Billed as Thailand’s first hybrid retail store, the Siam Discovery shopping centre will reopen in the second quarter of this year, sub-branded ‘the Exploratorium’.
The much anticipated Siam Discovery reopening will introduce what Siam Piwat CEO Chadatip Chutrakul describes as a “a revolutionary new retail concept”.
“Our role as a retailer has advanced to another level and become one of managing visitors’ experiences and emotions at the destination, rather than just one of managing products, categories and displays,” she said.
“Siam Discovery –The Exploratorium is a creative playground for people of all ages and all genders. It encourages experimentation and just having plain fun with trying new things.
“Visitors are free to window shop in wide open spaces, to explore and discover new products and services, and to immerse themselves in the stories that surround them. They can even make their own personalised products. We aim to lead them to a new world where innovation is incredibly accessible for everyone.”
Siam Piwat has invested US$112 million (4 billion THB) rebuilding the 40,000 sqm centre, which is adjacent to Siam Center and its larger sister property Siam Paragon at Siam station, the confluence of the city’s two skytrain lines.
The company believes the reinvention will double Siam Discovery’s per-square-metre sales within a year.
“We have created a venue where thousands of lifestyle brands are brought together under a single universal concept that puts customers at the centre, rather than brands. That means everything presented at Siam Discovery is not organised by brand, or category, as in traditional retailing, but by the visitors’ interest, because our purpose is no longer just to sell products but to provide an extraordinary and emotional experience to the visitor allowing them to discover themselves, as well as express themselves,” said Chutrakul.
“We then enhance that experience by presenting a story rather than just products, and by making the experience in our store highly interactive as well as allowing visitors to personalise their purchases. We give visitors opportunities to make a statement about their life preferences, whether it be about sustainability or a love of nature, and to support those preferences through their purchases, and through occasions to interact with like-minded people and communities. And then we further enhance those experiences through the power of the most advanced digital technology,” she said.
“Taken together, this new retail format makes a visit to the store an exciting, emotional experience that gives visitors a great opportunity to play, to experiment, to discover and rediscover themselves. We want people to fall in love with that experience.
“We target all genders and all age groups, and there is something for everyone at all price points.” she said.
According to Chutrakul, the new Siam Discovery says ‘Come play with me!’ to visitors, inviting them to experiment by trying out new products, new ideas, “rethinking conventions, and customising their purchases”.
“Our retail concept empowers visitors to mix and match across brands and categories to discover, define and create their own distinct, personal style, while also pursuing related interests and passions that need not be tied to any purchase intent. It has never been done before in Thailand and on such a scale, and it’s a concept that will bring new excitement to any visit to Siam Discovery.”
Chutrakul described the centre as a ‘lifestyle lab’ because it allows every individual to explore who they want to be and what is the style that best reflects their true self without the constraints of a particular brand or school of design. She said that visitors can try new ideas across the hundreds of categories and more than 5000 international and local brands on offer, many of which are first-time-in-Thailand brands. These include everyday products, sustainable products, trend products, collaboration and limited edition collections and innovative products.
Visitors can go even further in experimenting with creating their own style because the new Siam Discovery also provides bespoke personalisation opportunities that let customers tailor their purchases to their own personal preferences.
The presentations of products have a very strong storytelling component. As visitors move through the various parts of Siam Discovery, they are “immersed in the heritage and the intangibles of a brand and a category” and “drawn into stories relevant to their interests, their beliefs, and trends” rather than just being presented a selection of products.
“These experiences are enriched and heightened through advanced digital technology as well as many interactive experiences that are offered to the visitor. It’s a totally new and an extraordinarily exciting way of presenting products and their associated lifestyles,” said Chutrakul.
As part of this ‘immersive experience’, Siam Discovery has created areas for people of similar interests to interact, share experiences, make friends and create their own communities, whether they be designers, sportsmen, collectors, health gurus, or travellers.
“Not only can they do things with other people, they can also do things for other people: through their purchases, they will be able to indulge in their passions and convictions, such as supporting sustainability or other causes important to them,” she added.
Designer Nendo’s Thai debut
The new Siam Discovery is the largest project yet undertaken by Japanese designer Nendo (Oki Sato) and his first in Thailand.
One of the world’s top designers, voted among the ‘100 Most Respected Japanese’ by Newsweek, Nendo provided the overall design inspiration for the new Siam Discovery. He was engaged as the chief consultant for the building design as well as the interior design, while Urban Architect Co was the Thai architectural design and interior design company for the project.
“We invited Nendo to provide the inspirational design concept for Siam Discovery because Siam Piwat looks at the future from a global perspective rather than just the potential of the Thai market,” said Chutrakul. “This is because Siam Piwat is committed to the business of creating extraordinary experiences for customers who are not only Thai people but also visitors from every corner of the world.”
Chutrakul said Siam Piwat expects 100,000 people a day to visit the centre when it reopens, 65 per cent Thai, the balance visitors.
“What our visitors will have in common will be their progressive, independent-minded outlook on life, and a passion to explore and try new things,” she said.
The new Siam Discovery follows Siam Piwat’s successful US$51 million rebuild of Siam Center three years ago, which pioneered a revolutionary retail development concept where the developer worked collaboratively with retailers and brand owners to give the entire venue a consistent visual identity that is clear and distinctly unique.
Once Siam Discovery is complete the company is expected to announce plans for a revamp of the Siam Paragon mall to complete the trifecta of upgrades.
Siam Piwat also owns Paradise Park and is a joint venture partner in IconSiam on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.