By Parinyaporn Pajee
The concept has three underlining philosophies: Grow, a master plan for sustainable development; Flow, the building of society and experience in every dimension of quality; Joy, the elevation of living standard for happiness and peace of mind. The three elements are embedded in the group’s residential development and service innovation and provide a solid foundation for setting new standards for quality of life in accordance with the AP World vision.
Vittakarn Chandavimol, chief of corporate strategy and creation for AP Thailand Group, says that of the key philosophies for quality of life, Grow is the master plan for sustainable development. It is a design to achieve good physical and mental health from the inside to the outside. It involves developing green areas, conservation of the environment and moving into the future steadily.
“One of our Grow efforts is the saving of big trees on the Rhythm Ekkamai Estate. Another project is a collaboration between AP Academy and BIG Trees Project and Thailand Urban Tree Network to design a special course for tree management in housing projects.
“Meanwhile Joy means the joy of living and involves having peace of mind and family security with Katsan service innovation, which acts as your personal guardian 24 hours a day and Homewiser, which acts as your home expert complete with a maintenance concept and a design of life space for every family member. Flow aims to build a community of sharing and trust through our service innovation. We are looking to build an ecosystem for a quality society and are working with Denmark’s leading furniture brand HAY to offer a sharing community in AP projects.
“The event AP World is our first showcase of the quality of life and we took over five years to prepare it.”
As for the highlights at AP World, AP Thailand Group has collaborated with Kondo, a progressive architect from Japan who is known for a distinguishing design concept that focuses on how human beings live their lives. Kondo connected architecture with surrounding elements, whether it be climate, history, culture or the environment, to make the AP World Pavilion a unique showcase of sustainable living in the future, Vittakarn says.
Kondo has designed the marquee to be different from other pavilions or show booths held here, which are exposed to the sunshine and have crowds of visitors walking by from Paragon Shopping Centre and Siam Centre. AP Pavilion is not afraid of the heat, the Pavilion is transparent in four sides of the wall and on the roof. However, visitor inside the Pavilion doesn’t feel hot as would be expected. It is like the indoors with air-conditioned temperatures.
Kondo says that after the AP people told him about the AP World philosophy of Grow, Flow and Joy, it reminded him of the idea of sustainability or sharing community. So he designed the Pavilion to reflects Bangkok’s real hot temperature and at the same time interact with people who visit inside the Pavilion and also passers-by.
The architect also brings an aluminium balloon floating on the ceiling, which is not just for decoration but it’s an item that reflects the sunlight heat. And it also reflects things happening inside.
“Up there it is hot but down here the temperature is normal and it’s a cool breeze with help from air-conditioning,” says the architect.
Throughout the seven days of AP World, there are many activities, including the presentation of service innovation and services that improve the quality of life from five AP businesses: BC, Smart, SEAC, Vaari and Claymore.
“These businesses aim to bring about an ideal world of living where every space is designed with a deep understanding of customers together with modern innovation,” Vittakarn says.
“Kondo is distinguished for his experimental approach to art, focusing on making art pieces interact with audiences. His design concepts focus on how humans live their lives. Kondo connected architecture with surrounding elements, whether it be climate, history, culture or the environment, to make AP World Pavilion a unique showcase of sustainable living in the future.
“He wants and hopes to design a future that has no boundary between architecture and human and the environment.”
One of his masterpieces was a collaboration with Transsolar, a world-class climate engineering company. Called "Cloudscapes", it was an installation art that made you feel like you are walking up the stairs and vanishing into a white cloud. The piece was shown at Venice Architecture Biennale 2010.
“We use the real cloud in the air and it was made from water, floating with 1.5-metre thickness and people can feel the feeling differently when they were below the cloud, in the cloud and above the cloud,” says Kondo.
Another of his works that is well known both in Japan and in the international art community is “A Path in the Forest” - the installation in the forest of Estonia 10 years ago. A sequel to his Venice showcase, the work further reinforces the underlining concept that there must be no boundary in his architecture by designing a white steel walkway curvy narrow, thin, fastened to trees in the forest by belts only. Apart from leaving existing threes intact, it gives the most delicate touch to the old natural setting.
Kondo says that the idea is to bring people in harmony with nature, history and the environment, which is his interest in creating art works.
When asking about his idea in quality of living, the Japanese architect says that he doesn’t limit his work to short term happiness.
“There are many things when talking about the quality of living. But one thing you should think about is our life in a longer phase, and not concentrate just in the next in five years. We also have to think one hundred years ahead that we can't avoid thinking about how to live with nature as for the human being. We should think about the environment and that is what I am trying to do as an architect as well,” he says.
As an architect, Kondo’s philosophy in work thus is the connecting of everything from human beings to nature, history and culture.
“For me, the environment doesn't mean only climate change but it means everything from nature, human beings, temperature, light, culture and history. As an architect I try to find ways to make the architecture in having a good relationship between environment,” he says.
After graduating from the National Institute of Technology in 1999, Kondo began his career as an architect at Kazuyo Sejima and Associates SANAA, a leading architectural firm. He also lectures at Tokyo University of Science and Keto University.