BANGKOK — A concert hall, performing arts theatre, exhibition space and more are coming to Siam Square when a shuttered classic cinema reopens under a new owner.
Thai record label Love Is announced Tuesday afternoon they will turn Lido cinema, which closed its doors over six months ago after 50 years, into a multi-purpose cultural hub called “Lido Connect.”
The former Lido’s three cinemas – subdivided years ago from its glory days as a single-screen movie house – will be transformed into the new performance and exhibition spaces.
The good news: Despite the cynical rumors spinning around, there won’t be another department store.
“We’ll take advantage of the venue at the heart of the city and Lido’s long history. We will keep Lido as it is, but we will only change some interior parts to suit the new functions,” said Thep-ard Kawin-anan, president of Love Is Entertainment.
“We change Lido with respect towards the original cinema, under the concept Back to Original,” Thep-ard said.
“We intended to keep this treasure, this historically memorable cinema by opening a space of opportunity for everyone to show their talents and be inspired,” said music producer Nop Ponchamni of Love Is.
Wisanu Subsompon, vice president of Chulalongkorn University’s Property Management denied they are solely focused on profits.
“We were looking for a group that can ploi kong,” Wissanu said, using a casual Thai term for showing off talents.
The renovation is being done by PIA Interior, whose portfolio includes commercial properties and restaurants such as Greyhound Cafe, Central Lardprao and Lhong 1919.
According to architect Pruitsatorn Sakulthai, PIA design director, only a few changes will be made to what were the Lido 1 and Lido 2 theaters. The most-changed will be Lido 3, which will be converted into a theatre called “Black Box” to accommodate activities such as movie screenings, art performances or seminars.
Lido’s infamous toilets will be renovated as well, Pruitsatorn added.
Artists from different areas are already eyeing the space for use. One of the most prolific stage directors, Damkerng Thitapiyasak, said after putting on shows in cafes, restaurants and random shophouses, Lido Connect’s upcoming Black Box will be “perfect.”
Lido Connect is expected to open in May.
Concert venue Live House is not a part of the project despite appearing in concept art published last week.