On Location: Vientiane Laos

Wed September 24, 2014

A hop skip and a Southeast Asian puddle jump and we’re on location ready to explore what our next door neighbor has in store.  Check out our favorite finds for when in Laos…

setthapalacetitleA French colonial hotel with charm for days, this is the choice for luxe lodging in Vientiane.  On the exterior, this beautifully landscaped property with plantation shutters and multi-paned windows seems more like a large but cozy family estate than a hotel.  Inside, the Settha Palace continues the vibe in period style, with a solid wood staircase in the entry, upholstered rosewood furniture, well-appointed architectural details and moldings – and really great lighting.  A top-notch touch: they pick you up at the airport in a lovely old London cab car.



xangkhootitleA little French bistro down the street from Settha Palace offering up scrumpdiddlyicious cuisine.  The “Indochine” on a Woodboard with French Baguette is as memorable as it sounds.  And there’s no shortage of ice cold libations to rescue you from both brands of Laotian heat: the culinary (those chiles!) and the tropical.  


carolcassidytextilestitle“Lao Textiles is making the Land of a Million Elephants (Laos) a favorite destination for New York designers and London art collectors.”  Financial Times


American Carol Cassidy established her in-house textile production studio in Laos’ capital in 1990.  A trained weaver and artist herself, and an internationally recognized textile expert, she’s worked with the United Nations on several development programs and has spent her career teaching and helping to create sustainable employment for women throughout Africa and Southeast Asia.  She was among the first to showcase and institute commercial weaving and textile production in Laos.  Setting up shop in Vientiane has provided a permanent working platform for local Lao weavers and aided in preserving their traditional craft.  Authentic custom silk textiles are produced on looms of Cassidy’s own design for clients around the world.  The collaborative works of Carol Cassidy Textiles is represented in the Textile Museum in Washington, DC, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.


At the front door to Lao Textiles.  And her entourage says, “They’re closed. No one is going to answer. Let’s go.”

And she says, “They have to answer. I’m not leaving. I’ve traveled all this way…”

And we’re in.


A collection of works in the entry of their historic French Colonial home and studio in Vientiane.  Below, part of the production area on site.



Hanging dyed silks ready to spool into patterns before weaving.


brassbuddhahandletitleThese elegantly sculpted door handles in solid brass, poised in the Buddhist position symbolizing instruction, reason, and the flow of energy and information, are, in a word, lovely – with a patina that only gets better with age.  Although the principles of Feng-Shui might say otherwise, we see them in a bath, a commercial spa or yoga studio, or anywhere that leads to a Zen-like space. It’s one of our favorite finds, hands down.  SHOP CFMichaels.




Laos collage2




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On Location