Blog : thailand

ASEAN Paradise Islands Need Time to Recover

ASEAN Paradise Islands Need Time to Recover

Thailand’s Maya Bay, the Philippines’ Boracay Island, and Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago have seen multiple disturbances in recent years. Without a doubt they need all the help they can get to accelerate the restoration of marine ecosystems. Let’s see what measures have been taken to save them.

Thailand // The Philippines // Myanmar

Maya Bay, the Phi Phi Islands Marine Park, Thailand

In Thailand, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation closed the popular tourist destination Maya Bay for four months effective June 1. Because recovery was progressing more slowly than had been anticipated earlier, the authorities announced on October 2 that Maya Bay would remain closed indefinitely. The ban was deemed necessary to let nature take its course with respect to the health and sustainability of the organisms that exist there.

Maya Bay was made famous by the 2000 drama thriller “The Beach,” starring Leonardo Di Caprio. It lies as part of the Phi Phi Islands marine park in the Andaman Sea. The day-tripper paradise gets an average 2 million visitors a year, thanks to its proximity to Phuket and Thailand’s western shore.

 

Boracay Island, the Philippines / Photo: www.travelmag.com
Boracay Island, the Philippines

In the Philippines, the popular tourist attraction Boracay Island, dubbed the “Best Island in the World” in 2012 by Travel+Leisure Magazine, was shuttered for six months effective April 26, 2018. The closure was part of a wider effort at assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been damaged by humans. The tropical paradise is scheduled to reopen on October 26.

 

Cock’s Comb Island
Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar / Photo: www.burmaboating.com

In Myanmar, from time to time the curtain falls on the islets of Mergui Archipelago in the far south of the country. The much sought-after destinations in the Andaman Sea are easily accessible from Thailand’s Ranong Province. For environmental reason, Nyaung Oo Phee Island was closed to visitors on occasions. The same applied to Cock’s Comb Island, also called Emerald Heart for its blue green water color, and Cockburn Island (Kawthoung). Check it out before you visit them.

Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar / Photo: www.waaleresort.com
We Ale Island Resort / Photo: www.waaleresort.com

There are other beautiful islets in Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago that have remained largely unspoiled. They include Lampi, which is part of the Lampi Marine National Park, and nearby We Ale Island.

5 Events and Festivals Worth Waiting for

5 Events and Festivals Worth Waiting for

Southeast Asia is renowned for many joyful and exuberant festivities. For the remainder of 2018, it’s worth checking out these highly visible public and social occasions.

/// ASEAN ///

 

Living ASEAN has put together five favorite hangouts for you to pick, from art and culture to festivals and go-to party destinations. If you’re ready, let the journey begin.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

Bangkok, Thailand / October 19, 2018 – February 3, 2019

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 is Thailand’s first international art show featuring works by renowned artists from across the globe including Yayoi Kusama, Marina Abramovic, Yoshitomo Nara, Elmgreen & Dragset, Choi Jeong Hwa, Wisut Ponnimit, Kawita Vatanajyankur, and Lee Bul. The four-month festival will see many exhibitions being held at thriving art scenes across the capital from Buddhist temples to historic places along the River Chao Phrya, even the busy commercial district on Sukhumvit Road. Precisely, it’s aimed at making Bangkok a world art destination.  

For more information: http://www.bkkartbiennale.com/

http://www.baanlaesuan.com/tag/bangkok-art-biennale-2018/


 

Bagan Hot Air Balloon Season

Bagan, Myanmar / October 20, 2018 – April 10, 2019

Imagine you could fly. The hot air balloon ride promises to be an inspiring experience in Bagan. It’s an interesting way to see the ancient city as you drift over the vast archeological site in that’s home to more than 2,000 Buddhist shrines in central Myanmar. The balloon season starts October 20 and lasts until next April. Because only 22 balloons are allowed each day, it’s good to make reservations in advance so that you don’t miss out on early morning flights. Take in the view over a cradle of civilization that began in the early eleventh century. The Old Bagan landscape is gorgeous at sunrise.

