Chances are if someone mentioned a shopping trip to Bangkok, you would think of a glitzy shopping mall like Paragon or Central Embassy which are very popular in the country, I know I did and that is why I was pleasantly surprised to learn about The Nightingale-Olympic department store, which is the coolest, most photogenic shopping destination in Bangkok. What makes it so special? The bewildering fact that it hasn’t had a makeover since it opened in the ’60. Yes, the Nightingale is the vampire version of stores.
Considering that Bangkok is one of the most tech-fluent cities in the world, The Nightingale-Olympic department store stands mighty odd in a city known for its fair share of uncanny stories. The Nightingale-Olympic building, with its brutalist concrete façade towering above most of the other shopping buildings in the vicinity, is an instantly recognizable sight and must have been a real wonder back in the 60s when it was unveiled as Bangkok’s first-ever department store, a time in which most of the housing around the suburban areas of the city had the ethnic touches of bamboo and natural green surroundings.
Nightingale-Olympic is definitely a living museum with most of the items on sale have passed through different eras and gone through the stages of brand new and trendy to outdated and eventually evolving into the ‘vintage- retro’ category of today. So if you are a vintage lover, this means that there are actually some treasures to be had, or at least gawped at. We can even just call it a chance to experience 60s shopping for those of us who missed the counterculture era by a few decades, or a trip down memory lane for the baby boomers and the generation Xs.
Either way, Nightingale-Olympic department store’s stance as a proud and rooted in the past establishment that has remained completely unbothered by the augmentation of modern technology makes it one of the world’s best sites to visit.
The series of photographs which were beautifully captured by photographer Phil Dunlop who has worked with various publications like Another and Kinfolk showcase the department store’s eye-catching interiors that have been trapped in a time warp.
Images: Phil Dunlop