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ICONSIAM UNVEILS ‘SOOKSIAM’ – BHT 700 MILLION ATTRACTION INTRODUCING NEW RETAIL FORMAT CENTRED ON AUTHENTIC CULTURAL OFFERINGS

  • Introduces new ‘co-creation’ retail concept
  • Reinforces ICONSIAM mission to give 3,000 traditional upcountry Thai businesses and craftsmen a platform to showcase their offerings to the world and become part of a greater commercial ecosystem
  • Launches with Bht 25 million 360-degree laser LED Dome Projection show with ‘8k Technology’ – first time in the world

Bangkok (4 April 2018) – ICONSIAM, the spectacular Bht 54-billion riverside landmark development that’s readying to open at the end of this year, today, announced a new Bht 700 million attraction that aims to draw 21.9 million visitors, annually, as well as introduce a new retail concept called ‘co-creation’.

Mrs. Chadatip Chutrakul, a director of ICONSIAM Co., Ltd., and Chief Executive Officer of Siam Piwat Co., Ltd. said, “We have dedicated almost the entire ground floor of 15,000 square metres (approx. 10 rais or 4 acres) at ICONSIAM to an extraordinary new feature called ‘SookSiam’, where we will present the best products, services and artistic creations from Thailand’s 77 provinces in a single exciting destination and in a dramatic, new ‘co-creation’ format that is immersive, emotional, and entertaining.”

“It is a part of ICONSIAM’s commitment to bring all that makes Thailand great to the world’s attention. It will help small enterprise owners, artisans, artists, and performers who are local heroes from around the country access a globally visible, omni-channel platform on which to showcase their creations and become integrated into a greater commercial ecosystem. This will help local heroes become national heroes and global heroes” she said.

“SookSiam is conceived as a place that will present the cultural heritage of all the four, main geographic regions of Thailand, capturing their arts, handicrafts, performing arts, and local wisdom. Within SookSiam are outlets of varying types that are built in the style of their respective regions, and which offer regional specialties, whether they be crafts, foods, beverages, or services that are unique to that region.

“We have layered on top of this a completely new, emotional dimension by letting visitors experience the stories behind everything they see, and we let them know about the people involved with each place, product, and service at SookSiam. It makes the offerings at SookSiam exciting and meaningful, and the destination very much more engaging because of the deeper knowledge that visitors will have about all that is around them,” Mrs. Chadatip said.

According to Mrs. Chadatip, each of the four regions, including their art installations, are constructed by local builders, artisans, and painters who came from the particular region, as well as by more than 200 artists.

Authentic

Mrs. Chutrakul said, “What’s never been done before and what makes SookSiam truly unique is its authenticity. The outlets at SookSiam are real stores that all also exist in towns and villages around Thailand and which have been transposed into SookSiam. They are small mom-and-pop operations that are famous in their localities but which have never had a chance to present themselves to a wider national or global audience. They are stores with real, extraordinary stories and real, multi-generational legacies that are rooted in their respective local communities.”

She said, “SookSiam is like a window into every province and into every corner of Thailand. People can see, feel, and experience with their every sense the true heart and soul of each locality.

It helps every Thai and foreign visitor connect with and admire products, recipes, and artistic creations that are the result of dedication and accumulated knowledge built up through generations. Because of this, the destination has an emotional dimension that comes from the lives and life stories behind everything present at SookSiam. It is a very moving experience because it honours the heritage of so many great people who have been a living part of our culture and of Thainess, but who have been hidden from view. Nothing like this has ever been done in Thailand before,” she said.

Mrs. Chadatip added, “SookSiam is a living, evolving, and regenerating entity, which is what will what make it particularly authentic, just like any marketplace or high street in a provincial town that is constantly developing. No two visits are ever likely to be the same.”

SookSiam is being produced and curated by Mrs. Luckana Naviroj. She is known for her expertise in sourcing authentic products and foodstuffs from around Thailand that are the best of their kind and for her understanding of how to work with small mom-and-pop operations and individual artisans. She has played an important role for more than 30 years in helping farmers and artisans develop their capabilities.

Mrs. Naviroj said that the outlets in SookSiam all have a real counterpart in small towns in Thailand, and that many of them are enterprises that have been operated by several generations of the same family.

“We travelled the entire country to find these unique shops, artisans, and artists, and invited them into SookSiam. SookSiam will serve as an extraordinary platform onto which people – the “local heroes” from around the country, can place their talents and products, and draw global attention as well as expanded sales opportunities, 365 days a year.

“Thai and foreign visitors to SookSiam will have the opportunity to experience or purchase some genuinely exciting and special offerings which have been hidden away in towns and villages around Thailand,” she said.

Mrs. Naviroj added, “It’s my life passion to deal with so many extraordinary but humble people who are legends and heroes in their own communities but whose modesty or limited means have meant that few outside their immediate community could really appreciate their great skills or access their outstanding creations. SookSiam lets me fulfil my life goal to help bring Thai greatness to the world’s attention as well as ensure the sustainability and preservation our national heritage which is embodied in these people.”

Preserving the nation’s heritage

She said, “While helping these small operators, our purpose is also to help preserve Thailand’s cultural heritage and the rapidly disappearing Thai way of life. SookSiam offers a platform that will help the next generation turn their legacies into bigger enterprises that can challenge and reward them enough for them to continue in their families’ proud traditions while preserving Thailand’s priceless cultural heritage at the same time. Without an opportunity to expand their businesses and become part of a greater commercial ecosystem, or for artists and artisans to attract more sponsors, the next generation will, almost certainly, abandon their occupations and turn to new sources of employment leading to the loss, forever, of our cultural heritage and the way of life that has defined what it means to be Thai.”