Photographs: https://myanmarvels.com


 

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

Bali, Indonesia / October 24-28

There’s more to the Indonesian archipelago than volcanic mountains, beaches and coral reefs. Nestled in the uplands of Bali, Ubud is a town with a quiet beauty that’s widely known for traditional crafts and performing arts. Every year writers, thinkers, as well as visual and performing artists converge on the town to participate in the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, which is scheduled for October 24-28. The event in now into its 15th year.

 


 

Cambodian Water Festival – Bon Om Touk

Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia / November 21-23

The Cambodian Water Festival or Bon Om Touk is celebrated on November 21-23, which coincides with the end of the rainy season based on the lunar calendar. The occasion symbolizes the abundant life that rivers bring. Cities and towns across the country join in the season of festivity, but the biggest celebration takes place in the capital. The water festival culminates in a boat race on the River Tonle Sap that runs through Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The rowing boats are a legacy from old-time naval warfare and represent the passing of knowledge from past to present generations.

Photographs: http://global-children.org


 

Zoukout Beach Festival

Siloso Beach, Singapore / December 1

In a mood for partying? Come December 1 Singapore’s Siloso Beach will play host to the largest dusk-to-dawn beach festival with plenty of water activities. The event is much sought after by electronic music fans looking forward to dancing the night away. The fun event organized by Zouk nightclub is now in its 18th year. This year’s festival features the music band Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, number 2 on DJ Mag’s Top 100 list. Partying starts at nightfall and continues until the morning after. So dance till you drop!

 

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“Huean Tham,” Local Thai House in a Japanese Tradition

“Huean Tham,” Local Thai House in a Japanese Tradition

This home connects architecture and life in a beautiful, serene composition at one with nature, hence the name “Huean Tham” (House of Dharma)

/// THAILAND///
Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul /// Owner : Somyot Suparpornhemin and Usaburo Sato /// Design:
Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architect /// Project Consultant : Teerapon Niyom /// Architect: Nuntapong Lertmaneetaweesap /// Contractor: Pratiew Yasai

The Huean Tham house has a depth that makes it much more than just a place to live. It’s actually a group of buildings and rooms, each with its own particular use. The Thai word tham (dharma) is integral to the words thammachat (nature) and thammada (natural), and suggests tranquility in life.

Local Thai House

Huean Tham is a residence, a design workshop for naturally dyed fabrics, and a storehouse for Usaato brand fabrics, all in 6 buildings. First is “ruean yai” (the large house), residence of owners Somyot Suparpornhemin and Usaburo Sato.

Just to the north is ruean lek (small house), where the children and visiting friends stay. More or less in the center of the complex is sala tham (dharma hall), a place to socialize, with a shady multipurpose yard for activities such as dharma seminars and trainings in woven fabric design, for a local village weaving group, and in natural soap production. There is also a shrine with a wooden Buddha here. Both wings of the second floor hold guest rooms for close friends. On the southwest side is ruean luang pho (holy man house), a retreat for family members which serves as a monk’s hut when a revered spiritual teacher is invited to the home. Finally, to the south are akhan kep pha (fabric storehouse) and ruean ngan (workshop) for design work, with different rooms for specialists in different crafts.

Local Thai HouseLocal Thai HouseLocal Thai House

Huean Tham’s outstanding attributes were conceived by Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architect with the aim of combining good features of the traditional Thai house with functional Japanese concepts. Entering ruean yai we see the floor is raised a bit: this is to protect against ground moisture. Thai and Japanese homes share a characteristic utilization of the area beneath the main house for guest reception and dining, a multipurpose space called “tai thun” in Thai. Construction materials were selected for their good points and their suitability: the house is constructed primarily of wood, the house frame primarily of concrete and steel.

