This look at how ONE.SIX Development is bringing a new perspective to Thailand real estate appears in the latest issue of Dot Property Magazine. Click here to read it.
Perception isn’t always reality when it comes to real estate. Computer-generated images and lavish showrooms are standard operating procedure these days. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does present developers with a challenge.
How do you convey an experience when it doesn’t exist? By definition, a project is just some walls, windows, concrete and other building materials. There is nothing inherently special about it. A home doesn’t become a home until it can be experienced. Ultimately, this is what drives ONE.SIX Development.
“Experience is at the core of real estate. When it comes to developing a project, it is important to bring life, and the intangibles to the project, not only the tangibles. A home should be personal. It should move you,” Khun Tanyatip (Tanya) Chearavanont, CEO and Founder ONE.SIX Development, states.
While people aren’t necessarily moved by buildings or showrooms, the experience of the development’s story can make a lasting impression. Khun Tanya credits her aunt, Khun Thippaporn Ahriyavraromp, for teaching her the importance of having a unique story attached to a development.
“My aunt emphasized the importance of storytelling because this allows us to create something with heart. A development should be more than just a building,” Khun Tanya says. “Storytelling puts us in the shoes of those living in the project, it helps paints a bigger picture and allows us to build a better product for the end-users.”
As Chairman of the Board of Directors at Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Limited, Khun Thippaporn knows a thing or two about real estate. Her advice was invaluable as Khun Tanya and the team at ONE.SIX prepared to launch their first project, The Strand Thonglor.
Khun Tanya approached the project with a holistic mindset, centered around a live/work/play concept but was also aware the idea alone wasn’t enough. She wanted The Strand Thonglor to have mixed-use components, but more importantly wanted it to be a development with life and energy. ONE.SIX wasn’t going to be another quiet place where people arrive and head straight to their rooms.
However, the solution needed to have a purpose. Creating some spaces just for the hell of it wouldn’t make people want to gather there. After all, a story is no good if it is riddled with plot holes.
“To go back to storytelling, it was important that everything we do has a purpose. With The Strand Thonglor, we were committed to giving back to the neighborhood, as we took away a very important place for locals in Thonglor. We wanted The Strand to be a place where people come together. That is a crucial part of its story,” Khun Tanya explains. “This is why we included a commercial area and park at The Strand Thonglor that is open to everyone. We wanted to create a sense of community at The Strand, while still prioritizing the privacy and security of our residences.”
The story will have started well before people are hanging out here, laughing and sharing memories. It began with the vision of Khun Tanya and sharing The Strand Thonglor’s experience with others through the show units. Not as an abstract possibility, but something that reflects what people can actually expect.
“The term ‘minimal luxury’, a phrase we use to describe the project style, wasn’t a marketing gimmick. We designed our show units to be minimal with a subtle color palette and clean architectural lines to allow customers to envision their lives here, how they might want to design their unit and how they may want to live their lives at The Strand. A sales unit should not be a distraction for the customer from what they are purchasing, but a realistic reflection of what our project has to offer.” Khun Tanya notes.
Bringing a new perspective to Thailand real estate
ONE.SIX isn’t afraid to go against traditional norms. That can naturally ruffle a few feathers, especially in the real estate industry. Case in point, not everyone was on board with Khun Tanya’s desire to make The Strand Thonglor a pet friendly development.
“With The Strand Thonglor, it was important to balance everything. The vision, sellability, finances and the rest. An example of this is being a pet friendly project. This was important to us although it isn’t widely accepted in Thailand,” Khun Tanya recalls. “The key was to find a compromise. We made sure there were rules and regulations in place that would provide our non-pet owner residents peace of mind.”
Khun Tanya has a very clear vision as it relates to real estate but freely admits it may not be exactly what the market is comfortable with just yet. Finding common ground has helped ONE.SIX bring a new perspective to Thailand real estate that allows it to challenge what’s accepted without alienating the public.
“At first, I was adamant about sticking to my core beliefs. That being said, talking to the market softened my views. I want to push the boundaries of real estate, but I also need to find a compromise,” Khun Tanya details. “It is necessary to understand where the market is at and how it will adapt to changing preferences. The Strand Thonglor is a mix of our unique vision and what the market is asking for.”
In a city like Bangkok, where change is just about the only thing that stays the same, all developers are constantly needing to adapt.
“Competition in Bangkok is very hardcore. It actually forces all developers to level up constantly. There is no standing still or being willing to accept the status quo,” Khun Tanya points out.
Instead of trying to capture what’s now, ONE.SIX looks to create timeless homes and spaces that transcend any one moment. And while it is easy to get caught up in what is trendy, Khun Tanya focuses on tasteful design rather than trends in order for her projects to remain timeless.
“We want to build projects that will always be in demand. Our focus isn’t on quantity and that means we have the freedom to pursue our passions,” Khun Tanya says. “The Strand Thonglor is our first project. Our next one might be something completely different in terms of product. However, it will retain our fundamental goal—to bring the market a development that will always be sought after, irregardless of how many years have gone by.”
Seeing things differently
Khun Tanya’s journey in real estate has taken her around the world. From studying architecture design and art history in the United States to working with Ogilvy & Mathers NY, Sotheby’s and Hongkong Land, her own experiences have shaped the core beliefs of ONE.SIX Development.
“Being raised in many different places allowed me to see and experience a wide range of developments in Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, New York and elsewhere,” Khun Tanya points out. “I was able to see a lot of interesting, curated projects and learn what makes them special. Most people don’t notice the thought that goes into this. Understanding how to create that experience was invaluable.”
She continues, “I was able to witness their strengths and weaknesses firsthand and compare it to what’s available in Bangkok. I hope this allows me to see a more holistic industry.”
Over the years, Khun Tanya had several great mentors who taught her a lot about real estate. However, it was her family that helped kindle a passion for property and brought her vision to Bangkok.
“My mother always took me to look at open houses growing up. Whenever there was a new development, we would visit it. This experience helped me understand the luxury segment,” Khun Tanya says. “While in Hong Kong back in 2015, my aunt asked me to return to Bangkok to work with her for the summer. I ended up staying until today.”
The importance of women in real estate
Women play an important role when it comes to real estate in Thailand. There are many prominent developers with women in leadership positions. They are also active property buyers.
“Women play a big role in the buying process, especially when it comes to the actual decision making,” Khun Tanya notes. “We’ve noticed that it is our female customers who go on to explain the story and product to their husbands or partners. And thus ultimately leading to the purchase. They are the ones who appreciate and see the storytelling and experiences come to life.
The insights of women are also extremely important for project development. As has been the case in other industries, having more perspectives allows you to create better, more inclusive products.
“As a woman, I know about the inner workings of the home quite intimately. It allows me to laser-focus on creating truly functional and usable spaces whether it is to cook, to spend time with family, or to do my make-up. Details as small as the placement or height of an outlet can be a gamechanger. These insights let us design better,” Khun Tanya states.
Experiences helped shape Khun Tanya’s real estate vision, and she encourages women interested in the industry to tap into these as well.
“The real estate industry should be very intuitive, after all, we do spend a lot of our time in a home. One piece of advice I can share is that experiences to different types of projects and products matter. Apart from that, be observant of the details, and constantly be comparing pros and cons of one product to another. In Thailand, we have a number of successful female real estate agents who possess a keen eye and interest in the industry. These traits are what developers are looking for as well,” Khun Tanya shares.