Editor's Pick: Jim Thompson Home Décor
Often dubbed as the Asian Ralph Lauren, Jim Thompson’s products are instant smash hits in a market overflowing with sophisticated luxury home furnishing. Being both unique and classic at the same time, without a doubt is the secret to the Jim Thompson. Nothing looks like it and it never seems to go out of style.
Jim Thompson is a brand of exquisite and luxurious fabrics and wallpapers inspired by the legacy of James H. W. Thompson, an American architect and art collection born in 1906. Jim loved hand-woven Thai silk and dedicated his life to organizing a network of artisans who could produce silk products following their ancestral methods with the aid of new techniques. In 1950 he established The Thai Silk Company, that started exporting their products to Europe and America, creating a luxury craft industry that benefited thousands of families.
The debonair Jim Thompson studied architecture in Princeton, collected art and served in World War II with the intelligence services. After the war, he stayed on in Bangkok and became fascinated with the craft of handwoven silk, which was in decline due to competition from synthetics. He worked with local weavers, introduced new techniques and founded the Thai Silk Company in 1950. Through high-flying contacts such as Vogue editor Edna Woolman Chase, he introduced Thai silk to the United States and Europe. The original Broadway hit musical The King and I featured his fabrics.
In the study of the Jim Thompson House & Museum in Bangkok, just above Thompson’s old desk, are two separate horoscopes, foretold and framed, hanging on the wall. One of them predicts good luck in 1959, the year Thompson chose to move into this house, retired from the U.S. Army and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), having already relocated to Bangkok and gotten rich revitalizing the Thai silk industry. The other horoscope included in the frame predicts bad luck at the age of 61 for he who was born in the Year of the Horse. Thompson had been born in the Year of the Horse, and in 1967, at the age of 61, he went for a walk in the woods of the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia and never came back. Not even his remains have ever been found.
Did you know? Jim Thompson was awarded the Order of the White Elephant. A Thai award given since 1861 to foreigners who have been extraordinarily meaningful to the Thai community.
Jim Thompson the legendary Thai-silk brand is exceptional among luxury textile houses today for their commitment to an entirely in-house silk manufacturing process. By having their own silk farms, mills design studio and research & development operations, the company is able to fully integrate all the processes and expertise needed in textile production, enabling it to create unique fabrics at uncompromising standards of quality, performance and beauty.
As the world's largest producer of hand-woven fabrics, Jim Thompson is especially known for its unique blend of eastern (Thai) tradition and heritage with western contemporary designs based on traditional Thai symbols and patterns. From its origin in 1950 as a project to revitalize the art of silk weaving, Jim Thompson Fabrics now has evolved into a maker of complete breadth of premium textiles for interior decoration.
Their wallpaper collection has diverse ranges of wallcoverings for home interiors crossing all boundaries, styles and textures. Dialogues such as those between West and East, culture and nature, domesticity and wildness, the past and present and darkness and colours are omnipresent in the creative process, because they come directly from Jim Thompson’s identity and continuously accompany its history.
The latest range of Jim Thompson furniture, designed by Paris architect Ed Tuttle (renown for The Aman resorts in Phuket), features a new fabric, Rice, a handwoven silk blend with an interesting texture.
Of course, Jim Thompson fabrics already adorn top hotels around the world. Tuttle has used them in the refurbishment of the opulent Park Hyatt Vendôme in Paris, upholstering armchairs and cushions in custom-made silk.
The fabrics also appear at the Corinthia, the Berkeley and the Dorchester in London, Le Gray in Beirut, the Nobu Ryokan in Malibu, the Mandarin Oriental in Doha and the Palace Hotel in Tokyo. In Hawaii, the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i yoga cliffside studio features walls upholstered in Thompson silk (and spectacular yoga hammocks).
The complete furniture collection offers everything from handsome armchairs, to abstract sofas and semi-precious inlaid stone mosaic tables, taking inspiration from the stylish, minimal and unexpected silhouettes Tuttle is famed for in his architecture and interiors.