Waste Becomes a Canvas for Creativity at Bangkok's Siwilai Radical Club

Converting over five tons of plastic waste into a bold new addition to the city’s social scene.

Design
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Siwilai, a culture-driven platform that represents the rich history of Thailand as well as its continually evolving cityscape has announced the launch of a new addition to Bangkok’s social scene — dubbed the Siwilai Radical Club.

This multifaceted location stands out both literally and figuratively thanks to its underlying mission of converting plastic waste into a cutting-edge, sustainable clubbing and dining experience, notably, converting over five tons of waste.

An Ecosystem

The club, located in Thonglor, the Shibuya of Bangkok if you will, was not built overnight or as a solo initiative but instead came to life through an ecosystem of partners and collaborators, including names like Space Available Studio, waste solution group MORE and architects Sidarta And Sandjaja.

To learn more about the project and how these various members worked together to establish the club, which opened in December of 2023, we spoke with Siwilai’s founder Barom Bhicharnchitr and Space Available Studio’s founder, Dan Mitchell.

Before digging into the latest from Siwilai, we were curious to learn more about the brand’s background and what led them to the path they’re on today. Commenting on this, Bhicharnchitr shared that Siwilai, despite opening as a multi-brand store in 2014, began to bloom organically leading to “the cafe in ‘16, City Club (Rooftop restaurant and bar) in ‘17 and then the Sound Club (Music and Record bar) in early 2020.”

Expressing more on the brand’s underlying mission, he explained that “the name Siwilai is a Thai adaptation of the word civilization, meant to represent progress. We want to be one of the stepping stones to push the culture in Thailand forward, and help bring it to the modern world, in our own way.”

Waste to Wonder

While Siwilai’s overarching mission is certainly a meaningful one, Bhicharnchitr expressed that with the new initiative, he wanted to “do something radical,” but that he couldn’t do it without his “good friends and collaborators,” which is when he reached out to Space Available Studio founder Dan Mitchell.

Space Available, known primarily for its efforts as a design, consultation and educational platform for sustainable solutions has been on a tear since its launch in 2020. The Studio, helmed by Mitchell, has done everything from creating recycled plastic tableware to more recently launching its own Museum focused on circular design, alongside the very same architects that helped make the Radical Club a reality.

“We really wanted to take a radical approach with the design.”

Digging deeper into this, Mitchell explained that the design concept was made to embody the spirit of Thonglor and its youthful culture, stating “We really wanted to take a radical approach with the design.” He added that “Part of the mission of Space Available is to change the perception of waste and reconnect the culture to nature by using materials found in nature.”

In an effort to bring a spirit of circularity into the project, Mitchell explained that the visual design also needed to be radical, which is why they went with a very distinct orange, a color that he said “is a reference to a lot of the radical discotheques of the 1960s 1970s. That was the feeling that we wanted to embody. It was the beginning of the design and club culture in Italy and they were using a lot of plastic back then, but not from an environmental perspective but because it was a brand new material and you could have all of these vibrant colors.”

As for Siwilai specifically, however, Mitchell shared that the concept was to tap into Thai culture but through a modern lens, aiming to capture the iconic washed-out orange that has almost become synonymous with the region.

“We used that as a starting point and because of the nature of our recycling we work with a lot of brands that we can just find, like Fanta, these types of our brands that have orange plastics, so that worked out really well,” said Mitchell.

Inside the Siwilai Radical Club, guests will find everything from cultural carvings made out of these plastic materials, to large speakers providing the tunes that bring life to the discotheque in the late hours.

Looking Forward

While the Siwiali Radical Club’s dance floor and disco ball certainly capture attention, the location is also designed to provide a multitude of other experiences, like all-day dining, which includes house-roasted coffee specialties to signature breakfast sandwiches and international brunch favorites. Additionally, in the evening, the menu transforms into “New Age Thai” cuisine, blending locally sourced ingredients with global culinary techniques — with dishes ranging from salmon tartare to fried chicken wings with red curry.

The Siwiali Radical Club aims to also become more than a location for entertainment but rather a connection point and community builder, through initiatives like merchandise collaborations, events and cleanups. “In the future, we’ll look to push the platform forward, whether it’s through our music and cultural programs, workshops or through different cleanup activations. We want to continue to contribute using our platform as a medium,” shared Bhicharnchitr.

Touching more on this, Mitchell explained that Space Studio’s newly launched Radical Plastics Recycling Club will be making its way to Siwilai as an ongoing activation, he shared that “it’s essentially a cleanup. We scour the streets for high-value material coming on as waste but we then do workshops with those cleanups so that we take the material back and then turn them into objects.”

For those abroad or in the local Bangkok area, the Siwilai Radical Club is certainly a space to keep an eye on, as it aims to exemplify what true sustainability looks like, in practice and in the creative realm.

Siwilai Radical Club
148 Thong Lo, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana,
Bangkok 10110, Thailand

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