartment complex in Bangkok exemplifies this idea.

The development comprises 25 individually designed townhouses arranged in two stepped-back rows around a curved internal courtyard with a shared swimming pool and gym.

The façade of each townhouse is characterisedby angular geometric forms punctuated by balconies and accented by dark timber slats, which provide shade and privacy to the interiors.

Architect Scott Whittaker from DWP Cityspace says the aim was to emphasise a sense of private ownership, rather than have a focus on communal living. To achieve this, each five-level townhouse has its own private parking area on the lower level that connects directly the house. Access is also provided via external steps.

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"A typical Thai design would feature connected pavilions with gardens in between," says Whittaker. "We didn't have room on the site to do this. Instead, greenery, fresh air and light are brought into the living spaces via an internal atrium that runs the height of each townhouse. The upper floor also connects to a rooftop deck."

As illustrated by the show apartment featured on these pages, the interiors combine elements of New York and Soho loft living with a tropical Asian flavour. The result is an urban feel that belies the community's location, just minutes from the heart of the city.

"There is a great sense of flow and connectivity throughout the house. This allows the owners to enjoy activities in different areas, yet still feel linked to each other," says Whittaker.

The five levels in each townhouse are linked by an open staircase. The half basement contains a utility area incorporating parking for two cars, a kitchen, a maid's room and a laundry or storeroom. Above this is a double-height living area, which features an open-plan kitchen and dining room, with a family room on the mezzanine above. Located on the next level up, the bedrooms overlook an internal courtyard that connects to a roof terrace above.

The open staircase is an integral part of the design. More than merely functional, it provides a sculptural element, drawing the eye up to reinforce the light, airy character of the double-height living area.

Flooded with light, the living area is decorated in restful, neutral tones, with splashes of chocolate and lime, all set against a backdrop of clean white walls and pale bamboo floors.

The furnishings are characterised by an emphasis on texture and shape. Open shelves and wall niches showcase decorative items.

This understated, restful décor, with its Zen-like simplicity, continues through the home's private spaces.

First published date: 22 October 2004

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Credit List

Architects Scott Whittaker and Yukoltorn Thanasawangkul from DWP Cityspace (Thailand)
Developers Kudu Co and Raimon Land PLC
Builder K-Tech Construction
Interior design DWP Cityspace
Kitchen design DWP Cityspace and Modernform Group
Kitchen manufacturer Modernform Group
Window/door joinery Peterson
Window/door hardware Assa Abloy
Roof Lysaght
Flooring Boonthavorn
Paints Jolum Thailand (exterior); ICI (interior)
Lighting Light Style; Perfect Light
Furniture Budji; Chime Design; Duriflex
Kitchen cabinetry White two-pack spray by Modernform Group
Benchtops/splashback Stainless steel
Bathroom vanity cabinetry Napis Enterprise
Handbasins Nahm-Laufen
Tapware Paini
Shower stall TGSG Dorma
Shower fittings Grohe
Bath Designers' Bathware
Toilets Nahm-Laufen; American Standard
Window treatments Mitr Phairach
Tiles Boonthavorn; Bel Vedere
Accessories Haco Group