Samui Wining & Dining

Oriental Living celebrates its second branch’s first birthday with an exciting re-brand.


“Our baby is all grown up!” says Mr. Wilai Raksai (Khun Alex), project manager at Oriental Living, beaming with pride. Oriental Living is a company that specializes in interior design for holiday villas and resort projects. It’s Thailand’s sole distributor of acclaimed brand, Box Furniture, and also imports high-quality outdoor furniture from Indonesia. It has a well-established shop on Samui, located in Maenam on the island’s main ring-road, but what Khun Alex is excited about today is the newer Phuket store, which recently celebrated its first birthday in style – with local celebrities dropping in for some champers and a look at the latest collection.

The Phuket shop’s frontage is pretty impressive – it’s huge! Six panels of floor-to-ceiling glass comprise the façade, interrupted only by some feature columns. It actually looks more like an upmarket restaurant than a shop. And on the land leading up to the entrance there’s an attractive strip of grass. The store has been described as a fantastic way to spend a leisurely afternoon.

        And what’s more, two exciting new collections have been brought in to celebrate this achievement, available at both the Phuket and Samui stores. Oriental Living is well known for providing highquality goods that are bang on trend. Fabrics change seasonally, and the keen design team won’t miss a must-have international look. And with design backgrounds, they have a natural eye for both beautiful things and winning combinations that are designed to impress. So it comes as little surprise that these two new collections epitomize the very aesthetic they have become so famous for.

          The first is Galeri, a handmade tailored collection. This traveller’s edition range specializes in Asian-influenced contemporary classic designs for the international designer palate. It’s all about exquisite details and hand-crafted techniques that are executed with superb craftsmanship. Flicking through the catalogue you notice that although the pieces are all distinctly modern, each incorporates a hand-crafted textural element that’s Asian-inspired. So you’ll have a coffee table, for example, which has a very modern form, but that’s made from local rattan.

          Eastwind is the other of the two collections, which adheres to a minimalist Zen aesthetic. Wood features heavily, cut into compelling geometric shapes. Clean lines and smooth surfaces are juxtaposed with textural elements, to create pieces that are simple but that also have character.

          But new collections are not all that’s changed at Oriental Living – there’s also a brand new logo, designed by a specialist graphic designer in Bangkok. It’s comprised of multiple elements to represent homeliness, modernity, the Orient and thinking outside the box.

          The underlying concept of everything in Oriental Living has always been to stock pieces that inspire, and that remains the same. Khun Alex affectionately refers to the items as “treasures”. And they stock everything from ornate Indian doors, down to dainty little Buddha statues that you can display proudly on a mantelpiece – and everything in-between. The shop itself is very homely and comfortable, laid out like a living room. So when customers come in to discuss their requirements, they can sit on a lovely sofa by a beautiful wooden table, enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Around the room they’ll see beds, paintings, cushions, armchairs and coffee tables – all for sale. That way they can really get a sense of what the pieces would look like in a home environment.

          Khun Alex likes his clients to feel like they’re at home when they step into the shop. It’s a firm belief of his that good hospitality inspires people. He thinks of them therefore more as guests in his home rather than clients. And testament to the effectiveness of this philosophy is that many of his past ‘guests’ are now good friends! And whilst the Oriental team is frequently brought in as design consultants for a whole property, customers can also just purchase individual items from the shop – a statue perhaps, or even just a few cushions. There’s no volume prerequisite.

          Over the years, the hard-working lot at Oriental Living have worked on many residential projects, decorating villas both on the island and abroad, but recently they’ve been called in to lend their creative eye to some 5-star hotels. Anantara Lawana Resort & Spa is one such luxury venue, which enlisted the help of the team to modernize and freshen up the furnishings and fabrics in their hotel bedrooms.

          And that’s not the only exciting development for the Oriental Living team, Khun Alex has just returned from a high-flying job as Set Designer for an acclaimed television series. His expertise was called upon to give the villa that the series was to be filmed in, a stylish edge and luxurious touch.

          But let’s not forget what these guys originally became famous for – decorating beautiful homes. Many of the island’s most sought-after luxury properties have been furnished by Oriental Living, including 6-star luxury grand villa, Ban Jakawan, and Plumeria Estate, a plot of privately owned luxury villas. And the projects keep coming in.

          Hopes are high for the already-successful Phuket Oriental Living branch, and no doubt the Samui flagship store will continue to thrive. Because in all the years that Oriental Living has been around, it’s gone from strength to strength.


 Christina Wylie


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