Art of Time Gallery,
the watch showroom and art exhibition space that shattered
the image of a traditional sales space.

Who says a watch shop selling luxury timepieces has to be decorated in gold tones or have a lot of lamps to attract customers? The Art of Time Gallery, designed by a new studio called Curious.Scapes, is a one-of-a-kind space. Through a reinterpretation of the interior, the team aimed to shatter the image of the so-called watch shop, establishing functions and space design that fit well with the usage, trade, reception, as well as for the space to be an art gallery at the same time.

The noticeable difference between this watch shop and a conventional department store shop is that it does not cater to walk-in consumers. The shop’s online following makes up the majority of its regular consumers.

“We currently import the watch brands AZIMUTH and WMT, which appear to be quite exotic. Most customers may not be able to imagine what it will be like to wear it based solely on what they see on the online channel. Many people have asked whether the watch will look good on their wrist. Is it going to be too big or too small? We need a storefront area that isn’t just a general watch stand but has the ambience of a showroom to welcome visitors, especially because we deal with overseas consumers from Hong Kong and China. It is an area that supports a more specialized community,” said Khun Oat- Patchara Coompong, the shop’s owner.

“One more thing, I am an art collector who has been looking for a location to exhibit the paintings for a long time. Since I live in a townhouse, I occasionally have to leave paintings with the painters because I don’t have enough storage. I barely see the original work. Therefore, when I built the shop, I intended to use the space to display my collections and exhibit them to my customers.”

Breaking the limitations from the requirement and original space

From the owner’s requirements to make the shop a showroom that could occasionally use as an event or an art exhibit space, the design team from Curious.Scapes studio inspected the actual construction site. The building is located on the main road which used to be a lamp store, before turning into a coffee shop, and to the current Art of Time Gallery watch shop.

The challenge derives from the layout of the original store, which has a wide entrance but gradually narrows into a triangular shape. As a result, the functionality must be prioritized in layout planning. A mezzanine has also been constructed to the structure, but it is insufficient to provide the functions required by the owner.

1st floorplan
Mezzanine floorplan

To create a sense of interest, the designers start by arranging the entrance section, which is the broadest angle of the floor plan, allowing buyers to see the product first through a watch display cabinet that is customizable to the owner’s display needs. Because, even if they don’t target walk-in customers, getting to see the things that interest them immediately should be more appealing to create a sense of discovery. Customers may come to the shop not only to buy products for themselves but also to exchange with one another. A BOH service with a watchmaker’s room and a small pantry is located behind the counter for facilitating the people in the office.

Next to the entrance area is a reception area that was designed to accommodate large groups of people at once. When money is involved in discussions, creating a clear space between them will make them feel more comfortable. The collection of furniture ranges from seating for two to four people to a sofa set that can accommodate a big group, with all the furniture in the shop being loose furniture that can be moved or adjusted, for any special events that may occur.

(For convenient client service, the furniture incorporates a compartment for storing a watch tray.)

To save space in other portions of the shop, the designers planned to put a restroom at the end of the triangle. The designers increased the size of the mezzanine on the upper floor to facilitate more personal discussions or 5-6 person negotiations, or to serve as the owner and partner’s office.

Breaking through the limitations of materials

In order to save the budget, the main materials used are to maintain the same things as steel, glass, and metal sheet, but only partially painted to create harmony in the same tone throughout the store. As for the overall look of the store, the design team opted to re-panel the entire wall by using fire-burned American pine in black tones, which made the clock a standout object from space. The two designers told us that

“We used to think of the watch as only a watch because of its purpose. However, after working with the owner, we discovered that a watch contains numerous mechanisms that allow it to function. As a result, we intend to address this matter using the materials we’ve chosen. Isn’t it possible if a watch shop didn’t have to flaunt its opulence, gold bezels, and gleaming items? Instead, we use materials that are appealing through their simplicity while concealing a sophisticated manufacturing process. We believe fire-burned pine fits the concept because it is a valuable material. The method is also crafted in terms of how to burn it and how much fire to burn to obtain the desired grain. The method is simple and complements the construction period, which must be completed in 3-4 months.”

Something More: The details of installing fire-burning wood are still an experimental installation using a Thai-style house by first installing it on the frame and then creating a small gap to allow the light to naturally penetrate resulting in the dimension of light.

From the outside, we couldn’t tell that this place is a timepieces showroom because of its one-of-a-kind appearance that is distinct from the typical storefront. Curious.Scapes studio demonstrates how to effectively utilize restricted space in a cost-effective manner that satisfies the objectives of the owner as well as precisely merging the design into the store.

Patchara Coompong (the owner), Naddhapatra Busarakum and Panutchakorn Tontiwanitpong (the designers)

Location: Ratchadaphisek 29 Alley, Bangkok
Building Area: 120 sq.m.
Owner: Patchara Coompong
Architect & Interior : Curious.Scapes studio
Design Team : Naddhapatra Busarakum, Panutchakorn Tontiwanitpong
Photo credit : Jinnawat Borihankijanan

Rangsima Arunthanavut

Rangsima Arunthanavut