By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The Sunday Nation
BAAN LAE SUAN FAIR, one of the country’s grandest home and decoration fairs held annually at the end of the year, has now launched a smaller-scale expo that shines the spotlight on furniture design.
The five-day affair, dubbed “Baan Lae Suan Fair Select”, features just 300 booths from furniture producers and a small zone for home decorative items and crafts at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.
“While the annual fair is home to more than 2,000 booths offering a complete range of products and services for home and garden decoration and construction, the sister fair ‘Select’ mainly focuses on the development of furniture by local designers,” says Damrong Leewairoj, editor of Room magazine, one of the home and decoration magazines published by Amarin Printing Group, which organises the fair.
Echoing that statement, 30 outstanding chairs by local designers have been put together by the editors of Baan Lae Suan and Room magazines for a show titled “The Chairmen of Thai Design”. Every piece comes with a QR code that visitors can scan to see video clips of the designers talking about their inspirations.
“The chair is a piece of furniture that has probably the closest association with our bodies. Every house has more than one chair, and the chair we sit on can reflect our lifestyle and taste. A chair also embodies the arts of engineering, practicality and imagination and it’s a challenging task for most designers to conceive new and inspiring products. That said though, there are countless, innovative pieces on the market,” he adds.
Anon Pairot’s 3D printed concrete chair “Fluctuation of Precision”
The new 3D printing technology is making tremendous waves, revolutionising everyday life on a previously unimaginable scale from small items and components to industrial construction. Noted furniture designer Anon Pairot has been working with Siam Cement Group (SCG) since last year to produce a 3D-printed cement set for outdoors. Called “Fluctuation of Precision”, it comprises three concrete sofas, a coffee table, a curved partition with a two-seater sofa, and three concrete rock-like sculptures.
On view at the fair is a sofa fabricated from layers of concrete to which Anon has added some curves to give it a feminine touch.
“Each layer of cement is a little like weaving textile. It binds quickly enough that it can be printed with dramatic curves and twists, and it can remain freestanding while drying without the need for any support. I don’t want my design to look complicated, but raw and strong while at the same time being accessible and affordable,” says Anon.
The special cement formula is of comparable strength for the structure and will absorb high pressure. The cement is allowed to set for an appropriate time so the injection of additional layers will integrate seamlessly, forming a perfect piece without the need for a supportive steel frame.
Extrusion printing is the system used for formulating the shape and involves the injection of liquefied material in layers to create products with a strong structure. This also enables exceptional detail in each individual layer to give the end product a smooth and curvy design.
“Rush Chair” by Piti Amraranga and Jutamas Buranajade from o-d-a
While Anon opts for innovative technology and new materials, Piti Amraranga and Jutamas Buranajade from o-d-a (object design alliance) go back to basics with their practical “Rush Chair”. The chair is made from abandoned branches cut into 50-centimetre lengths while the seat is fashioned from woven water hyacinth.
“Everyone can be a chair maker and this chair is a visual representation of that,” says Piti. “When sitting, we become a part of a chair and if we’ve made it ourselves, there’s an additional element of belonging. Our previous workshop showed that both children and adults can make this kind of chair thanks to the availability of the raw materials and the very simple techniques.”
Deesawat’s elderly-care stool “The Brace” designed by Jirachai Tangkijngamwong
Established brand Deesawat has expanded its product line to encompass designs that meet the needs of the greying generation and the handicapped. On show here is an elderly-care stool called “The Brace” designed by Jirachai Tangkijngamwong that won the Design for Wellbeing award in Hong Kong in 2014.
The teakwood brace stool is a support stool for elderly people and those with back and knee problems who find sitting down or standing up a challenge. It has an armrest on one side and an ergonomically angled arm on the other that the user can grasp for support when they want to sit or stand. The angled arm is also useful when the body is seated at a right angle, allowing the user to move forward to the table or the wheelchair. In addition to easy mobility, the seat height and splayed legs are designed for maximum stability and support.
“With our design we want to fill a gap in lifestyle products and help improve the well-being of the elderly and the disabled. I am convinced that all designers should be looking into this trend,” says Jirachai.
“Sora” – a mediation stool by Ratthee Phaisanchotsiri of Satawat Design
Ratthee Phaisanchotsiri of Satawat Design, meanwhile, opts for a small single-leg stool designed to celebrate the act of meditation. Called “Sora”, it can support a user in a meditative pose of kneeling while alleviating pressure on the lower legs and feet.
“When I am doing something stressful, I look up at the sky and get lost in the void. It’s my way of meditating. I usually design large items of furniture but this time I’ve opted for a small, minimalist object that doubles as a sculptural piece and can be placed in any space to inspire a peaceful mind,” says Ratthee, whose Sora stool won the Bronze Leaf Award at the 2017 International Furnishing and Design in Japan.
Made from a single piece of ash wood, it has one solid leg designed for weight balance while the top is a curved surface that’s both lightweight and ergonomic and shows off the beauty of the wood grain.
“Gom” stool by Chayanin Sakdikul and Nutdanai Siribongkot from Hari Ora brand takes inspiration from the interlocking patterns of basketry.
Inspired by the interlocking pattern of basketry, Chayanin Sakdikul and Nutdanai Siribongkot from Hari Ora brand have come up with a wooden stool titled “Gom”, the word used for a small stool in the Northern dialect.
Designed for any compact living space, Gom consists of four individual narrow stools that can be integrated into a box-shaped stool with a wider seat. The contrasting natural shades of oak and ash add extra appeal.
The stackable stool “Bangkok Taxi” by Wuthichai Leelavoravong and Siriporn Kobnithikulwong of Everyday Studio recalls the chaotic Bangkok streets.
Bangkok’s multi-coloured taxis get a new interpretation in a colourful, stackable and surprisingly comfortable stool designed by Wuthichai Leelavoravong and Siriporn Kobnithikulwong of Everyday Studio.
Simply titled “Bangkok Taxi”, the stool boasts a stainless steel support and seat upholstered in different shades from yellow, green, to pink, red and blue. Each is stackable to save space and comes with an add-on top to change its function from stool to table.
“Bangkok’s roads are filled with vehicles in a wide variety of colours. It’s chaotic yet fun and represents the diversity of the city. We bring in the colourful vibes but tone down the shades for a softer look. And we know by looking at the behaviour of consumers that a piece of furniture is often used for different purposes. The Bangkok Taxi stool can be stacked to form a chair or have a top placed on it to make a high or low table,” says Wuthichai.
The multi-functional bench “The Placer” by Pitchaya Maneerattanaporn of Whoop brand.
Another multi-functional piece is “The Placer” by Pitchaya Maneerattanaporn of Whoop brand. Also suited to those with limited space, the multi-purpose bench can function as a seat and as storage for shoes and other items. The vertical rack can support two bicycles or be used to hang shopping bags, towels and hats. The hooks can be adjusted up and down or rotate to left and right.
And even though the physical fair wraps tonight, it will be shortly continuing in cyber space through a virtual fair featuring the editors’ choice of 30 shops.
“After the fair, people always ask us how to contact the shops, so we decided to develop the Baan Lae Suan website as a portal service for home and design. Each shop will offer the same special deals as at the fair. The virtual fair also meets the need of consumers who want to take their time deciding whether or not to buy a large piece of furniture or those who simply prefer online shopping,” says Praphatsorn Mangsiri, Amarin’s online content department manager.
The virtual fair is expected to come into operation next Sunday and will initially run for a month.
Baan Lae Suan Fair Select continues until tonight at Plenary Halls 1-3 of the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.
Find out more at www.BaanLaeSuan.com/fair.