For those relatively new to Phuket, ML Tri Devakul is not only one of Thailand’s most celebrated architects, he is responsible for developing many of this island’s most iconic resorts and upscale destinations which celebrate authentic Thai design elements.
“When I returned to live and work in Thailand after 20 years abroad it was at a time when many historical teak buildings and temples were being replaced by modern concrete structures. I was very fortunate to save many of these classic Thai heritage buildings, many I have integrated into resort and house designs.”
His early local work include Le Meridien Phuket, the Nai Harn at Rawai Beach, the Boathouse Phuket and his own estate, Villa Royale located at the top of the headline between Kata and Kata Noi beaches. All his buildings welcome open space and the beauty of nature.
“I studied architecture at Harvard University in the United States but spent much of my childhood in Washington DC where I attended the Washington National Cathedral, the second largest church in the United States. I was always impressed with the open grandeur of the interiors. I try to bring that sense of space to all of my buildings.”
In addition to designing more recent Phuket projects at Trisara and Mom Tri’s Villa Grand Cru on Kata Hill, he has supported local Phuket and visiting international artists by sponsoring gallery shows, literary and musical events including the annual Baan Kata Artsfest, when each year musicians from the Bangkok Symphony travel to Villa Royale to perform classical Western music and often the original compositions of his cousin, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Mom Tri also invites painters and sculptors to present their work around the lavish gardens at his estate.
Recently, he decided to focus WOK gallery kitchen, adjacent to his upscale Grand Cru property development on Kata hill overlooking Chalong Bay, as a venue for regular painting, sculpture and music events.
Mom Tri’s varied career has included the creation of the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok and an entire development devoted to learning north of Chiang Mai, the Traidhos Three Generation Community for Learning which includes the General Prem Tinsulanonda International School.
He was also the founder for Phuket’s world famous King’s Cup Regatta now celebrating 30 years of competitive racing events bringing yachters to the island from around the world.
During the more than four decades of creative construction of projects around the country, he has always found time to return to his retreat on Phuket at Villa Royale.
“My home at Villa Royale has always been a place to design and develop new ideas. Before the days of international tourism, I spent many wonderful hours watching young, sometimes naked hippies play on the beaches below. I turned these figures into wood and resin sculptures which can still be seen around my Phuket properties. I have always planned to devote my time to art when I retired from property and community development.”
Mom Tri’s current show, DISSOLUTION IN STEEL, continues his interest in the human form which reflects his talents as an architect searching for angles and as an artist fascinated by the human body.
“My earlier work celebrates the energy of youth while DISSOLUTION IN STEEL literally shows the human form disintegrating into parts. The work is made from the same steel used to make cars and sprayed with the same paint. These sculptures are three dimensional. I work mostly with the male figure as I can more easily create the structural form with muscles, tendons all stretching and dissolving into space.”
Mom Tri’s art, like his public buildings stimulate the senses with their beauty and originality. He is currently expanding his studio so he can work in a larger scale for future projects.
A visit to his opening, DISSOLUTION IN STEEL, will reveal the current stage of his many talents.
DISSOLUTION IN STEEL
15 Dec 2018 – 31 Jan 2019
Mom Tri’s Wok Gallery Kitchen
32/78 4 T. A. 83130,
Soi Muang Phuket, Rawai
Tel: 076 608 899