Landscape of the Mind

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INTRODUCTION Orderliness is based on rules. But order is based on the

In balance, P Landscape considers the human as nature the

nature of nature. Psychological order is based on rules.

essence in the design of the landscape, uniquely working

Physical order is based on the nature of nature. In physical

with the living and ever changing form of nature as the

order, every grain of sand is the right size, the right colour, the

core material in the production of landscape architecture.

right place. The right weight. One of each. There is nothing

Through the understanding of the nature of nature, allowing

you can refuse in the way of physical order. – Louis Kahn 1

the qualities of seasons, light (and in turn shadow), local site conditions and ecology to exist, unhampered and capture

The philosophy of P Landscape is embedded in the

these into the design of spaces.

relationship between humans as nature and humans in nature. The exploration of this complex connection threads

The founder of the practice, Wannaporn Pui Phornprapha,

through the past twenty years of this landscape architecture

makes reference to the act of ‘unconscious design’,


consideration in design of how unconscious action and thought is transferred into the tangible and physical.

Louis Kahn speaks about the connection of architecture to

The mode in which we inhabit spaces, the patterns of

landscape. The making of places within nature. The concern

unconscious daily rituals of resting, eating and engaging (or

of architecture being a landscape event.2 The link between

disengaging) are a definable component in making place.

the order of nature and the act of superimposing order in

We are configured with nature.

design, in making places. The mind of the architect is inextricably linked to landscape.

This configurative pattern, termed as biophilia, suggests that there is an indelible link between humans and our

In the work of P Landscape, the human in nature needs

emotional response to nature. The genetic code of the

orderliness, through formal architectural devices such

human predisposes one towards the emotional need to ally

as geometry, line, walls and materiality to define and

or be within the natural world. This correlation is drawn out

regulate space. To make places comprehendible, to give

in Thai poetry where recalling experiences and memory of

psychological order.

place is strongly associated with references to nature and landscape.4 Both this phenomenological relationship and

This order imposes itself through design in the form of

the application to localised references is translated into

mathematical geometry, the act of human intervention. The

the practices unique interpretation of the landscape, where

composition suggests hierarchy and gives us the ability to

the garden is considered for its meditative or connected

read space. Geometry implies precision and perfection,

quality, how the ritualistic daily lighting of candles reflects

exactness. Control. How through a series of rhythmic steps

Thai devotion and tradition or the pattern making in sand

we can unconsciously move between places. The wall is the

beds reflect this human need to be in nature, to respond and

physical and visual barrier that forms space and gives the

shape it.

infinite a human scale. The wall can be protection, create sanctuary, separation and places within spaces.

P Landscape has always valued that within the practice of landscape architecture the ephermeral and the maturing of

Spaces reflect the culture of their place. For centuries,

its work is one the most meaningful elements. The delight in

materials and craft, the act of making is the manifestation

the nature of nature, to germinate, grow, evolve intensifies

of history and traditions. Today, where sophisticated

the experience of the design process. The transience of

fabrication techniques prevail, these can be applied to

beauty as discussed by German-Swiss poet Hermann

replicate and produce contemporary references in contrast

Hesse, becomes an important consideration in how the

to localised, practiced techniques over generations and

places in their work are experienced seasons and years

embody particular meanings. The contrast between the

after completion and through the changes of natures own

traditional porcelain and stoneware ceramic mosaics used

evolutionary patterns.5 Light and the rhythmic environment

as ornament,3 to that of the modern, machined precision

are used to capture this contrast over time. Orientation of

of the granite wall panels and screens referencing the

places, architectural elements employing geometry and line

jasmine flower used in garland making for Thai offerings.

in walls and steps, provide a daily regulation of the nature of

The merging of landscape elements and the artefact.

nature and the continual changes to the landscape.



These concerns entangle through articulate consideration in

In the new century, the mode of thinking about place and the

the work of the practice. A sensitivity to the delights of nature,

important historical associations regarding the role of nature

the changing patterns of vegetation combined with the

are being reshaped. This complexity of modern urban life

reflection of craft and geometry placed in the infinite horizon.

has fuelled the rise of tourism, not purely in the discovery of

The beauty in the degradation of material and changes over

new places, but to seek escape and respite from this frenetic

time, the ageing of simple ceramic tiles creating a pattern on

pace. This need to retreat has given rise to the value of these

a roofline. The indelible link between architecture and nature.

places to escape, the resort, the sanctuary, whether isolated away from or contained within the city.

