A Chicago Space's Global Reach: The Golden Triangle Expands to Thailand
By GINNY VAN ALYEA
The Golden Triangle has sourced global treasures as well as inspiration for customers of its unique, River North Chicago space for 30 years. Founded in 1989 by Douglas Van Tress and Chauwarin Tuntisak, The Golden Triangle has built a reputation for itself as a nexus of antiques, design and art. Today it is one of Chicago’s largest home furnishing stores, housed in an 18,000 square foot former Chicago River warehouse featuring vignettes from various historical periods, such as the Raj, other Colonial periods, ancient China, and 19th Century Europe, as well as an indoor courtyard. As shoppers and designers move from space to space, their experience changes with the context.
Owners Van Tress and Tuntisak travel the globe to hand-pick items for the Chicago store, and they regularly visit Chiang Mai, where they have a warehouse for shipping things to Chicago, at least twice a year since the store’s founding. A misty mountainous city in northern Thailand, with colorful hill tribes housing hundreds of elaborate Buddhist temples, Chiang Mai is considered a destination for handicrafts and antiques. The city houses beautiful hotels, lively nightlife and epicurean delights, and as of this past fall, Golden Triangle Hang Dong.
According to Van Tress, “Golden Triangle Hang Dong is something new. We want to sell in Asia and even globally.”
The new store is a collection of three buildings, adjacent to the existing warehouse, which will become a marketplace and restaurant. The goal, says Van Tress, is to be a new kind of retail space, “A design village where the visitor can explore and see things juxtaposed...in a kind of spiritual experience.” He sees Golden Triangle Hang Dong as a means of bringing “the best of the past, history and human culture into modern design. We’re not a normal antique store.”
The Golden Triangle will celebrate its 30th anniversary on May 16, 2019 with an exclusive (and already waitlisted) event featuring many local artists and cultural supporters.