The architecture of Huean Tham isn’t flashy or showy. The true beauty of this home is in its fusion of architecture with life toward a oneness with nature and the ways of tranquility, raising the level of excellence for both the architectural team and for Eung and Ussa’s lifestyle. This excellence will continuously reinforce the beauty of this home as time goes on.

Local Thai House Local Thai House Local Thai HouseLocal Thai House

Link: www.baanlaesuan.com/113635/houses/thai_traditional_home/

Duangrit Bunnag Group Wins Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 Project Design Contest

Duangrit Bunnag Group Wins Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 Project Design Contest

The Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT) announced on August 22, 2018 that the Duangrit Bunnag Group, aka the DBALP Consortium, has won the Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 Project design contest.

AOT had previously invited the private sector to make bids for designing the new 35-billion-baht Terminal 2 project. As a result, the first runner-up Duangrit Bunnag Group was declared winner for its design proposal worth an estimated 329 million baht.

DBALP was able to achieve an important triumph after the winning bidder SA Group was disqualified for failing to submit an important document, namely, the original quotation for the cost of work as stipulated in the contract.

The SA Group stood firm that it had never received the original quotation document from AOT, and called for a reconsideration of bid results. It made reference to winning on points for its technical proposal, and that the cost of work it entered for the contest was lower than that stipulated by AOT. Furthermore, the purpose of the original quotation document was only to prevent the competition process being compromised.   

Four private sector groups responded to the AOT invitation to compete for design work by means of sealed bids. The first is a consortium of legal persons consisting of DBALP, Nikken Sekkei, EMS, MHPM, and MSA, collectively known as the Duangrit Bunnag Group for short.

The second group is an association of consulting firms made up of the Beaumont Partners Co Ltd, the Index International Group Co Ltd, the Egis-Rail (Thailand) Co Ltd, the CEL Engineers Co Ltd, the CEL Architects and Environments Co Ltd, the Alana Engineering Co Ltd, Egis Avia, and Egis Rail S.A.

The third group is a number of consulting firms composed of the Varda Associates Co Ltd, the Wise Project Consulting Co Ltd, and the Chong Lim Architecture Co Ltd.

Last is the SA Group, a consortium of consulting firms made up of the Span Consultants Co Ltd, the Sign-Tech Engineering Consultants Co Ltd, the Azusa Sekkei Co Ltd, and the Sky Party Co Ltd.

A rendering of Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 by the DBALP Consortium

As per the August 22, 2018 announcement, the DBALP Consortium is obligated to complete its forest-inspired design on the Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 project in 10 months’ time. Coming up next is an AOT invitation to bid for the construction phase.

Designed to meet future demands, the new Terminal 2 at Suvarnabhumi Airport will have the ability to receive over 30 million passengers annually — 12 million via domestic flights, and 18 million on board international flights. The building will come complete with 14 airport aprons and parking spaces for 1,000 cars. Construction will take about 30 months to complete. The project is scheduled to be fully functional mid-2021 at the earliest.

A rendering of Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 by the DBALP Consortium

See more: A glance at other design proposals entered into the competition >>

DEmark Award 2018 / Design Excellence Award

DEmark Award 2018 / Design Excellence Award

We have the results of this year’s official accolade of design excellence. Eight pieces of furniture have won the coveted DEmark Award for outstanding design for 2018. Among the winners: a water hyacinth chair beautifully crafted on a metal frame, a neatly packed kitchen cabinet, a chair inspired by tea tree topiaries, and a set of chairs that come together as table legs.

/// Thailand ///

 

Furniture category: “Khing,” a set of stool and table inspired by research on tea tree topiaries, a craft skill that’s slowly disappearing – by the Sumphat Gallery

Every year, the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) gives out the Design Excellence Award, DEmark Award for short, as an acknowledgement of outstanding merit by Thai designers from across the country.

