Gold and glam

A peek into Bangkok's new landmark - Iconsiam

Last weekend, eager Bangkokians finally got a chance to wander through the massively enchanting Iconsiam retail and entertainment centre. Co-developed between Siam Piwat, Magnolia Quality Development Corporation and Charoen Pokphand Group, Iconsiam is the biggest retail complex in Thailand, featuring majestic architecture and global stores with luxury brands to provide a shopping experience unlike any other (minus the heavy traffic that comes with it).

Called the "Icon of Prosperity", Iconsiam is meant to represent all that is great about Thailand and its people, its construction having been built on the concept of co-creation and collaboration by Thai and international artists and experts of various professions from around the world. Not only does the retail complex features a wealth of stores from fashion and lifestyle to sports and technology, there are (and will be) an array of local and international restaurants, services catered to business, finance and families, residential towers and entertainment, which include a luxurious cinema and a museum showcasing exhibitions filled with masterpieces, an auditorium for hosting meetings and events, and a fitness centre.

GURU gathered facts, notable highlights within the mega building that everyone should check out, as well as future additions. An iconic landmark for the Big Mango.... just remember to bring lots and lots of money -- plastic or paper!

Iconic stats

Here are a few stats to get familiarised with how grand this landmark is:

- The cost of Iconsiam is a whopping B54 billion!

- The entire complex is on 55 rai, with 50 rai on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and the remaining on Charoen Nakhon Road, and is more than 750,000m². The complex also features a 400m river front.

- Iconsiam comprises two massive retail complexes -- Iconsiam and Iconluxe -- two residential towers: Magnolias Waterfront Residences and The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok -- and seven iconic landmarks dubbed the "Seven Wonders at Iconsiam", with a few still under construction.

- Iconsiam's architectural design is inspired by how a krathong is folded while the Iconluxe resembles three glass krathongs that stretches to 300m along the river.

- The Magnolia Waterfront Residences will stand more than 70-floor tall and has 379 units. The Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok will be 52-floor tall. Residences in both towers have set records as the most expensive residential developments with prices starting at around B85 million for a two-bedroom condominium.

- Many of the world's ultra-luxury brands have their flagship stores within the 25,000m² of Iconluxe. The building is next to the river and is built with specially commissioned pillarless glass, said to be the longest in the world.

- Two underground parking spaces (floors B1 and B2) holds up to a total of 5,000 cars.

- Iconsiam's co-creation retail concept, SookSiam, costs B700 million and aims to give 3,000 traditional upcountry Thai businesses and craftsmen a platform to showcase their products to the world. It covers 15,000m².

- The mega complex features more than 7,000 leading global and Thai brands, with a few being exclusive to Iconsiam.

- Its River Park community space is more than 100,000m² along the Chao Phraya River.

The firsts

Iconsiam is notable for a lot of first accolades, here is what the mega complex is the first to achieve within Thailand and even the world.

- Iconsiam marks the first time many leading brands will open flagship stores in Thailand. They include:

• Renowned Japanese department store Takashimaya will open its first store Siam Takashimaya. Of the 500 brands included in the store, 80 of them will mark their first appearance in the Kingdom, including Japanese cosmetics speciality store Cosme. Siam Takashimaya will be 36,000m² in size across seven floors.

• Apple fans rejoice! After years of praying, Thailand finally has its first official flagship Apple Store and the second in Southeast Asia. On the second floor, the store features the latest iPhones XS and XR, as well as the Apple Watch Series 4 and more than 165 accessories.

• The H&M Iconsiam branch will be the first three-storeyed triplex store in the country.

• Iconsiam will also feature Asia's largest Adidas Original Store.

• Chinese fashion label Urban Revivo opens its first outlet here.

• UK's sports fashion retail company, JD Sports, opens its first store featuring brands such as Nike, adidas, North Face and Vans.

• Nike Kicks Lounge, the first to open in Southeast Asia, will be offering products that "are very different from other Nike stores".

- SookSiam will be the first co-creation space for local communities from all 77 of Thailand's provinces.

- Although not within Iconsiam, the launch of SookSiam, held at Parc Paragon on Apr 5-8, had a 360-degree laser LED Dome Projection show with 8K technology in a giant double dome -- a first in the world -- and is said to have a resolution that is four times greater than Imax projections.

- Scheduled to open in July 2019, the True Iconhall is said to be the most technologically advanced auditorium in Thailand. The hall will serve as a hub for concerts, conferences, events and meetings.

- On the eighth floor will be River Museum Bangkok, the first world-class museum built in Thailand that will include and feature exhibitions holding world-class art from around the world, and is scheduled to open in July 2019.

- Iconsiam also marks the first time in history where both Thai and international artists collaborate together to produce and present exclusive artwork for the retail centre.

- For the first time in Asia, BMW Motorad will be showcasing their automobiles using Virtual Reality (VR). Customers will be outfitted with special eyeglasses that will present the luxury automobile brand's vehicles through virtual images. The experience will feature a level of interactivity such as settings that can be adjusted to change day/night backgrounds, the colours of the vehicles, as well as being able to walk around and get in the vehicle within the virtual space.

