Our mansion is steeped in history, the beginnings of which date back to 1923. At that time, Bangkok had an influx of Italian artists arriving to work under the commission of King Rama V. Famous artists such as Galileo Chini and Carlo Rigoli worked on projects all around the city. Praya Chollabhumipanish – a noble of the Royal Court Custom Department – assigned to design and build the mansion, was greatly influenced by these Italian artists. The original building called “Baan Bang Yee Khan” is typical of the Paladio architecture of this period. Located right on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, its position was ideal as an observation point for the owner’s custom duty as well as his home.
Praya Chollabhumipanish, his wife and their 10 children had many happy years in the mansion. In 1946, when the main means of transportation changed from waterways to roads, the family moved to the Sukhumvit area, on the other side of the river. The house’s ownership was then transferred to the Foundation for Muslim Community and it was turned into the Rachakarun School.
From being a house of a noble family to a school for children, “Baan Bang Yee Khan” still stood to offer warmth to the students, teachers and boarders without religious distinction. The school operated until 1978 when it closed due to financial difficulties. Five years later, the building became the Indara Vocational school until 1996.
After a decade falling into decay, the old Paladio attracted the attention of Assistant Professor Wichai Pitakvorrarat who had been looking at it from across the river for a long time. Convinced of its value, Khun Wichai teamed up with his wife to restore and renovate the building, in spite of the heavy cost of this enterprise. The flood damages as well as the transportation issues did not stop Khun Wichai; he believed in the importance of conservation and thoroughly used original materials and craftsmanship to finally reinstate the house’s former glory. ‘Praya Palazzo’ was brought back to life in 2009.
Praya Palazzo first opened its restaurant, which has received many praises among the Bangkok community since, and 2011 saw the first guests check in at the residence.