KASEMTHAM SORNSONG & TIRAWAN SONGSAWAT
A WELL-VERSED RETREAT
When Kasemtham Sornsong first conceived The Library, situated on the Thai island of Koh Samui, he envisioned a hotel that invites one to read quietly while absorbing volumes of unmatched luxury. The result is a literary and literal wonder.
“When guests leave here, I want them to feel that they have just left a magical place full of stories, ” says Kasemtham Sornsong, the Thai landowner behind in The Library, a seamless example of how design can tastefully merge with comfort, quality and the timeless ...
“When guests leave here, I want them to feel that they have just left a magical place full of stories.”
... philosophy of respecting nature. Set in the heart of Chaweng Beach on the island of Koh Samui, The Library is stripped of bells and whistles and instead uses the time-honored book as its core theme. The result is a concept so simple one wonders why it hadn’t been done before. Carefully executed by Sornsong, the resort—progressive in design yet straightforward in concept—is also inextricably linked to the surrounding scenery. It’s a testament to Sornsong’s adoration of the island, his native home. Fittingly, each page of the hotel’s story is deeply rooted in his reverence for Samui life and landscape. Just 26 years old when The Library was launched, Sornsong realized his dream with the help of Tirawan Songsawat, whom he met in Bangkok’s Jatujak market. “Tirawan and I wanted to produce something where the story itself was at the root of the concept,” explains Sornsong of the hotel’s uncomplicated design and principles. Noticing the ubiquity of books in her travels, Songsawat suggested using them as the hotel’s creative foundation. For all the metaphors and imagery scattered throughout, the design philosophy remains straightforward. “Simple decor doesn’t mean there is no design,” asserts Songsawat, who based the blueprints of the 13 cabins, each housing a suite and a studio, on the one-dimensional sketches she produced as a child. “My inspiration was to realize the buildings from my childhood imagination and reduce everything to modern simplicity,” she says. “We wanted to give the guests something they don’t have at home: space to think and use their imagination.” Though it’s been more than four years since The Library opened its doors, the property’s concept and pioneering design are still unmatched in the area. For Sornsong, this project is his greatest accomplishment. “My ultimate goal is to retire when I’m about 45,” he explains, “so my dream is to have a project that stands the test of time, one that people will still be talking about in the future.” In other words, exactly what happens with a really good book.