South-east Asia’s first Waldorf Astoria hotel recently opened in the heart of Thailand's capital. Located in Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard – a dazzling, sculptural, 57-storey high-rise building that celebrates its floral namesake through design – the luxurious hotel is an ode to legacy and modernity at the same time, combining references to the past and the present day.
"My notion is to reflect on the past, think through it, absorb it, digest it and then come up with something that is relevant to the modern world," says Andre Fu of Hong Kong-based studio Afso, who designed most of the hotel's spaces. The top three floors, which comprise three dining concepts, were shaped by design firm Avroko.
"The inspiration for the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok is born of my personal reflection on many artisanal aspects of Thai culture, infusing these elements with what I felt would evoke the quintessential Waldorf Astoria experience," adds Fu. "I was also hugely influenced by the Art Deco motifs in the original Waldorf Astoria New York and I sought to challenge myself, with the goal to juxtapose these elements in a new form of expression in the Bangkok hotel."
On the ground level, an 8m-high lobby lined in white Carrara marble welcomes guests; the atmosphere is sophisticated, with a residential feel. Floor-to-ceiling burnished bronze screens wrought into an intricate lattice are combined with Art Deco motifs and silhouettes of arched fingers, drawing from Thai classical dance. "We have choreographed a scenography for when guests arrive," says Fu.