By Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul
For the first time this year, students from eight universities all over the country have been invited to take part in the 2018 edition of Chiang Mai Design Week and are showcasing their innovations at Sir Lanna Thai Women’s Culture Promotion Association until Sunday.
Representatives of Chiang Mai University, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, King Mongkut’s Univeristy of Technology Thonburi, Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna, Bangkok University, Thammasat University, Lampang Campus, Silpakorn University and Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University are presenting products that demonstrate their design thinking and environmentally friendly ideas that draw on local wisdom but are applied in a modern context.
Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University’s uses the concept “Craft Is More” to create, design and develop products that respond to social needs and applies new ideas, materials and traditional wisdom that enhance the intelligence of Thai crafts while also paying attention to the environment.
Varit Aunsombut and Mongkol Ingkutanon, fourth-year students in crafts product design at the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, present “Rice Style”, which, as the name implies, use the staple to make new products while also demonstrating the abundance of this natural resource.
“My new product continues with rice, in much the same way as the one I presented at the Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand. Last time, the rice was processed into items for the dining table. This time, we would like to show the physical properties of rice grains, which are translucent and fluorescent, making the light shine through. Rice is the most important crop for Thais and a symbol of Thailand. Moreover, the delicacy is part of our daily lives. Several of the patterns created with rice on our products give a nod to the abundance of our natural resource such as water, lotus, butterfly, fish, and rice plants and we also include fireworks and a Thai pattern from a temple in Chiang Mai,” says Varit.
King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang presents “Kan-Kratam” by students of the Faculty of Architecture, who redefined traditional objects and subjects with millennial lifestyles in mind. “Kan-Kratam” refers to how people change their actions with the passing of time, reinterpreting old ideas into innovations in both form and function.
For example, “Rarn Par Lek” makes use of the colours on a CD disk to make new objects in the form of crockery for street restaurants in order to tell the story of the place and at the same time provide the street restaurants with a new environment rooted in history. For “Bor Sang Kang Jong”, Kris Inthanu, Noppadol Rungnarangsi and Kamolwan Mungnathee have used saa or mulberry paper.
“We started by brainstorming on the culture and lifestyle of Chiang Mai and thought of the unique umbrellas crafted at Bor Sang Village. We chose saa paper for our creation. We play with the words ‘Bor Sang Kang Jong’; ‘Bor Sang’ is a sub-district, ‘Kang Jong’ means open. We show that saa paper can be used for more than umbrellas with material, technique and the villagers’ skill. So, our work is a kind of experiment with the movement of opening and closing,” explains Kris.
Bangkok University comes up with “Chang-Ter-Khon-Ngam” (It’s Alright, My Dear), designing and making a “stool” from different kinds of wood. For its part, Silpakorn University was inspired by the refinement process used by designers for “Why Not?”, a folding stainless steel stool. Thammasat University Lampang presents an exhibition based on a case study of Corporate Identity design from its industrial craft and fashion faculty. Chiang Mai University, meanwhile, offers “Hammer, Nail, Wood” that observes possibilities in the surrounding area and considers the fundamental use in everyday furniture that might have been neglected. The interpretation and creation of the design concept under technical and material limitations aims at grasping the essence of the structural design application and principle without any decorative component.