- The Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok will be the first Mandarin-Oriental-branded residential development in Southeast Asia.

Eat and be merry

- Singapore's seafood restaurant-chain Jumbo Seafood will open their first outlet in Thailand, where seafood lovers can choose live produce from tanks and get a taste of their award-winning Jumbo Chilli Crab or signature Black Pepper Crab.

- On the sixth floor, which will add to the restaurants on the ground floors, will be a unique dining experience where diners are treated to a panoramic view of the city and river with Alangkarn -- The Paradise of Eatery and TasanaNakom Terrace Bar, which opens in December.

- Seven zones for dining will be available with more than 100 restaurants, one of which will be Michelin-starred restaurant opening its first branch in Thailand.

- For something more affordable, Elle Cafe Thailand is coming soon at Siam Takashimaya. If you're short on cash, there's a 7-Eleven (surprise, surprise).

Shop till you drop

- On both the G and UG floors is SookSiam. The space will feature products from all of the country's 77 provinces and stylised after authentic Thai towns with its architecture and design reflecting the Kingdom's rich history. It is meant to present the cultural heritage of the four main regions of the country from crafts, food, drinks and services. Be sure to check out the indoor floating market, complete with actual boats. SookSiam is curated by Luckana Naviroj, known for her expertise in sourcing products from around Thailand.

- In addition, Iconsiam will also have the ultimate space for sports fashion -- Icon Active. The space is 1,350m² and will offer more than 40 well-known brands of clothes and accessories.

- Iconsiam houses premium luxury automobile brands, including Rolls-Royce, Maserati, Mini, BMW Motorad, Porsche and Toyota.

Other highlights

- Parking floors will include, among other minor features, Iconluxe Concierge, a customer collection point, valet parking, Kerry Express, Wash me, Thailand Post, Icon Wash, Lock Box.

- On the ground floors, shoppers have a variety of choices to travel where drop-off points, taxi stands and piers are located, as well as the upcoming BTS Iconsiam station. Currently under construction, the Gold Line Monorail of Bangkok's rapid transit system will be connected from BTS Krung Thonburi. It is expected to open in 2020-2023 and the development is said to cost 3.8 billion baht.

- Iconsiam is also building four piers inside the project, increasing travel options along the river.

- Taking advantage of the beautiful landscape of the Chao Phraya River, the expansive River Park community space is open to the public daily.

- The Fitness First branch opens in March 2019.

- Aimed at being a global tourist attraction, Iconsiam holds one of the largest and longest fountains in Southeast Asia called the "Icon Fountain", which has an iconic multimedia water feature. The fountain is said to rival Singapore's Botanic Garden at Marina Bay Sands, as well as London's London Eye.

- Iconsiam also house exclusive artwork masterpieces from more than 100 local and international artists from around the world and is meant to give the art community a recognition on a grand scale. Iconcraft, which is 2,500m² in size, will feature contemporary works by Thais at a single place where they can showcase and sell their work. Notable artworks include:

Painted Columns From The Four Regions Of Thailand by master artists from the country's four regions, namely Songdej Thipthong, Meechai Suwansan, Anucha Oonchuang and Penthai Swangsri, who created exquisite paintings that highlight each individual region's unique identities, ways of life, customs and traditions.

• The Phi Ta Khon sculpture by Chira Chirapravati Na Ayudhya, a famous artist and designer, who highlighted the fun, creative and emotionally colourful character of art in Northeast Thailand.

Prateep Ton Phueng by Krittapong Jaemchan.

Nang Talung by National Artist Vartee Sapsin presents shadow puppetry in a new light.

• Preecha Thaothong, National Artist in visual art, painted exquisite images on four 16m-tall columns

• Thavorn Ko-Udomvit, a contemporary art master, contributed his sculpture in a commercial space for the first time. He created eight auspicious columns made spectacular with printing and silk screen techniques.

• The venue also showcases more than 400 photographs taken by Thailand's national artists.

- Sri Mahasmut boat museum transports you back to 18th century Siam, highlighting the glory and history of Thon Buri era through interactive elements. It runs until Jan 13. Bedazzled by 400-metre Xmas decoration at Iconsiam until Jan 15.

- Icon Cineconic, which consist of 14 cinemas on the sixth floor, will be the first technologically innovative Cineplex with the latest projection and sound equipment that provide visitors a new experience of watching movies. It will open next month.

That's not all, folks!

Shoppers will be entitled to promotions until Jan 20, 2019. All shoppers will be eligible for B20 million worth of prizes. For example, spending B5,000 can get you a special mobile phone case, spending of B20,000 qualifies for a Siam Gift Card worth B500, and B1,000,000 in spending earns you a Siam Gift Card worth B50,000. Many other promotions will be offered thanks to Iconsiam's partnership with multiple credit card service providers such as OneSiam KBank, KBank, SCB, Citi, GSB, Krungsri credit cards, as well as TrueYou and TrueMoney cards. g