Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thailand's scintillating dimensional signage

Organizing Southeast Asia's movie theaters into distinct architectural categories has become a key component of this project. The numerous categories to define lead to an even richer number of subcategories to delve into. A more difficult task is trying to get the general public, to say nothing of those in the architectural field, to accept these categories as legit.

Some of the more obvious categories can be broken down by era, region or country. At its most specific, a single architect might be responsible for a certain look. But no matter which view one chooses to take, each characteristic is fixed in time and geography, and belies a greater cultural influence.

Although by no means exclusive to Thailand, rooftop dimensional signage was almost universal on Thai stand-alone movie theaters built between the 1930's and 1980's. No conversation about Thai theater architecture from this era would be complete without its mention. Decorative fonts were combined with neon-lit outlining to create what was often the most attractive signage around. This eye-catching detail, usually mounted on the theater's roof, is completely absent from Burmese cinemas. In neighboring Laos, however, it did occasionally occur.

So in homage to this nearly-lost art, one of the boldest signatures in movie theater architecture out there, here's a series of dimensional signs from Thailand.


The Phaholtothin Rama (streetside signage) - Bangkok

The Phaholyothin Rama - Bangkok

The Somdet Theater - Somdet, Kalasin

The Sri Nakorn Phapayon - Hang Chat, Lampang

The Malai Rama - Lopburi

The Nakorn Suwan Rama - Nakorn Suwan

The Pua Rama - Pua, Nan

The Taphan Hin Rama - Taphan Hin, Pichit

The Chalerm Rath - Udonthani

The Ubol Phapayon - Ubol Ratchathani

The Sri Saket Rama - Sri Saket

The Amarin Rama - Suwan Khalok, Sukhothai

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