Slow Hand Design in Milan & Bangkok

01.05.2011 13:15

Slow Hand Design
Slow Hand Design

Thailand, formerly called Siam, was once the epicenter of trade in Southeast Asia. As far back as 2000BC the civilization of Baan Chiang developed a domestic terracotta production for utensils. Traders at one time called the land that is now known as Thailand “Suvarnabhumi” (The Land of Gold). By means of trade networks cross-fertilization of culture took place. Throughout time diverse peoples have passed through the terra firma leaving historic chronicles that have developed and reflected the local crafts, knowledge, and technological skills. The spirit of cultural infusion continues today.

The Slow Hand Design exhibition has the intent to reveal the value of Thai product exports that still preserve their ancestral DNA inherited through many generations. One of the many points which is impressive of Thai design is that it considers the economy and ecology of the surrounding environment. Thai values are second to none and other countries could aspire to be as holistic.

The last 20 years boast a solid track record of exports that has allowed Thailand to establish itself as a producer of high-end items, many of which carry the names of foreign designer brands once packaged and sent overseas. There are also many local designer-manufacturers who maintain in-house R&D teams and have created their own strong identities.

The famous Thai smile greets you and is rooted in each product. Most products still receive the human touch through manually operated craftsmanship, often combined with modern production facilities, but far from soulless factory manufacturing. The local expertise of utilizing natural materials has been further developed over time and passed onto the next generation ready to acquire the knowledge.

Ayodhya creates accessories made from natural fibers found in abandoned local eco-systems. These by-products include water hyacinth, hemp and cotton fibers. Planet 2001 produces its products from local vines, weeds and plants, as well as jute, rattan, liana, and wood. B.P.S. Milcom’s Corner 43 brand has had international recognition for its industrial craft production of rattan designs.

Yothaka also uses water hyacinth and rattan, and has innovatively used Vetiver (a grass), Tan Lipao (a vine), and pineapple fibers. The material of Sonite is actually made up from button scraps, the plastic pieces mimicking the look of pearly shells. And, after inheriting his grandfather’s kite-making business, Korakot started his company with the aim of using the same bamboo and craft technology in lighting. Oggi has received numerous awards for its development of rice paddy husk furniture recognizing its eco material invention. Such creative thinkers that devise new and alternative applications are what make Thailand so unique.

Ango uses silk cocoons in its lighting symbolizing the balance of nature and form. The lights are fabricated by hand by means of renewable materials like mulberry tree bark and non-toxic hand-cast polymers, all utilizing bio-responsible production.

The people behind the creations should not go unmentioned. Artisans in suburban villages are part of the team at Ayodhaya. This approach maintains the survival of refined craftsmanship and sustainability of the community. The vividly colored exotic materials and rustic textures of Rapee Leela carpets are weaved by the hands of villagers from across the country. Dhanabodee’s design philosophy is influenced by the ethnic essence of the Lanna culture and combines this with contemporary forms and colors to match global trends. Stone&Steel fuses contradictive forms, materials and textures marrying design research to production development. Crafactor is yet another company where crafts meet technologies.

The underlying cultural context and abstraction is prevalent in Thai design and can be expressed through motifs, colors, materials, and curves. For example, traditional bamboo packaging inspires the weave seen in outdoor furniture, and the gold leaf placed on Bhuddha inspires a water basin for the bathroom.

Crafactor sums it up well, “whether the approach of design focuses more on technology or more on craftsmanship, the combination of both contexts must reflect a distinctive impact of crafts and technology on the products. With respect to Southeast Asian wisdom, local crafts techniques, high-technology, man-made, and organic materials are infused to create a new design expression that evokes human feelings.” Slow hand design is crafting its way into the future of cultural design DNA.

- An article from Trendease. View 85 images of Slow Hand Design here.

Go back

Your comments

Comment by Eggarat Wongcharit | 08.05.2011

Thanks very much for your article.You've made it pretty clear and everyone was high-lighted in this show.

Comment by Phanomsook (Kwang) & Naparat (Pew) | 08.05.2011

Thank you so much for you great support to our company and furniture industries in Thailand :)

Add a comment