Artwork and designs which appear in films are not simply the props that fill out the setting but also the tool of visual storytelling to put viewers right in the feelings and the moods of the character.
It is natural to see the creations of well-known designers in Hollywood films. As a matter of fact, artwork of Thai designers have as well appeared in several Hollywood films.
The sci-fi blockbuster ‘The Hunger Games (2012)’, an adaptation of the book trilogy by Suzanne Collins marked a big success when it hit the theatre in Thailand. Other than the remarkable allure of the story, the movie showcases ‘designs’ through costumes and settings that help create the futuristic world. Among the creative designs was a chair used in the scene where the heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) sat in a dining table in the luxurious penthouse of ‘The Capitol’ before beginning the Games. In the mentioned scene, the spacious dining room of the Brutalist architectural style was filled with the turquoise floor, the decoration of modern glass lamp hanging from the ceiling and 8 astonishing green chairs around the glass table.
These chairs are called “Sexy Chair” and are in fact the oeuvre of Nattapong Charoenkitivarakorn, Thai designer and owner of SCULPTURE furniture design house. The uniqueness of the chair can be primarily described through its unusual material like cotton straps. Nattapong uses cotton straps with the weaving techniques inspired by Thai indigenous weaving crafts to create a particular chair design.
Another Thai design which appeared in Hollywood film is the Rattan chair seen in ‘Why Him? (2016)’, a romantic comedy about strait-laced parents meeting their daughter’s hipster but wealthy boyfriend. The “Threesome Noodle” chair designed by Udom Udomsrianan was a part of the props used to decorate the rich boyfriend’s house in the movie. To better illustrate this piece of work, the Threesome Noodle should rather be called a functional sculpture or a piece of art that can be sat on.
Other than the chairs, Thai lamp design was also used to set the world of loneliness in the movie ‘Her (2013)’. At heart, the romantic sci-fi drama delivers a story of a lonely, introverted man who falls in love with his computer in the (near) futuristic world.
The notch designed lamp or the “UP (2010)” lamp appeared in the film was a creation of Nakarin Kamseela, Thai designer and the owner of Deesawat furniture. The inspiration of this piece came from the increasing number of power plants built to respond to the endless needs of consumers. The zigzag line is a replication of factory chimneys and indeed a metaphor for the carbon being constantly released each time a light is switched on.
The lamp is made out of scraps of wood, a waste from the industrial process. The light shining out through the fascinating shape of zigzag woods creates a unique effect and a sophisticated ambiance which harmonise perfectly with the world of this lonely man in Her.
All in all, movies are no doubt the ideal showcase for design objects to globally attract the eyes of audience, as well as columnists who would bring up the design work to further discuss in their columns.