While the projects completed by the practice span across Asia and the Middle East, the meaning and significance

The attention of the work of P Landscape in this hospitality

for the Thai place, the origin and base of the practice in

sector is grounded in the basis for our increasing desire to

Bangkok is of central importance. It is through a distinct

reconnect with who we are within the landscape, with place.

lens of considering the meaning of one’s own place, namely

This genetic code of our need to be allied with nature, in

Thailand, which then gives meaning to the interpretations

whatever context, overrides the demands of life to bring us

of other contexts and most valuably, the creation of new

back to the landscape, to our identity in place. The human

places. Historically, Bangkok was formed in a patchwork of

reconnecting to nature.

yarns. When Bangkok people designate an area distinctive through a certain function or community, it is described as

In the projects presented, the practice’s intuitive regard for

a yarn or a particular place. These were often diverse and

this relationship of us to nature gives an opportunity to then

varied, characterised by particular features and landscape.

rethink historical traditions, embrace new interpretations in

Bangkokians would recognise and recall their own place, or

craft and decoration, to appropriate itself in this new time,

yarn, through these distinctive features rather than an entire

where the notions of place are being remade but all with the

visual scheme.6

clear regard of this fundamental constant of the importance of landscape and nature in their realisation.

This deeply engrained sense of identity within distinctive places, memory and experience of the past and the place of

Starting as one individual Khun Pui, her deeply profound

home and of family is used to recreate values and meanings

sensibility to the landscape and this meaning of place,

within the context of each project. How a sanctuary, a place

making places for us to belong, to rejuvenate has filtered

for peacefulness and reflection can be the courtyard of a

through this beginning and embedded itself in the succession

childhood home but in todays experience can be adapted to

of directors and staff who now contribute to the practice of P

become the retreat, the place to recharge and connect back

Landscape. This has grown into a large commercial practice

to nature.

now with over 140 staff in offices in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. This receptiveness to nature, understanding through

The rapid urbanisation of Asia cities has meant a

memory and this ‘unconscious design’ balances the delicate

reconsideration of place making in the past decades.

act in any architectural endeavor of respecting the existing

Since the early 1980’s the value of tourism to the Thai

place while creating new responses and reinterpretations.

economy surpassed that from agriculture, marking a new transformative change to the composition of cities and

The landscape of the mind of the practice’s founder and then

towns. The promotion of the identity of the krung (the city)

over the years, the collective minds that is the practice of

as a single hierarchical urban structure needed to transform

P Landscape within this book, is not as we first understand

into a multi-layered and complex system. The challenges

the places of the mind or imagination of one individual, but

of preserving the chumchom (local communities) against

a profound exploration in place making. The weaving of the

the prevailing urban development ideologies and the sheer

order in nature and the orderliness inherent in the design of


rate of change is transforming these places. The change

new places creates landscapes that fundamentally connect

of urban places has driven the demand for considering the

all our imaginations and the innate need to be within nature.

orderliness in contrast to the often chaotic and unregulated changes to the nature of cities. The human is more and more in an urbanised nature.

Peter Fisher Editor




The ornamentation of the wall can reflect culture and patterns of nature. The height and materiality of the wall can screen rather than create a complete separation. By allowing glimpses of what is beyond the wall through a level of transparency, this creates as sense of anticipation, mystery, and suspense. Walls play with the human emotion of curiosity; evoking a sense of adventure and discovery through a sequence of spaces set out from beginning, middle to end in a series of courtyards.




TRIDENT, GURGAON Gurgaon, India 2001-2006

In creating the landscape for the Trident Gurgaon, P Landscape

Monochromatic granite pavers surround a sleek, central

created a contemporary landscape inspired by the historic idea

water feature composed of black granite. This leads to the

the ‘universal garden’. The essence of the landscape design

main guest entry, carved into the majestic white walls of this

is a series of connected and enclosed courtyards, leading

first enclosure.

visitors from the chaotic urban surroundings into progressively more peaceful and contemplative spaces.

