Creative Thailand

T-Style: DEWA (DEsign from Waste of Agriculture) Craft designs from leftover materials

Writer : Editor Team

Translator : Parisa Pichimarn


                “In the kitchen, nothing is considered trash,” American world-famous chef Anthony Bourdain once mentioned while he was still alive in one of his last documentaries. Regarding managing food waste, he said, “I may be the old school type that was taught to never throw anything away. That means whether it is unprocessed meat or bits of fruits and vegetables, it can be made into menus and nothing should be trash.” This is not a trend that is only limited to the food industry, as there is a global effort in trying to create value out of leftovers in order to combat overconsumption and consumerism, which leads to depleting our natural resources.

Environmentalists and progressive activists often say, “If we still use our resources the way we do today, we may need another 10 Earths in order to have enough resources for us to use.” To use our resources to their optimal value has been the new solution which has also brought about new fast-growing markets and products for consumers concerned with sustainable consumption.




                New materials and new ideas of how to optimize resources, therefore, has become an important factor when it comes to new possibilities in producing products from leftover agricultural waste. As Thailand is one of the leading agricultural producers of the world, an abundant amount of agricultural waste is created every year. Farmers and operators cannot make any use of these wastes, which has lead to the birth of the T-Style: DEWA (Design from Waste of Agriculture) project. The project encourages usage of agricultural waste to be made into creative products for the international market and is sponsored by the Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce. By bringing innovation and design dexterity to add value to agricultural waste, the products under DEWA can be categorized into 3 groups: new materials and prototypes, fashion products and lifestyle products and packaging. This is the reason we have been seeing strange materials that have been redesigned in order to give agricultural waste a new life in the design world.

Corn husks which are discarded on farms have been compressed into slabs to be made into coffee tables by Charoentribhop Limited Partnership, while Yothaka weaves baskets out of natural fibers and leftover synthetic fibers from factories. Water hyacinths and leftover fabrics from factories can be fashioned into handbags and roots from the Sonneratia trees that have been cut off are made into accessories by the brand LOG-KO. Leaves, branches and seeds from the longan farm have been redesigned into ceramics and packaging at Baan Nhong Lai Village as well.




                The goal for designs for this project, particularly the new materials and prototype group, is to create a new value for these leftover materials, while focusing on its story and natural qualities. For lifestyle products and packaging, new heights are reached in an attempt to bring together wastes from both agriculture and industry. Designers and producers are involved in all stages of production in order to foster a better understanding of the limitations of design. Designers, who are adept with design and can source for new materials to work with, and producers, who have the local wisdom regarding their crops, work together in order to find new possibilities from agricultural waste.

A designer has referred to the process as: “It is approaching a different dimension that they are and adding some of ourselves to it in our own way. It is only changing the look of it, but it is not changing what they are.”

DEWA is without a doubt, a harmonious blend of design and production ideas that bring together contemporary chic and local wisdom fittingly.  

Creative Thailand
Creative Thailand
Creative Thailand
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