LONG-ESTABLISHED Design Worldwide Partnership (DWP) has handled numerous interior design projects over the years but the one which its CEO Brenton Mauriello is most proud of is Sirocco alfresco Mediterranean restaurant on the 63rd floor of Bangkok’s State Tower.
This project, which also included the designing of Distil Bar and Mezzaluna restaurant within and was completed 11 years ago, was additionally challenging because back then State Tower was basically one of over 300 incomplete ‘ghost’ buildings dotted across Bangkok after the 1997 Asian economic meltdown.
“It was really five years or so after the 1997 crash and it was suffering, a huge floor plate, and architecture that was, you know, either you like it or dislike it and it was very distinct architecture so that made it a little bit more difficult.”
There were additional problems because the open air space was very small and was actually just on top of some old air-conditioning ducts. There were also engineering complications with the floor loads and other such factors. Moreover a kitchen had to be worked out and all the furniture specially manufactured.
“It was very difficult to do something like that in a building that was basically empty.
“This was purposed designed so the first purposed designed roof-top bar, it won awards, and Hangover II the movie, they filmed it there, so we went international, Grey Goose (vodka produced in France) used it in their commercial.”
Mr Mauriello is pleased that his company helped clear one of the 300 or so ghost buildings in the city and pointed out that the Sirocco project is a good case study of how a destination restaurant and bar can actually propel the tenancies in the rest of the building.
“And even today you don’t say you are going to Lebua you are going to Sirocco but it’s one and the same, you are going to a destination,
“This is what most hotel operators struggle with terribly, they would love to emulate, they want to do that, they want you to go not to Centara or to the Dusit but to go to that restaurant in the Centara or the Dusit.”
Some overseas hoteliers who have not been successful in having a destination restaurant within their premises are outsourcing it, that is they bring a Michelin-branded restaurant in to rent part of their space.
“And I will give you an example, in the UAE right now Dusit Thani has a Jones the Grocer at the lobby but it’s not theirs, they are renting the space but they recognize it draws people and co-branding has benefits.”
The Sirocco project helped DWP get other key bar design projects over the past decade with the internationally-renowned ones being Chill Skybar in Ho Chi Minh City, Horizon Rooftop Bar and Restaurant at Hilton Pattaya, Capital Club on levels 51 and 52 of Bahrain Financial Harbor, and New Asia which is on the 71st floor of Swissotel The Stamford in Singapore.
“It was a very forward-thinking project, so that project I think is probably what we are proud of because it defined our company.”
Top: A great view of Bangkok from Sirocco Mediterranean restaurant on State Tower’s 63rd floor.
Inset: DWP CEO Brenton Mauriello at his Jones the Grocer restaurant within EmQuartier.
By Nina Suebsukcharoen