Hubert Burda Media

An artist in the boardroom: Kantaluk Hongladarom

Part business developer, part marketer, and part community nurturer, Kantaluk “Ying” Hongladarom is a multi-dimensional, modern woman.

Prestige interviewed Kantaluk for our April, 2015 cover profile. Here are our favourite images and excerpts.

She says she is a “control freak”, but she has an artistic side

 “I oversee marketing and PR, all of the product development – this means everything from concept to design to the development stage… I oversee the entire look of what we want KPN to be,” she says. An executive, then, she seems to be.

Then Prestige discovered that not only did she also have the last say on the décor and finishings of The Diplomat 39’s sales gallery, she created some of the art – artist is added to the list. “It’s great. It works well for me because I am actually a control freak,” she admits.

Her life philosophy jives with her career

“For me, I’ve been told many times that I lack emotions completely. I’m almost like Spock,” she leans back, laughing. “Because I make sense of everything that I do and every decision that I make, I take full responsibility for. This is luxury: the fact that you can say, I own me, and for me I incorporate everything [into my life] and it’s a fulfillment of me. How many people can say they are truly happy with what they do or who they are?”

It is all part of living a well-considered life, a philosophy that jives with her career philosophy to create housing developments that serve a purpose for the surrounding community, by finding niches and needs that are as yet unmet.

A childhood in a foreign land

At seven years old (and having attended only Thai school), her parents sent her to a small girls boarding school in Sydney, Australia, where she belonged to a distinct minority (back then, anyway) in a school of 200. It was, needless to say, a difficult time. A year later, the family bought a house and installed a nanny to look after the children, and her cousin joined soon after.

As the matriarch of her Australian household at eight years of age, quiet Ying was forced to quickly grow into her own skin and make sense of it all. “Part of it was that it was a coping mechanism because you tried to make sense of why people were so mean.  You try to make sense of the racism.  You try to make sense of the difference in culture and how people are so different. Instead of being judgmental, then you try to rationalise everything, to explain everything in your head. ‘Yes, they are mean to you because they actually don’t know anything, they don’t know any better.’ Once I made sense of things, I transformed into a very logical individual.”

Once again in the deep end of the pool

At 12, she insisted on her return to Bangkok, attending Ruamrudee International School, then leaving for a year at a finishing school in Switzerland, throwing herself again into a sink-or-swim situation. With her limited French, the French-speaking school proved yet another challenge. But this time around, the new Ying thrived and blossomed, and she went on to receive economics and business degrees from Boston University and Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration.

“You kind of get used to being shoved into a situation and surviving. That’s why I work very well under pressure. It was part of my background, growing up. You’re shoved into a situation, and then, you deal with it.”

Inspired by heritage

For The Diplomat 39, she took inspiration from one of the most influential Western architects in history, Andrea Palladio, whose structures have been designated Unesco World Heritage sites. “We wanted it to be livable, classic, with timeless elegance, because we don’t believe in building buildings that are trendy. We are thinking of buildings that are going to stand there for the next 40 or 50 years.”

Photography credits

Photography: Vatcharasith Wichyanrat

Stylist: Saranya Ariyakul

Make Artist: Kamol Chatrasen

Hair Stylist: Pornpan Chancholsamut

Venue: The Diplomat 39