ChangChui is making Thonburi great again. What is ChangChui, you may ask. Is it a new market? Yes, it is. A new cultural space? A dining and drinking venue? Yes! Yes! Dubbed a creative village by its founder, ChangChui is slated as a creative, innovative and entrepreneurial venue for the next generation. To define what it really is, Time Out talks to the man behind this grand project.
You can’t know the space without knowing its founder Somchai Songwattana, a man of big dreams and one of Thailand’s most iconic creative personalities. Somchai is also the creative force behind Flynow, one of the most successful Thai fashion labels. For years, Somchai has been helping the government plan national policies for creative economy—but it was not until he acquired this old landfill in Thonburi that he realized that it’s high time he did his own part.
Beauty in chaos
Chui means “careless, unorganized, untidy” in Thai, usually in reference to people. But instead of looking at untidiness from a negative point of view, Somchai and his team see it as a unique selling point—chui is what makes Thailand and Bangkok distinctive. Think of a local grocery store where everything is all in one place—literally, everything. You just need to ask the vendor and he will magically return with what you need in a flash.
ChangChui is made of many small buildings (they can’t finalize the number as new buildings keep popping up) decorated entirely with old-school windows and locally sourced antique doors placed at odd angles. Somchai designed the structure himself without the help of an architect.
Somchai believes the country would only evolve if there was a collaboration between generations—the old who has all the experience and the new with all the ideas. Somchai invited around 150 artists and creatives to participate in the project. These include award-winning dancer Pichet Klunchuen and Dudesweet founder Pongsuang Kunaprasop.
Designed to be the focal point of this 11-rai space, an old airplane is being transformed into an awe-inspiring luxury dining room and bar where diners can indulge in the finest fare amid taxidermied animals from Somchai’s private collection.
ChangChui is set to open on 1 Apr. Read more updates from its Facebook Page.