The second enclosure is a large reflective pool surrounded by sculpted grass berms as a soft wall with mature trees in

Located within the Gurgaon’s suburban area, busy roads

the background and encourages guests to contemplate the

surround the hotel, so the wall is created to give both visual

reflection of the sky and the Mughal-inspired architecture.

and physical separation from the noise and bustle of the city. Within the confines of the wall, every aspect of the

The landscaped courtyards continue throughout the hotel,

landscape is controlled and sculpted, forming an enclosed

leading guests through a series of intimate green spaces

private sanctuary.

defined by lush palm trees and small bubbling fountains enclosed by the exterior walls of the architecture.

The series of courtyards create a strong sequential entry into the project, with each space having its own unique character.

This sequence of courts concludes at the main inner

Water is an essential element by enhancing the hotels

courtyard. Here, guest rooms overlook a grand and serene

tranquil atmosphere with sound and movement.

reflective pond, which cascades down into the swimming pool. This distinction in levels and the tall cascade wall

Four different strategies of enclosure were employed to

creates privacy between the pool and the larger public space

define each space and courtyard, through utilising physical

of the courtyard. In the evening, the decorative lanterns and

walls, landforms, architecture and water cascades. This

fire torches provide a sense of warmth and define the scale

begins at the hotel arrival area, where the design is

of the courtyard into a more intimate experience.

characterised by clean, simple and balanced geometry.



Left Geometric and sculptural landforms act as a wall creating separation from the surrounding city.

Left Refined indentations of the water cascade provide a soothing sound, creating a more dynamic space.


In our urban hotel projects the urban horizon is often like the castellated wall of a fortress. Situating swimming pools on upper floors of the building creates landscapes that give views above and beyond the city skyline that connect with the true horizon of the land.


The horizon is an idea about where land meets the sky and in an urban context, the horizon is a design device. The horizon becomes a line of reflection to create a fantasy landscape, which can reflect an abstract datum that shimmers like a mirage with the slightest breeze.


Left Dense masses of Wedelia trilobata help control erosion.

Right Public facilities are perched high on the hillside above dense tree plantings that visually conceal the steep terrain.

Right Pebble lights add a contemporary pop element to the exterior areas. Geometric forms are prevalent throughout, using a sense of contemporary minimalism to match the architecture style.





Located at the centre of Bangkok’s central business

articulated building façade. Interpretive graphic design is

district, Park Ventures Ecoplex is an urban development

used throughout the landscape in the form of sculpture,

project that uses an innovative approach to public space

bike racks, engraved motivational messages on the

design, integrating activity, connectivity and sustainability.

stairs and walkways and digital displays of real-time

The site hosts a mixed-use 34-storey complex, consisting

air temperature and quality to heighten environmental

of offices, retail and a luxury hotel, the Okura Prestige


Bangkok. The selection of tall Araucaria heterophylla trees provides The urban park concept in the project was inspired by the

a visually appealing and unique identity to the site. The

idea of bringing nature back to the city. The project has

conical shape of the trees also speaks to the geometry

been the first in Thailand to receive the US Green Building

of the building façade. The open configuration of pines

Council’s LEED Platinum status. The design focuses on

combined with a contemporary palette of regionally

communicating the message that urban sustainability

sourced materials and under storey planting generates a

can be achieved through small-scale interventions of well

unique visual character to the project. Finally, the pines

planned open spaces, in addition to serving as a ‘green

also serve as an effective cooling device, creating a more

lung’ at one of Bangkok’s most congested intersections.

hospitable green space in the heart of Bangkok.

The public square integrates access to Wireless Road,

On the upper floors, the Victor Club terrace provides an

a tree-lined arterial leading to Lumpini Park, one of

intimate garden venue for meetings, and social events.

Bangkok’s largest public parks and green areas, in an

The cantilever pool deck of the Okura Prestige Bangkok,

attempt to elongate and strengthen this green corridor.

one of the first Japanese luxury brands in Thailand, boasts

The landscape design emphasises clean, bold and

a unique structural design, which allows the pool to hang

dynamic geometry while drawing inspiration from the

high above the city and offer majestic views.


Right A large elliptical shaped reflecting pond provides a tranquil environment for the reception and all day dining. Water lilies and a statue of Ganesha create a warm and inviting space.




