International Style with Tui Pranich
BY TOM AUSTIN
For his part, Atkins is looking forward to expanding the Tui Lifestyle brand. “Since we control all facets of the business, from manufacturing to distribution and design services, it’s kept at an affordable price point. In the military and in business, you have to change up the game, do things bigger and better. And correctly, too.
Tui Lifestyle’s Avenue design package at Atkins’ home
TUI PRANICH Unplugged
“I GREW UP IN THAILAND; my father worked for the UN and then the World Bank, and my mother, who’s very stylish, had been educated in Switzerland. In Thailand she’s a Lady, part of the royal family there, which sounds pretentious, but it was just a part of our life and never something I used to advance my own career. I went to school in Switzerland and Connecticut, then to Cornell for a degree in architecture. I’m the third generation in my family to go to Cornell. My grandfather was one of the fi rst Thais to ever leave Thailand for college in America.
“Growing up, I had tremendous exposure to different cultures and design all over the world, which has helped my own work. My background meant being around all kinds of people—Carolina Herrera, Bianca Jagger, Elizabeth Taylor. We traveled on Malcolm Forbes’ private jet, but none of it impressed me, which has helped me with clients, from the Hamptons to Paris. After Cornell I went to work in Palm Beach, eventually doing The Brazilian Court Hotel & Beach Club and private homes there. In 1990 I sold my own house to a former prime minister of Canada and came to Miami; Palm Beach is very small and I wanted to be where no one knew me. I bought a house on La Gorce Island, and one day Esther Percal came over with Shakira. She’d been looking at the house next door. My house wasn’t for sale, and I didn’t know who she was, but she wound up buying my place, so I moved. I enjoy renovating homes, and in nine years I bought, renovated and sold so many, selling all the furniture with each house and moving on to another property. That was a different era.
“But today I still have fun: For the opening of our showroom in the Design District, I brought in a Thai drag queen. And my last Halloween party got so big I moved it to the Ice Palace. The men dressed like women, the women like men. That was something to see.”
TOP: Tui Pranich
MIDDLE: Tui Lifestyle CEO Jason Atkins in the company’s Design District showroom
PHOTOGRAPHS BY GREG CLARK (ATKINS); KATE BENSON (PRANICH)