The ultimate official accolade seeks to increase direct presence of Thailand’s creative products in the world marketplace. Successful candidates will participate in international trade events, such as the Gmark Award competition in Japan, as well as DITP’s exhibition tours throughout Europe and Asia.

This year’s DEmark Awards were given to eight pieces of furniture for impressive achievements in  blending craft skills with modern manufacturing techniques.

Furniture category: A neatly packed kitchen cabinet called “Q-Mini Compact” – by Qrua
Furniture category: “Jaak Coffee Table,” an elaborate design that gets its inspiration from the bird cage common in southern Thailand — by Tima
Furniture category: “Sim Steel Bar Stool,” impressive knock-down furniture ideas — by Take Home Design
Furniture category: The so-called (W)hole Chair, featuring stow-away furniture ideas — by Everyday Studio
Furniture category: “Water Weed Chair,” a product of collaboration between a community skilled in the art of basketry and a modern furniture designer — by the Sumphat Gallery
Furniture category: “Krachap,” a hanging lounge chair featuring bamboo housing crafted on a steel frame — by Performax and “Kodax,” a lounge chair capable of moving in a circle around an axis — by Kenkoon

 

Every year, the DEmark Awards are given out in six categories — Furniture, Lifestyles, Fashion, Industry, Packaging and Graphic Design – as an acknowledgement of outstanding achievements by Thai designers and manufacturers. Not all of the winners are listed in this report.

Lifestyles category: “TARN Collection,” a mortar and pestle set — by Stew
Lifestyles category: “Year Ring Collection,” an accessory container made of wood — by Deesawat
Lifestyles category: “Hill Pot,” a collection of houseplant containers — by Qualy
Lifestyles category: “Chong Mana,” a collection of scented candles featuring the motto “work hard and you shall succeed” — by Dib Dee and “Wit Tray,” a food tray featuring bamboo crafted on a steel frame — by Yothaka
Lifestyles category: “Husk Object,” a set of tray, coasters, and flower pots made of neatly compacted rice husks — by Sonite
Industry category: “Vento Brick,” a perforate wall designed to enhance natural air circulation — by Kenzai
Fashion category: “Natural Blue Honor Sport Jacket,” an apparel collection made of indigo-dyed fabric – by Blue Nails
Graphic Design category: “Thunder Bird Hostel” — by Shake and Bake Studio
Graphic Design category: “Chiangmai Design Week 2018” — by Octopus Grafik Studio

 

For more information, please visit: http://demarkaward.net/en/demark_winner?product_type=0&year_awarded=2018&keyword=Search

 


 

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VERNACULAR HOUSES AROUND THE ASEAN

VERNACULAR HOUSES AROUND THE ASEAN

If you are interested in design based on local needs, local materials, and local traditions, you will find vernacular building exhibitions well worth a visit.

/// Thailand ///

 

The expo area features 5 show pavilions designed by the design firms.

Five show pavilions are open now at Architect ’18, the ASEAN’s largest building technology exposition organized by the Association of Siamese Architects (ASA). It’s happening on May 1-6, 2018 at Impact, Muang Thong Thani.

Plastic crates filled with clay are readied for the show at Architect ’18.

Other attractions range from a photography display by Vernacular Built Environment and Cultural Heritage Studies Group, and exhibitions by various architectural firms, to retail businesses, and seminars featuring distinguished speakers from Thailand and abroad.

The expo’s must-see events include a show pavilion by Boon Design, which presents building techniques using materials readily available in a locality, such as plastic crates for fruit transportation filled with clay.

Inside one of the show pavilions dedicated to vernacular-style living
The dark exterior that is characteristic of the Boon Design show pavilion

Designer Boonlert Hemvijitraphan said: “Traditionally, earth has been a material of choice for home building while plastic crates come in handy as byproducts of the industry. The choice of materials is often dictated by availability in a particular area. Homes can be made of anything, whether it’s earth or wood, so long as they are adapted to suit local needs and requirements.” Like so, a vernacular house in Southeast Asia may appear dim on the inside because there are only a few openings. Lace fabrics on the windows tell stories of clever adaptations to suit local weather conditions.