Co-Creation

Mrs. Chutrakul said that SookSiam represents the inauguration of a new retail concept called ‘co-creation’, around which the entire ICONSIAM development is also designed.

She said, “Everyone involved with ICONSIAM, whether they be outlets selling products, or designers and artists showcasing their creations, are an inseparable part of our business model and our design and development process. ICONSIAM is being created in collaboration with thousands of tenants and other partners. SookSiam represents that co-creation concept perfectly because everything special being presented at SookSiam is actually created by someone somewhere else in Thailand. We ‘co-create’ with them by adding our knowledge of consumer preferences and supporting them with innovation as well as retailing and marketing techniques based on our insights into the needs of Thai and foreign visitors. We also assist them in ‘curating’ the selection and presentation of their offerings at SookSiam, all in a way that is consistent with the government’s Thailand 4.0 programme to help people add value to their intellectual property and proprietary skills.”

“It’s a new prototype for collaboration between developer-co-creators like us, and enterprises of all sizes in ICONSIAM, with benefits that are shared among all parties. It is a model that will shape the future of retailing in Thailand and the world,” she said, adding that “ICONSIAM illustrates our core belief that collaboration with retailers, communities, and other stakeholders is the only way forward for the future of great retail development.”

Mr. Chayapong Naviroj, Chief Executive Officer of SookSiam said, “We have secured the collaboration of more than 3,000 people, families and enterprises from around Thailand to become a part of the mosaic that is SookSiam. Our SookSiam co-creators are almost all opening their first establishment outside of their home town.

Among those establishments is one that offers ‘galamare’ sweets from Surin in the northeast, another that offers exquisite accessories from Chiang Mai in the north; another offers clay pottery from Nonthaburi and another goldware made using ancient techniques from Sukhothai in central Thailand, as well as a kite-maker from Yala and basket weavers from Phattalung in the South, among hundreds of other enterprises.”

He said that walking around SookSiam is also breathtakingly exciting and fun because of the way products are presented and the way technology is integrated into the experience.

“We are fully utilising technology and interactive virtual reality software that lets people experience the story behind everything and everybody at SookSiam as well as letting visitors reach back into centuries of history and experience our way of life,” Mr. Naviroj said.

He said, “SookSiam makes our culture more relevant to a newer generation, helping them appreciate it more, by speaking to them in their own language and enrolling them in the experiences in a way that the new generation expects to be engaged. The experience at SookSiam will stimulate people’s admiration of our way of life and they will want to know more and experience more of what they see, perhaps even travelling upcountry to the ‘home base’ of the various outlets.”

ICONSIAM

Mrs. Chutrakul said that ICONSIAM is opening in the last quarter of 2018 and that all the rentable space is being transferred with internal decorations also started by many of the retailers.

“All our co-creators at SookSiam will benefit from an exceptional new retail ecosystem that we have developed and which offers a boundaryless offline and online experience for visitors. It will be rolled out at our opening and blends eCommerce with eFinance and eLogistics, and ensures the presence of technology everywhere at ICONSIAM. Our ecosystem creates a very efficient connection between visitors and makers, co-creators and curators, as well as gives SME tenants access to ‘big data’ so that they may target their offerings effectively and adapt quickly to evolving consumer preferences,” she said.

Sensational launch of SookSiam

SookSiam was launched with a dazzling, Bht 25 million 360-degree Dome Projection show stunning an audience of hundreds at Parc Paragon who stood in a double-domed bubble rising 8 metres high and 22 metres long to watch projections on the walls and ceilings of the domes. It is the first time in the world that 8k technology is being used in a 360-degree laser LED projection and offers viewers a reality-experience in a resolution that is four times greater than IMAX projections.

The Dome Projection show is open to the public from Thursday 5th April to Sunday 8th April, with six viewings a day between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

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For further information
Siam Piwat: Sireetorn Niyomsen – tel: 02-610-8230
Bangkok Public Relations: Pathara Kwantientong – tel: 02-664-9500

NOTE TO THE EDITOR

ICONSIAM is a spectacular global landmark that is located in Bangkok on a 55-rai riverside site with a 400 metre river frontage and a gross floor area (GFA) of over750,000 square metres. It includes two of the world’s most glamorous retail complexes as well as two luxury waterfront residential condominium buildings of 70 and 52 floors, one of which carries the Mandarin Oriental Residences brand.

One of the ICONSIAM highlights is a stunning 25,000-square metre super-luxury glass pavilion called ‘ICONLUXE’ that is situated next to the river. It is built with specially commissioned ‘ultra-transparent’ glass that is pleated around the building creating a mesmerisingly beautiful nirvana of luxury with some of the world’s most prestigious brands, in fashion, jewellery and watch-making.

ICONSIAM aims to be an amazing, must-visit destination that will bring honour to Thailand and be a magnet for the country drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors a day from around the world and from around Thailand, as well as lift the level of quality that people will come to expect from all things Thai.

ICONSIAM is being developed by three of Thailand’s most successful businesses, including Siam Piwat, the owner and operator of prestige retail developments such as Siam Center, Siam Paragon, and Siam Discovery; MQDC Magnolia Quality Development Corporation, the owner and developer of luxury quality residential and mixed-use projects; and multi-national conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group.