By Jody McCutcheon
Say you want to design a residential space for your family, an architectural venture that seeks to reconcile artistic and functional needs as well as natural and urban spaces. Now say you have only a small plot of land in an overpopulated city to work with, and seriously limited green areas. It may seem impossible, but as the managing director of Apostrophy’s Design Studio Pantavit Lawaroungchok discovered, a little imagination can go a long way.
Lawaroungchok’s Bangkok based Casa Lawa (pronounced “lava”) is a clever feat of contemporary architectural design. A stylish and efficient town home, its long, narrow structure makes excellent use of Bangkok’s limited space while incorporating energy-saving strategies and infusing a decidedly un-lush locale with a touch of greenery.
Faced with width restrictions, Casa Lawa imaginatively spreads up instead of out. A “triple space,” as the designers call it, functions as a high-ceilinged, foyer-type area in the middle of the house. This triple space is topped by a convertible-like moonroof, which allows natural light to illuminate the house, thus cutting energy costs. The light’s brightness and direction is controlled by an automated energy system.
Casa Lawa even manages the trick of importing a dab of flora into a concrete jungle, creatively filling the gap between nature and urban life, instilling a tranquil environment and improving air quality. The residence’s backyard houses a 7.5 metre tall vertical garden atrium consisting of various plant species selected for their ability to filter pollutants. All plants are grown at a roughly equal pace thanks to ultraviolet lamps, and they’re fed and maintained by water, lighting and fertilizing systems adapted for work in such a narrow space.
Other notable features of the Bangkok townhouse include smart automated systems, nature-inspired artwork of animals and natural environments and an eclectic interior design. Basically a fusion of oriental and western aesthetics, Chinoiserie is viewed by the designers as a “reinterpretation of oriental ornament into western tradition” and includes exotic chairs, a Tibetan sofa and a “Mega Size” table. The furniture choice serves the purpose of promoting local creativity. The name Casa Lawa (pronounced “lava,” remember) helps explain the interior’s lava-esque red-and-gold colour scheme.
The designers have bestowed upon Casa Lawa a charming, broken-English theme of “Combination of Opposite Things.” To clarify, the dwelling explores the juxtapositions of urbanity and nature and East and West, with some intersections of traditional craft and radical design thrown in for good measure.
Home may be where the heart is, but Casa Lawa has more than heart – its smart design shows plenty of brainpower, too.