24Kilates The Clockwork, iconic interior design in Bangkok

Carmelo Zappulla (External Reference) & Chu Uroz,



Interior Design,

Telling the story of a brand is one of the big challenges of interior design, especially when it comes to conveying the brand’s identity. Carmelo Zappulla from External Reference and Chu Uroz together created an arresting example of this in Bangkok: the 24Kilates The Clockwork.

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24Kilates The Clockwork, iconic interior design in Bangkok Thong Lor is in the northern Watthana district, in Bangkok and some travel and lifestyle experts have dubbed it the “hippest district” in all of Asia. That’s a pretty big claim, but Thong Lor has indeed been successful at attracting bohemians and artists from all over Thailand in recent years, and it has something for everyone—great food venues, art hotspots, and some of the city’s most stylish hangouts. 
This makes it the perfect backdrop for the 24Kilates flagship store designed by Carmelo Zappulla, CEO of Barcelona-based External Reference Architects with fashion, set, costume and concept designer Chu Uroz. This is an ongoing partnership between the multi-brand company and External Reference, which had already designed the concept of the company’s first Asian store in Bangkok, in 2017. This new initiative, 24Kilates The Clockwork, is even more ambitious and covers four floors of a building on one of the high streets of Thong Lor. Luxury, complexity and perfection are the brand’s keywords that the designers expressed through the actual building, by thinking of it is a giant robotic mechanism from the outside and on the inside as well, where it is also possible to explore and discover the detailed mechanisms that push it. The edgy facade looks a bit like something from a sci-fi movie set in the future, grabbing the attention of passers-by and at the same time hiding the items being sold, so they have to enter to find out what’s inside.
Customers are then guided through a sequence of dramatic-looking rooms, where they can discover the range of limited edition sneakers and clothing sold by 24Kilates. This store welcomes visitors with a selection of exclusive details, just like the internal mechanism of a Swiss clock. Everything is designed by External Reference down to the finest detail because every square centimetre in the new store is engineered and developed to fit the specific requirements of each room. This approach adds an extra touch of magic and value to the items on display. 
A large, round glass “clockface” stands out on the façade and showcases the ever-changing brand content displayed inside. Hundreds of metal pieces cover the walls on the ground floor and serve as the displays for the sneakers. At the entrance, a DJ transforms the shopping experience with live sets. In the other areas of the store, the emphasis moves to the clothes that are exhibited as if it were an art gallery. The building also includes spaces for temporary events, and the rooftop can be used to celebrate launches and special events. 24Kilates describes their flagship store in Thong Lor, Bangkok “not just a common clothing shop, but also a place where clothes are carefully selected and presented as precious art pieces.”
Because, these days, if they want to compete with the vast online offer, physical stores have to give something more, and that something more often turns into a brand new experience that goes beyond the confines of the traditional store and drives retail towards new frontiers. 24Kilates The Clockwork by Carmelo Zappulla, designer and founder of External Reference, with Chu Uroz is an excellent example of how to create a store that’s worth stepping into on its own, no matter the content.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: External Reference with Chu Uroz
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Year: 2019
Images: External Reference