The Yim Huai Khwang hostel in Bangkok, Thailand, required local studio Supermachine to create a fresh new look while retaining most of the existing features
Multidisciplinary studio Supermachine has transformed a 20-year-old shop into a strikingly modern hostel in Thailand, using a bold palette of colours and more than a dash of ingenuity.
The studio was approached by a young couple who were looking to quit their day jobs and start a chain of hostels. This flagship branch was to be based in the bustling district of Huai Khwang, in a tired old building previously used as a sales office for renting condominiums.
The refurbishment of both the interior and exterior involved what is locally termed “archiving” – giving a place a fresh, new look, while retaining most of the existing features. This led to the project being nicknamed “Batman hostel” because it could take on two personalities, like Bruce Wayne and his alter ego.
The exterior was stripped back to its original modernist façade. Bamboo panels, which are typically handmade and used in small houses in rural Thailand, were inserted behind existing sunshades to emphasise the modern architecture and to create privacy for the bedrooms.
The formal marble counter in the reception was retained, but contrasted with a colour-blocked collage made from old and new magazines on the wall behind to create a artistic vibe. This sits adjacent to a giant wall clock clad with brightly coloured toys. The boldest use of colour, however, is reserved for the stairwell and corridors. The walls, ceiling and bannisters of the stairwell is entirely coated in a vibrant turquoise green that spills out into the corridors, which are painted bright orange and yellow on the second and third floors respectively. These surfaces are enlivened by random circles of white in a range of sizes that echo the shape of the light fixtures.
In contrast, the bedrooms are kept simple with white walls and blonde wood to make the compact rooms feel more spacious. The curved forms of bunk beds are built in as capsule-like units, to afford the user with a little more privacy.
Now named Yim Huai Khwang Hostel – “yim” meaning smile in Thai – the hostel is the first in a chain of proposed hostels, whose names will be prefixed with the word, followed by the district in which they’re located.