Vernacular houses on the waterfront in Myanmar, Cambodia, and Thailand
photograph reflects local beliefs and customs around the Region.

The building techniques differ from country to country across Southeast Asia as illustrated by the photo exhibition by the Vernacular Built Environment and Cultural Heritage Studies Group. Its members include Isarachai Buranaut, Kullphut Seneevong Na Ayudhaya, Somchai Chuechuaychu, and Surapong Jamniyom.

 

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Virtual Reality on Google

Virtual Reality on Google

 Of course you have heard of the oldest and most famous places in world history. But, do you know that one of Google’s main ambitions is to inspire you to see them in a fun and simple way?

 

/// Photo: Google ///

With Google VR and drone footage, the multinational technology company lets you experience virtual reality of 25 historic sites in 18 countries across the globe — from Bagan, an ancient city in central Myanmar, to Thailand’s former capital Ayutthaya, to the ruins of Pompeii in southern Italy, and Al Azem Palace in Syria, which dates back to the days of the Ottoman Empire.  

Also enjoyed by many is Google Arts and Culture, an online platform through which people can access images of artworks and exhibits hosted by participating museums. For the education of future generations, Google is partnering with CyArk, a non-profit organization dedicated to making historical and cultural heritage sites accessible to the public. CyArk uses laser light technology to crate 3D representations of sites of outstanding universal value.

For now, join us on incredible adventures to some of the most famous heritage sites in the ASEAN. Appreciate peace and tranquility in Bagan, an ancient city in Myanmar, and experience virtual reality of Wat Phra Sri Sanpet in Ayuttyaya, Thailand. The temple ruins were used as backdrop for scenes in one of many Hollywood movies filmed in Thailand. (https://artsandculture.google.com/project/cyark)

3D Model of Eim Ya Kyaung Temple in Bagan, Myanmar
3D Model of Wat Phra Sri Sanpet in Ayuttyaya, Thailand 
Pompeii, Italy
Teotihuacán, Mexico
Taos Pueblo, the United States
Al Azem Palace, Syria
The Monastery of Geghard, Armenia
The Brandenburg Gate, Germany
Chichén Itzá, Mexico
Ayutthaya, Thailand
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand

 

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Thai-Style Chaise Lounge and Wedge Pillows: From the Traditional to the Modern

Thai-Style Chaise Lounge and Wedge Pillows: From the Traditional to the Modern

Perfected over time, the chaise lounge paired with triangular-shaped pillows offers a fascinating glimpse into Thai culture. As time goes on, the design is sliding into obscurity. The chair with a lengthened seat for leg rest and reclining differs from the European-style sofa in that the former is a short-legged, backless couch. The absence of a backrest is compensated by a set of wedge pillows.

/// Thailand ///

 

The Thai-style chaise lounge is a traditional appraoch to reclined seating. One way of sitting comfortably in one is to sit with your feet up. The wedge pillows serve both aesthetic and functional purposes and can be made from a variety of textiles. The traditional chaise lounge set is designed for side-lying and semi-reclining positons.

The “KIRI” chaise lounge paired with wedge pillows features a blend between traditional design and the Thai Modern concept.

Reviving interest in the design that’s quintessentially Thai, designer Ath Supornchai has debuted a chaise lounge set that mixed strong traditional values with the Thai Modern concept. Winning enthusiastic praise at this year’s International Furniture Fair Singapore, the sofa set called “KIRI” is selling under the brandname “Mobella”. It is also furniture of choice in the reception room at Line Chat App’s Thailand office.

