Kengo Kuma, Retail Pavilion for Amanpuri, Phuket

Kengo Kuma,

Phuket, Thailand,


Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s Retail Pavilion stands on the Andaman coastline in Phuket, Amanpuri, Thailand. This was the first property opened by the Aman hotel chain, built 32 years ago, and like it, the new addition is inspired by the philosophy of sustainable tourism respectful of its context.

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Kengo Kuma, Retail Pavilion for Amanpuri, Phuket
We often discuss sustainable tourism on these pages, proposing virtuous examples of corporate and architectural approaches to a more respectful form of accommodations demonstrating awareness of visitors’ environmental and social impact. A good example of this approach is offered by the Aman hotel chain, of which we have already presented a number of resorts in locations varying from Indonesia to the United States and from China to Japan.
Aman has been expanding its scope of business and wanted to come up with a retail concept, opening its first store in the place where Aman first started out, Amanpuri, which opened on the Andaman coastline of Phuket 32 years ago. In the impressive new Retail Pavilion designed by world-famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, visitors can browse and buy an impeccably curated selection of items exclusive to Aman under unique partnerships with well-known local and international artists and designers.
Award-winning architect Kengo Kuma explains the idea behind the new expansion of the resort designed in 1989 by architect Ed Tuttle, consisting of a series of small constructions with pitched roofs connected by stepped pathways, inspired by the concept of the hotel village: "As the original location in the world-renowned Aman experience, Amanpuri carries both storied tradition and deep-rooted excellence that is anchored in a sense of place. Our idea draws on the leitmotif of repeated rhythms in the roofs, while strengthening the connections to the surrounding nature. Our design for the Retail Pavilion is both familiar and new, and we hope that its scale and integration conveys our respect for what has preceded us, and enthusiasm for Aman's future”.
Kengo Kuma’s proposal is inspired by intimacy and human scale, points shared by Thai and Japanese architecture. Sculpting the roof becomes a way of creating intimacy and promoting dialogue with the building’s surroundings. The architects of Kengo Kuma’s studio combine two structural systems, one of cross glulam and another of steel, with glass partitions to create an indoor space with natural diffuse lighting like sunlight filtered through the leaves of the forest. The pavilion’s stratified roofs dissolve into the luxuriant growth of the leaves, while the dark roof tiles absorb sunlight. The roof seems to have grown out of the sloping ground, towering upwards to reach 9 metres at its highest point: a height that makes the interior of the store look like a museum, with no internal supports and truly unique spatial qualities. Thus the new Retail Pavilion in Amanpuri becomes an architectural and experiential extension of the resort.
Kengo Kuma and Associates have further partnerships with Aman in store, for the design of objects and new buildings: we’re curious to see what their joint efforts will yield in the future!

Christiane Bürklein

Project: KKAA Kengo Kuma and Associates
Location: Phuket, Thailandia
Year: 2020
Images: courtesy of AMAN