From 1887 to 1954, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia existed as a single colony of France known as French Indochina. The colony served to provide not only for itself, but also for the motherland that was forced upon it. State monopolies were gradually cooked up for certain products. Alcohol, one product that French Indochina supplied to its domestic and international market, was included and eventually carefully managed. Societe Francaise des Distilleries de l’Indochine (SFDI), a French Corporation, stepped in to help the government manage this. In the time of its existence, SFDI’s presence was not limited to French Indochina. In fact, it also established an office in Siam, right in House No. 1 of historic Bangrak.
SFDI’s chosen location in House No. 1 is of no surprise. The European community had established itself in Bangrak area with Bangkok’s first paved road, the Embassy of France, the Grand Postal Office, Bangkok’s first customs house, and many other institutions required for business near the turn of the century.
The House No. 1 building was designed of neoclassical architecture, clearly evident in its front pediment. Built in the early 1900s, the two-storey structure was constructed with masonry and supported by its load-bearing walls. The diamond-shaped tiles of its hipped roof are reminiscent of the style of its time. In 2012 to 2016, Crown Property Bureau saved the building from dereliction. Due to its architecture rarity, House No. 1 has been listed by the Department of Find Arts as an ancient monument. House No.1 is not open to the public.