The KIRI chaise lounge set has pride of place at Line Chat App’s Bangkok office.
KIRI is debuted under the Mobella brandname

 

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Thailand Will Be Home to the Region’s Largest IKEA Store

Thailand Will Be Home to the Region’s Largest IKEA Store

The new IKEA store in Johor, Malaysia was dubbed Southeast Asia’s largest when it opened for business four months ago. That’s about to change as the candidate for the top spot will open in Thailand in a matter of days.

/// Thailand ///

 

The world-renowned, Swedish-founded furniture retailer will launch its newest, largest store in Southeast Asia in Bang Yai, Nonthaburi on March 15. It will be the country’s second IKEA store that’s geared towards meeting the needs of people in Nonthaburi as well as outlying districts in Bangkok’s Northwest.

IKEA Bang Yai will be the Swedish chain’s largest store in Southeast Asia come March 15.

The newest retail establishment in Bang Yai spreads over a surface of 50,278 square meters, compared to 46,700 square meters at the IKEA Tebrau store in Johor. The Malaysian store was opened on November 16, 2017.

The IKEA Bang Yai store is partially solar-powered. Its solar arrays comprising 4,548 photovoltaic cells mounted on the rooftop are capable of producing 1.5 megawatts per year, or about 13% of the building’s electricity needs. It is LEED certified for quality and achievement in green building features.

Unlike other IKEA retail establishments, the Bang Yai store has cashier stations on every floor. The new design enables shoppers who are short on time to get in and out of the store faster.

Bird’s eye view of the IKEA Tebrau store in Malaysia

IKEA’s world largest store is located in South Korea. Opened in December 2014, the IKEA Gwangmyeong has 59,000 square meters of business space. The chain retail establishment has six stores in Southeast Asia — two in Singapore, three in Malaysia, and one in Thailand. The Bang Yai store will be number 7 in the region.

 

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Compact House in a Rubber Forest

Compact House in a Rubber Forest

 The tree-filled beauty of the great outdoors makes for a relaxing place to live, which is why so many want this. Among these is the Norateedilok family, who made the dream a reality with this single-story modern-style house in a verdant forest of rubber trees.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Ajchara Jeen., Trairat Songpao /// Photography:  Tanakitt Khum-on

Architect/Owner Nat (Rakchai Norateedilok) built this house for his mother, who wanted to be near her grandparents in Phatthalung Province. Here is a place near the rubber orchards she loves which she can call home and where she can socialize with friends of her generation. 

Compact House in a Rubber Forest
Nat with his older brother (right)


“There used to be a rice storehouse here,” said Nat. “The rubber orchard was planted later, and the trees had grown big and beautiful, so we decided to build the house here. Also, the front area is near the original main house kitchen, so there was no need to build a new kitchen. Stucco walls and a slanted black steel roof give it a smooth, simple look. The house’s 43 square meters hold a bedroom, bathroom, and living room.

“This house is on a ‘footing-style’ foundation. I put free-standing, unattached posts in the earth before adding floor beams and posts; this helps create good air flow. I pretty much left the interior planning to Mom’s preferences, so the design is for simplicity and ease of use.”

Steel House in a Rubber Forest
The many openings around the house open great views and bring in light all day long: high doors, glass-covered open spaces below the roof, and wide windows along walls.
The raised floor allows air flow below, guards against problems of ground moisture, and prevents unwanted bugs and animals from entering the house.

The location, in a rubber plantation, made choice of construction materials an important consideration. Nat primarily used concrete and real wood to give the house a look to match the surrounding environment. Synthetic wood was used where necessary, which also helped with the budget. Construction was done by local builders in only 4-5 months, so Nat was able to supervise the work himself and ensure the budget not exceed 700,000 baht.

Steel House in a Rubber Forest

Steel House in a Rubber Forest

Nat’s mother was in charge of the interior décor. In selecting furniture she kept the number of pieces to a minimum, just what was necessary to be able to relax in a clean, orderly place and feel close to nature. The resulting house is wonderfully livable and comfortable.

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