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Siam Center set for hi-tech reopening

Plain old window shopping is set to become a thing of the past, as Siam Center officially reopens tomorrow after a five-month closure for major renovations with an invigorating mix of technology, art, fashion and design featuring an interactive approach between shoppers and retailers.

About Bt1.8 billion has been spent to transform the mall into an "ideaopolis", a term coined by Chadatip Chutrakul, CEO of Siam Piwat - the company that owns the mall - to represent a convergence of inspiring ideas and experiences. With more than Bt70 million invested in interactive technology alone, more than 500 LED screens have been installed on the ceilings, walls, columns and even in the bathrooms. There is a "digital closet" where visitors can have "digital fittings" for clothing from the mall's boutique shops and promptly upload them to Siam Center's Instagram and Facebook pages.

"To mark our 40th anniversary, we spent 18 months in re-branding Siam Center in a novel concept that will keep the consumer excited and engaged, with a venue that undergoes constant change, from customised stores and exclusive products to interactive video walls," Chadatip said during a preview day event yesterday.

New York's SoHo area was one of the main inspirations behind the interior design created by the Thai firm Urban Design. Three hundred retail shops have spent about Bt800 million to make their one-of-a-kind concept stores. The third floor remains a hub of home-grown designers.

An exhibition of Pop Art at the mall showcases prints from iconic artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, together with a collection of clothing from the archives of fashion brands Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyaki.

Bt200 million has been spent on the preview day and the official opening. Among the celebrities in attendance at the star-studded preview day were US actor Adrien Brody, who won an Oscar for his role in "The Pianist", and Korean heartthrob Kim Bum from the Korean version of the "Boys Over Flowers (F4)" series, alongside Thai stars like Ken Phupoom and Davika Hoorne.

Scheduled to fly in from the US to take part in tomorrow night's opening are actors Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick from the teen drama TV series "Gossip Girl", and British singer Taio Cruz, known for the chart-topping hit "Dynamite".


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