PARK HYATT BANGKOK Bangkok, Thailand 2014-2017

Located within the centre of the city, the Park Hyatt Bangkok

located within the tower’s interstitial spaces, providing

is a stylish new urban hotel concept. Beginning at a discreet

a variety of options to unwind and enjoy views of skyline.

arrival court, the landscape progresses upwards through

A staircase and large water cascade lead guests down to

a series of intimate terraces, large pool deck and rooftop

the 9th floor amenity and pool terrace area.

lounge, creating a perfect harmony with the complex and iconic architecture of the hotel tower. Due to the location on

The amenity floor is divided into a series of intimate outdoor

one of the busiest intersections in Bangkok, the landscape

rooms, connected by narrow winding pathways shaded by

focuses on the idea of the urban sanctuary, creating a warm,

black bamboo, creating the impression for guests of walking

relaxing retreat from the chaotic city.

in a garden, while at the same time creating privacy between the pool and dining areas. To enhance the separation and

The ground floor arrival area is conveniently tucked away

the garden setting, the landscape steps into different levels,

from the main road and the guest’s attention is centered on

affording guests in seated areas majestic views over the

a water cascade wall, which provides a gentle and calming

city, while screening views towards the swimming area.

remedy to the sounds of traffic outside. P Landscape

The unique shape of the infinity edge swimming pool was

worked closely with the architects and interior designers,

developed as a response to the dynamic forms of the

in designing a landscape that appears as an extension of

architecture as well as to accommodate a large sun lounge

the building itself. This can be seen in the complex granite-


paving pattern, which is an interpretation of the interior flooring, and the water cascade that extends downwards

Finally, on the 34th to 36th floors, P Landscape helped

from the ceiling.

to create a sequence of intimate and cozy terraces for the penthouse bar and restaurant, contrasting the sleek

The main lobby and reception area is located on the 10th

contemporary architecture with antique Thai planters and

floor, connected to a series of outdoor terraces and lounges

potted plants.


Right The shape of the amphitheater draws inspiration from the form of folded banana leaves. It serves as a multifunctional space hosting lectures, film screenings and other special events.





Above A glass enclosure is created around the reception lobby from which views extend to a striking blue reflecting pond, the central feature of the hotel grounds.


Above Wedelia trilobata forms a lush green wall.



Above The dark colour of the pool creates a mirror effect on the water’s surface. Reflections change throughout the day and night, forming different perceptions of the space.



GARDEN OF THE MIND International Garden Exhibition Berlin, Germany 2014-2017

The Garden of the Mind explores the idea of representation

The mirrors on the north side of the garden are used to

and interpretation of Thai contemporary landscapes. Taking

expand imagination by creating an illusion of a much larger

the concept of the khao mo, the Thai miniature garden, the

garden and an infinite plane of reflecting islands floating in

landscape design is inspired by the geological processes

a body of water. The reflected landscape allows visitors to

that have formed the iconic islands of southern Thailand.

become part of the image and memory of the Garden of the

These are monuments to time and place. They are a product

Mind, and is a source of fun and novelty.

of a process that has left no two alike – they are individuals. The collection of these individuals represents society and

Traditionally, the Thai courtyard garden is a place for quiet

the way in which individuals rely upon—and identify with—

contemplation and stillness and in a contemporary sense the

each other.

garden achieves this through the illusion of a plane of static sculptures. In the Garden of the Mind, the design seeks to

The garden is an expression of Thailand’s culture of

expand the imagination of landscape by using scale, material

decoration that frequently touches on ideas of fantasy and

and arrangement of objects.

mystery. Visitors to the garden are encouraged to reflect upon ideas The design of the garden encourages curiosity and

of the self, time and the nature of beauty in the abstract.

interaction by visitors. The arrival courtyard initially appears

The experience is defined by different levels of enclosure;

simple, until a shimmer of light coming from a long water

openings that frame glimpses to another space and reality;

feature that connects to the main garden catches the eye,

reflective surfaces that portray the image of the unseen

representative of how Thailand is often experienced: through

landscape beyond; all leading to a space containing a

unexpected moments of wonder and delight. As visitors

central cluster of shimmering landforms floating upon a still

progress through the garden, they encounter small windows

body of water. It is in the heart of the garden that the visitor is

into the main landscape, playing a game of hide and reveal

invited to linger and gaze upon the sculptural elements and

until they finally arrive at the centre.

the reflected surreal world.




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