Hubert Burda Media

98 Wireless: New York State of Mind

98 Wireless is a high-end real estate development raising the luxury bar to a level never before seen in the Thai capital.

When Sansiri Public Company Limited acquired a prime, two-rai piece of land on Bangkok’s Wireless Road back in 2010, it was a given that the building that would eventually rise here, would be something really special. 

Located on the city’s sought-after embassy row, flanked by the historic residence of the United States of America’s ambassador, the leafy boulevard is a venerable thoroughfare in the heart of Bangkok. The land price here is believed to be the most expensive in Thailand – comparable to Fifth Avenue in New York City – and it’s the last piece of freehold land in the area on which a condominium can be built.

The Sansiri team set out to do their homework. No less than five years of intense research followed – to study the world’s most significant luxury real estate trends.

Considering the unique location, a decision was made early on that a so-called “super high-end” luxury real estate development would be a fitting choice, answering to the needs of billionaires worldwide, as luxury residences of this kind are after all considered to be an investment, asset and essential part of a privileged lifestyle. It would also set a new benchmark for Southeast Asia, Sansiri decided.

“Our team meticulously studied the possibility of cooperating with the world’s most elite brands and sourcing only the best materials from all over the world to fulfill the most demanding of lifestyle needs today,” says president of Sansiri Srettha Thavasin. “We were determined to develop this flagship condominium on the premise that it must simply be the best, and that it must become a shining landmark in Thailand and Southeast Asia.”

Research has shown that when it comes to business and lifestyle, New York by far surpasses other global hubs. Considered by many to be the capital of the world, anything that happens in New York consequently becomes the benchmark. Additionally, according to The Global Luxury Residential Real Estate Report 2015, most of the luxury residences owned by the world’s millionaires and billionaires are located in New York (followed by London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC and Singapore, respectively).

With its position at the top when it comes to luxury residences – in terms of price, image and quality – Sansiri set its eyes firmly on New York for inspiration.

Using New York's Iconic Architecture as a Guide

Buyers in this top-end category of the real estate market in New York are spoilt for choice when it comes to design style and philosophy. Spectacular modern developments such as One 57, the Walker Tower and 432 Park Avenue offer bird’s eye views of the Big Apple – complemented by interior design, fixtures, fittings, services and amenities that represent only the very best of the best available worldwide.

Over the course of a week our small delegation from Thailand visited several of these prime properties, and at one of these locations, taking in the views from an 81-storey apartment at 432 Park Avenue, it’s easy to see the appeal of New York City. From this dizzying height, the views of the city below and beyond leave one breathless. Inside out, the development oozes prestige and a privileged lifestyle affordable only to the world’s most affluent.

For Sansiri though, the charm of the timeless Beaux-Arts school of design that is so evident from a stroll along New York’s City’s famous Fifth Avenue held special appeal. Beaux-Arts landmarks in New York City such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Frick Museum, Bergdorf Goodman department store, Ralph Lauren’s flagship store on Madison Avenue, Residence 15 Central Park West and the legendary Plaza Hotel recall a grand old era of architectural opulence.

Chasing a Timeless Design

The aim for Sansiri – apart from ensuring that 98 Wireless exceeds as being one of the best condominiums of its time and age – was to ensure that it will still look grand and stately even a century from now. The Beaux-Arts design style, or what is also called “American Renaissance”, provided the ideal inspiration.

French for “fine arts”, Beaux-Arts has come to define an architectural style that emerged roughly between 1880 and 1930, coinciding with similar movements of the time such as the Edwardian Era and Belle Epoque. During the Beaux-Arts era, New York City was aiming to elevate itself to the same level as other great cities in the world, such as London and Paris, competing with these established cities that had hundreds of years
of history.

