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Thread: Bangkok Whimsy

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    Bangkok Whimsy

    Tour the Whimsical Bangkok Home of a World-Renowned Hotel Designer

    By Katie Lockhart
    Architectural Digest April 4, 2020, 6:14 AM GMT+7

    Whimsical, wild, and wacky are but a few words that most aptly describe Bill Bensley’s unique design aesthetic and the exceptional hotels born from it. Credited with upping the ante on Southeast Asia’s hospitality design, he is one of the most intriguing artists in the field today. For the past 27 years, he and his husband’s Bangkok home, Baan Botanica, has been the canvas for his next five-star hotel, restaurant, garden, or spa. “Our house is constantly under renovation and I’m constantly experimenting with new things,” says Bensley. “If we screw up at home, that’s fine, but if we screw up with our clients and with our hotels, that’s no good.”

    Bangkok Whimsy-c6918fe1791e8579642b3808a0a13e4e-jpg

    A whimsical entrance to Bensley’s Bangkok bungalow.

    Originally from California, Bill has called Asia home since 1984 when he lived in Singapore and Hong Kong before moving to Bangkok and setting up Bensley, a full-service hospitality design atelier made up of architects, landscape architects, interior designers, and artists. Since then, he and his team have completed architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture projects for some of the region’s most incredible properties—from Capella Ubud, Bali to Shina Mani Wild to Rosewood Luang Prabang. And traces of all these hotels can be found in their three-bedroom Bangkok bungalow. “I can take you around the house and say, ‘The base of this column exists at Capella Ubud, and the top of this bathroom door is Four Seasons Chiang Mai, and this lantern is the prototype for all the lamps that we used at Four Seasons Koh Samui.’ There are still remnants of pieces here from probably 100 different projects,” says Bensley.
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    Throughout the home, colors seem to pop from every corner.

    With sustainability at the forefront of all his work, it’s also a part of his life at home. “Long before sustainability became a buzzword, I trained first and foremost as a landscape architect,” Bensley explains. “That influence is very much how we design architecture in that it’s designed to step lightly onto the earth.” This is most evident in his massive labyrinth of colorful, vibrant outdoor garden rooms. “We have two plots of land. On one of the plots, we have just outdoor gardens—with the exception of a glass greenhouse, which I use for my painting studio,” Bensley continues. All of the fertilizer used for the gardens is made up of kitchen waste and leaves, shredded and composted.

    Bangkok Whimsy-bdb5ffbe7c6387ee6fbcccd36c2f6712-jpg
    The walls in each room are different from the one before, including the vermilion seen here.

    On the second plot is the two-story main house, which includes a veranda that wraps around the entire home. Much like his hotels, each room has its own eclectic style and personality, but Bensley’s favorite room is called the Bonnet Suite. “This room has a bed on a repurposed pool table I bought years ago. Then, I did an Indian webbing between the beams of it.”
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    The maximalist aesthetic is spread throughout each room of the home.

    Inside the room, there is an extensive collection of Rudolf Bonnet paintings. A Dutch painter who first went to Bali in 1923, Bonnet painted Indonesian people for most of his life. “I find him very inspiring because I’m trying to be a good portraiture artist. That’s my goal,” Bensley admits. As for his master bedroom, his headboard also tells a tale. “It has two yellow lions on it, and we bought that in Burma years ago. It was part of the Dutch embassy. We figured it was probably from around 1910, and we were really lucky to get it.”
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    Inside one of the bedrooms.

    Every year, Bensley, a lover of antiques, fills two shipping containers full of his finds from antique fairs in England and France. “I’m a serious shopaholic,” he explains. These items included stone sculptures, Victorian-period cast iron, vintage suitcases, old typewriters, and mounted animal heads, adorn the grounds and interiors of Baan Botanica.
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    A lover of antiques, Bensley has filled his home with his finds from around the globe.

    Bensley’s latest home experiment is all about color. For his newest project, instead of sticking to a black, white, or gray exterior, Bensley wants to be unpredictable, his modus operandi. “I want to give the Shinta Mani in Loong Bay, China, multi-colored exterior walls,” says Bensley. He’s trialing tan, burnt orange, mint and pale aqua colors on one of the back walls in his garden. “I’m using the back of the wall to do all sorts of weird stuff. Some of it’s working, some of it ain’t. Good thing I can paint over it.”

    Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
    Last edited by tomcat; 04-04-2020 at 05:20 PM.
    Majestically enthroned amid the vulgar herd

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    You getting itchy feet and thinking of moving Tom? something low rise.

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    loony mcfluffpants

    “I want to give the Shinta Mani in Loong Bay, China, multi-colored exterior walls,” says Bensley. He’s trialing tan, burnt orange, mint and pale aqua colors on one of the back walls in his garden. “I’m using the back of the wall to do all sorts of weird stuff. Some of it’s working, some of it ain’t. Good thing I can paint over it.”
    meanwhile back on planet earth, thousands are dying and economies are being destroyed by coronovirus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NamPikToot View Post
    You getting itchy feet and thinking of moving Tom? something low rise.
    ...not at all, but I like the room colors, some of the antiques and the display of Thai Kings...something to think about that doesn't involve disease, death and inconvenience...

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    Nice enough. Luckily housekeeping and gardening is affordable in Southeast Asia 'cos going by the photos (beautiful colours) his places would require a lot of upkeep.

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    I like the way all the patio doors are wide open, not a mossie in sight. You'd spend the next day walking around with one of those tennis rackets swishing away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by happynz View Post
    Nice enough. Luckily housekeeping and gardening is affordable in Southeast Asia 'cos going by the photos (beautiful colours) his places would require a lot of upkeep.
    ...yep, such places are an indulgence...but still nice to look at...

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    Quote Originally Posted by taxexile
    meanwhile back on planet earth, thousands are dying and economies are being destroyed by coronovirus.
    Yeah everyone should be permanently mired in misery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AntRobertson View Post
    Yeah everyone should be permanently mired in misery.
    ...I thank my current glass of JWB for temporary liberation from doom and...taxexile...

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat
    ...I thank my current glass of JWB for temporary liberation from doom and...taxexile...


    I'm on me 3rd glass of something called 'Eaglehawk'. It's really quite dreadful but I'm looking on the bright-side.

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    Any port in a storm and at 399 baht Eaglehawk Cabernet Sauvignon is bearable but perhaps best paired with a robust casserole, ragu or even a chilli con carne. As a drinking wine it's fucking challenging unless fridge cold.

    I have found a better alternative which is still priced well, for Thailand, at around 460 baht, also Australian, a reasonably drinkable shiraz/cabernet, Angove's Butterfly Ridge. Less savage on the tongue and with some character that is not redolent of an Ocker farting.

    Generally, it can be found where Wolf Blass's Eaglehawk is sold.

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