Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Design Director: Stephen Pimbley
Design Team: Wenhui Lim, Mark Mancenido, Suchon Pongsopitsin
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: TMB Bank, Lin Ho, Sparch
From the architect. Fai-Fah, which means “light energy”, is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme initiated in April 2010 by TMB Bank. The programme acts as a catalyst for change in Thai society through working with underprivileged children and teenagers in their community using the arts as a vehicle for self-development and creative thinking.
In October 2010, Sparch was invited to design Fai-Fah Prachautis, the refurbishment of two shop houses located in a residential district of Bangkok.The art and creative education programmes contained in the client’s brief have been distributed over five floors, and include: the multi-function “living room”, the art studio, a library, the gallery, the dance studio and a multi-purpose rooftop garden.
The design was developed at interactive workshops with the Fai-Fah children and teenagers, volunteer arts staff, and members of TMB’s CSR team. Ideas generated during the workshop such as the façade screen and the interior colours were incorporated into the design, underlining the positive nature of the collaborative process and ownership of the concept amongst all of the project's protagonists.
The five levels of the building are linked by a central feature staircase with each level defined by its own colour theme. Utilities and services are housed in a new inverted L-shaped structure, the "Utility Stick", which is plugged into the rear of the building; it rises from the courtyard and bends to form a garden store at roof level.
The existing shop house façade has been transformed by the application of a bespoke lattice screen and Fai-Fah logo, a statement that the building is different from its adjacent neighbours and announcing to the community that Fai-Fah has arrived. Paradai Theerathada, Head of Corporate Communications at TMB Bank said, “Sparch’s workshops with the Fai-Fah children were inspiring.
They gave the children a great sense of accomplishment from being involved in the design process of such a large-scale, tangible project. Sparch’s unique interpretation of Fai-Fah propels the imagination of the young and old alike, and inspires the residents and children in the communities to look at ordinary things in extraordinary ways.”