Bangkok, the bustling capital of Thailand and home to around 17 million inhabitants, is a city of contrasts. A city where cheap street food is served alongside Michelin-star restaurants. Where tuk-tuks share roads with luxury cars. Where modern condominiums overlook ancient temples.
Those contrasts can be seen on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, where opposite the storied hotel that once hosted John le Carré, W Somerset Maugham, Joseph Conrad, and Noël Coward, has risen a new luxury retail and residential development that is home to the region’s first Porsche Studio.
In the area known as Thonburi, where the original inhabitants of Bangkok first settled, ICONSIAM is the latest development in a what is a renaissance of the banks of the Chao Phraya. All along the river, condominiums are being built, boutique hotels are flourishing, and warehouses are being refurbished – repurposed with new retail and dining outlets, attracting the young, hip and urban set.
It is a fitting location for the opening of the Porsche Studio Bangkok, the seventh such Porsche Studio worldwide.
If a luxury mall seems an unusual location for a Porsche facility, it is worth noting that in Thailand people like to do things differently; that of the three existing Porsche showrooms in Bangkok the most sales are currently made at the Porsche City Showroom Siam Paragon, located in a luxury mall in the centre of the city.
The Porsche Studio Bangkok concept offers customers and fans a new way of interacting with, and learning about Porsche, in a welcoming boutique-like retail space.
Arthur Willmann, Managing Director of Porsche Asia Pacific, said: “Bangkok is one of the most dynamic cities in the world and a hotbed of creativity, which makes it the perfect location for the first Porsche Studio in Southeast Asia. It is a place where customers, enthusiasts and all those who share the same passion for the brand and products can meet, exchange and interact with Porsche in a casual and innovative environment.”
Arthur Willmann, Managing Director of Porsche Asia Pacific, and Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, President, AAS Auto Service Co. Ltd. (l-r) at the Opening
He added, “At the same time, it is a very open concept and we are happy to welcome everyone who wants to know more about Porsche – be it the products, the rich history of our brand or the very exciting future that is to come. The Porsche Studio is the perfect place for the Porsche community or, as we like to refer to, the Porsche family – and we have no doubt they will feel at home and discover something new, every time they come to visit.”
On arrival visitors are greeted by the runway – a central stage with an LED display wall as a backdrop, that can be used as an area to display cars, host events, and to show Porsche stories. With the capacity to exhibit three vehicles, guests can get close to the cars and be guided by professionally trained Porsche staff. Digital elements and exhibitions focus on key Porsche themes such as E-Performance and Porsche heritage.
Naturally, Porsche Studio visitors can configure a new Porsche with the aid of digital technologies, and a trimming area with a wide array of samples and colours, including components from Exclusive Manufaktur, Porsche’s in-house workshop specialising in bespoke modifications. Shoppers can also indulge in Tequipment and Porsche Driver’s Selection merchandise available in the Studio. After a day’s shopping in the Studio or the mall, the Café area offers a comfortable and welcoming place to relax.
According to Peter Rohwer, Managing Director of AAS Auto Service, the riverside location of the Porsche Studio Bangkok was both a strategic decision and a stroke of good fortune. “We are already very well-represented in Bangkok with our current locations. However, we always desired to have a presence in Thonburi, the west of the river, to ensure we have covered every area of this large city to be where customers are. Then the prime location of ICONSIAM came up as an opportunity, which fitted into our plans perfectly.”
The luxury mall location also reflects the interests of the increasing number of Porsche customers in Thailand. “AAS always put our customers first, hence we chose one of Bangkok’s newest and most luxurious shopping malls, ICONSIAM, to be closer to them. We welcome anyone of any age to visit us, including families and their children – our important future customers,” says Rohwer.