A Glistening Jewel in Chiang Mai

In Thailand’s cultural capital, local and traditional vernacular are reimagined at Little Shelter hotel

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Along the Ping river in Chiang Mai, a glistening jewel of a hotel has recently opened, offering a new spin on local design techniques. The Little Shelter hotel was designed by Bangkok-based architecture, interior and landscape design firm Department of ARCHITECTURE Co., whose design of the fourteen-room hotel is a homage to the traditional housing typified by wooden structures with a single pitched roof.

One of the most striking features of the hotel is the gleaming facade’s gradated effect, which the designers achieved using a mix of wooden shingles and polycarbonate sheets. Solid wooden shingles on the roof and side walls trickle down to eventually blend with polycarbonate versions, and are fixed with translucent studs and transparent screws. In the daylight the facade appears to blend into the surrounding treetops, while in the evenings it takes on a lantern-like glow.

A roof deck on the western side offers panoramic views over the nearby river, and inside the hotel, site-specific installations inspired by the nearby Bo Sang umbrella village offer a contemporary take on local handicrafts. Guest room ceilings are adorned with images of Chiang Mai, such as the ancient city wall and floating lantern festival, that reflect off of mirror shingles to create a kaleidoscope of colours and images.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / W Workspace Company Limited

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