Food was not the only thing the Chinese diaspora brought over to Yaowarat or Thailand’s Chinatown. Tucked away in the alley of “Charoen Chai” is an ancient Chinese paper-folding culture waiting to be experienced.
นักออกแบบ นักคิด และผู้ประกอบการ ในอุตสาหกรรมสร้างสรรค์ไทย
Looking back to its history, the “alms bowl village community” or Ban Bat is one of the oldest communities that had migrated to Bangkok since the era of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Originally, they were blacksmiths making alms bowls for monks, a skill passed down through the generations. In 1998, a factory manufacturing stainless steel alms bowls was established.
During his reign, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) made three visits to the island of Java. The reason for the visits, according to Journeys to Java by a Siamese King, was that Java was modernized, and so the King wished to study Western statesmanship to prepare himself to rule and reform Siam. There, he learned about the educational system, military affairs, hospitals, and the art of Batik. In fact, he became so fascinated with Batik textiles that he bought a large amount of them on these trips. The number of these textiles in his collection amounted to some 300, which include his own purchases as well as those offered to him by others.
Tie dyeing refers to a set of ancient dyeing techniques used universally. Thailand and its Southeast Asian neighbors –Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Myanmar– all inherited the techniques from India, though each has refined the processes in their own unique ways, and their products are known by different names. Japan and China also have their own tie-dyeing techniques, so does Mexico, located half the world away.
Photographers take pictures. When a photographer publish a book, it must be expected to be a photo book. But that is not the case for Ekkarat Punyatara. His book ‘Black Day’ is not a photo book, but a work of art.
Ratchaburi has been known for its ceramic water jars (also known as Dragon Pots) for more than 60 years. However, 18 years ago, the iconic Dragon Pots nearly became something of the past, due to changing ways of life and economic factors. In particular, rising labor costs drove several factories to close up shop.
Thai people have been familiar with yahom (traditional herbal powder) for more than three centuries. It is believed that yahom recipes were first brought into the Kingdom in the Ayutthaya period. At that time this medicine was exclusively used in the royal family, as several ingredients were imported from overseas. The making of yahom also required thorough grinding and winnowing, meaning many people were involved in the process. Therefore, it was regarded as a highly valuable item and was so expensive that ordinary citizens were hardly able to afford it.
Madmee is a local weaving craft that is popular in the northeastern region of Thailand. When not working in the fields or harvesting, villagers spend their free time weaving textiles for use in the household or at cultural events. In recent years, villagers have begun to sell their unused textiles. In many areas, the craft has come to replace farming as their main source of income.
At the “maison & objet” event in Paris, France in January 2018, MASAYA’s brass armchairs, designed by Apiwat Chitapanya, were well received by the guests at the event. Working within the concept of “branches,” the designer used special welding techniques that gave this armchair set a natural look through a structure of airy lines resembling branches.
Apirat Boonruangthaworn’s name may not be widely known to the general public, but in design circles and among the industrial design community, Apirat is far from a nobody and mostly recognized for his furniture designs.
“Maison Takuya” (pronounced May-Song Ta-Ku-Ya) was named by its French founder, Francois Russo. Maison Takuya was the only one Thai leather brand which was ranked among world luxury leather brands like Hermès and others. Its sales volume was comparable with the big names like Tom Ford, Dunhill, Bulgari etc. It also won the Best Leather Item In Japan price which was awarded yearly to the luxury brands by Japanese TV show. In that same year, Rolex received the Best Watch Item price.
To attract new generations of customers, manufacturers needed to create new ideas and products. In other words, carry forward the ancestors’ local wisdom required adaptation to match new generation.