Beaux-Arts provided American architects – trained in fact at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris – with the inspiration to validate New York’s stature as a rising global city. From banks and museums to libraries, theatres and other buildings took on the form of grand, opulent structures that brought high drama and monumental scale to the city through the elaborate use of colossal columns, arches, domes, projecting façades, pronounced cornices and decorative balustrades. 

Favoured materials were light-coloured stone and brick, especially marble, limestone, and granite. The widespread use of these light materials changed the colour of a city that had been dark with brick and brownstone.

It is this classic Beaux-Arts inspiration that Sansiri is drawing on for 98 Wireless to create a masterpiece unlike anything Bangkok has ever seen. The 25-storey condominium building, expected to be completed in the final quarter of the year, consists of 77 residences; from two-bedroom to penthouse units and the one-and-only super penthouse aptly named “The One”.

Supporting a Billionaire's Lifestyle 

All the elements of this super high-end luxury development combine to make the project iconic, elegant, timeless and fully capable of perfectly supporting a billionaire’s lifestyle. In order to achieve this, Sansiri has called on internationally acclaimed experts in their respective fields, such as architectural firm Design Worldwide Partnership (DWP) and project advisor Anne Carson Interiors to help define the project’s distinctive design concept.

For the first time, furniture brand Ralph Lauren Home is working with a real estate developer by selecting and decorating the entire project – from the elaborate central lobby featuring a grand crystal chandelier over one year in the making to all the central amenities and facilities, including the lobby lounge, business lounge and other specialised rooms such as the tearoom, a multi-function room and library.

With the tagline of “The Best Comes as Standard”, 98 Wireless is also drawing on the expertise of some of the finest craftsmen in the world, such is Hyde Park Mouldings in New York City, a team of expert craftsmen behind some of the world’s most beautiful buildings. Their work will by reflected by meticulous decoration in the 98 Wireless lobby, tearoom, business lounge, and all central areas.

Other international craftsmen being used are those installing the herringbone-design oak flooring and fitting the Crotch mahogany doors that were derived from the most precious part of mahogany wood, also imported from the United States. The Baldwin doorknobs, made from 100 percent bronze under a hi-tech process, are considered to be the best in quality and design.

Each room will feature Statuario marble, recognised as the best and most coveted in the world, with every slab of marble that was personally selected by the team from Sansiri directly at the marble quarry in Italy and resulting in the unique and distinctive patterns of the marble in every unit.

In addition, the project also selected the best electrical appliances and amenities from all over the world. This includes bathtubs by Kallista, sanitary ware by LeFroy Brooks, kitchen cabinets and appliances by SieMatic and Gaggenau and refrigerators and wine cellars by SubZero.

The contemporary yet classic structure of 98 Wireless is enveloped within a green spectacle – a landscape vision conceived and crafted by Thailand’s world-renowned landscape architectural design studio TROP. Other subcontractors being used for 98 Wireless include architectural lighting firm Inverse Lighting, Meinhardt for civil, structural, electrical, mechanical and sanitary engineering, and Palmer Acoustics for noise
management to ensure a superior living standard.

"It's About a Lifestyle, Not Real Estate"

But acquiring one of these prestigious properties is much more than getting your hands on prime Bangkok real estate – it’s also about maintaining a refined, discerning lifestyle. Sansiri has left no stone unturned to ensure this, from the Bentley limousine service that will be offered to residents, valet parking, underground parking that can accommodate 240 percent of the number of condominium units and special parking for supercars, and a dedicated lift for each unit.

For the first time in Thailand, world-renowned Quintessentially will also be at the beck and call of each resident – in the same way that the firm has been serving the British royal family – to ensure a truly luxurious and personalised lifestyle. 

It is a lifestyle we were fortunate to get a glimpse of during the week in New York City, from visiting some prime real estate projects and Beaux-Arts landmarks to dining in fine establishments like Jean George Restaurant, the Polo Bar and Le-Bernardin. And on completion of 98 Wireless, we will have Sansiri to thank for bringing such a delicious slice of the Big Apple to Bangkok.