All the PR hype about
Bangkok's new Siam Paragon-namely its sheer size-ignores the mall's most
distinctive feature: it's the first Thai shopping complex equipped with
fully integrated internet capabilities. To fully appreciate this, you'll
need to head to the third floor, where True Corporation-the brand-conscious
Thai telecoms company responsible for Paragon's unsunbg high-techness-has
launched its innovative concept store called True Urban Park (66-2/610-8888)
Built for a cool US$1 million, the sleek, six-zone lifestyle statement
is attracting image-conscious hipsters who demand more from an internet
café than uncomfortable chairs and bad coffee. At "True Speed,"
internet users perch ergonomically in front of flat-screen monitors to
enjoy the fastest connection speeds available in this broadband-challenged
country. Ambient tunes played by the resident DJ at "Books and Music"
waft throughout the store. At "Stuff," the limited-edition mobile
phones and assorted gadgets are displayed like design objects, while customers
plug in at the "iPod Lounge" and listen under individual plastic
sound domes suspended above comfy chairs and circular tables. Hungry?
"Food" dispenses coffee and snacks, and inimalist floral arrangements
are for sale in the "Love" zone-but there's no charge for gazing
at the rotating black and red flip dots that spell out "True"
on a massive billboard at the front of the store. -Jennifer Gampell.
© 2006Jennifer Gampell