An exhibition of 40 masterpieces presents new perspectives on Thai arts and crafts and updates on global business trends.
The epitome of beauty and perfection under the SACICT Concept 2020
26-30 August at Samyarn Mitrtown
If you think Thai arts and crafts are a thing of the past, think again! Here’s a glimpse into a landmark exhibition showcasing 40 collections by master craftsmen from across the country. It’s a perfect example of creativity and innovation under SACICT Concept 2020, a project undertaken by the SUPPORT Arts and Crafts International Centre (Public Organization).
The collaborative enterprise is aimed at promoting the creation of prototype models capable of meeting the demands of modern consumer both at home and abroad. At the same time, it’s part of a wider effort to generate a sustainable income for the people in the long term.
Under this project, 40 craftsmen were handpicked by SACICT to participate in making articles of handicraft that could be further developed into products for everyday use. They represented a wide range of categories, among them, textile, bamboo and wicker weaving, woodworking, ceramic, and metal work. In the process, the craft makers collaborated with distinguished designer groups, including Mobella Design Team, Ease Studio, Salt and Pepper Design Studio, PHTAA Living Design, and Atelier 2+ .
The exhibition code-named “SACICT Concept Showcase” took place at Level G, Samyan Mitrtown from 26 to 30 August 2020. It assembled a panel of experts to investigate “New Perspectives on Thai Arts and Crafts and Updates on Global Business Trends.”
During the show, an “Eco Chic Bag” workshop, among other things, was given on-site for those interested in handbag decorations. The event offered intensive group discussions on how to make the handbag stylishly fashionable using fabrics from the Arts and Crafts Centre renowned for their original and unique designs.
Plus, it provided a platform for discussion of popular topics from clothing and accessories to household goods and business décor ideas. In a nutshell, it was about empowering the craft makers to perform to their full potential, culminating in a product that people wanted to buy, creating an income for the community, and keeping Thailand’s art and craft heritage alive for the next generation.
The show was part of the SACICT Concept 2020 Project undertaken by the SUPPORT Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand (Public Organization).
Precisely, it sends a strong message that the richness of Thailand’s handicraft culture deserves protection and further development into a new product that’s right for today’s consumer.
Here are eight collections from the show just to give you an idea. Anyone interested to learn more can download the entire e-book about the 40 collections here.
A lot has changed since the time of Venice of the East, for which Bangkok was lovingly known. Along came the railway system that ushered in an era of mass travel, followed by the building of many transport routes. As people’s lifestyles changed, shopping malls were mushrooming everywhere, and mass transit light rail systems were introduced. Now it’s a city of skyscrapers. See what it’s like then and now.
Built in the reign of King Rama V, the Stupa of the Golden Mount dominates the skyline above the junction of two canals, Ong-ang and Mahanak, main routes for travel by water since the early days.
Bangkok Railway Station, also known as Hua Lamphong, then and now.
Completed in 1942, the Victory Monument serves as Kilometer Zero on major routes linking Bangkok with other parts of the country. It was designed by famous architect M.L. Poum Malakoul.
The historic Mahakan Fort overlooks Ratchadamnoen Avenue with the Stupa of the Golden Mount in the backdrop.
A bustling street market opposite the Temple of Dawn is home to river view hotels, among them Sala Rattanakosin and Sala Arun.
The Giant Swing bespeaks the influence of Brahmanism on Thai society in olden days. The swing is gone now; only the red tower remains in front of Wat Suthat Thepwararam.
Above, Silom Road in its early days. Below, the vibrant central business district is served by passenger rail transport — the elevated BTS and underground MRT. The Siboonrueng Building, a familiar sight on Silom, is scheduled for a teardown to make room for a new project.
Siam Center, then and now. The busy intersection in Pathumwan District has become a passenger rail transport hub conveniently linked to business and shopping destinations via the Skywalk.
Ratchaprasong Intersection, then and now. The area is home to the Erawan Shrine, a widely revered Brahman shrine erected in 1956.
Views from the top of the Baiyoke 2, tallest building in Bangkok from 1997 to 2016.
Back in the day, the Post and Telegraph Department doubled as the Central Post Office in Bangrak District. There’s a river pier at the rear of the building that once upon a time was a British consulate. Nowadays, it’s home to the TCDC, Thailand Creative and Design Center.
Many ask what is so fascinating about Pattani. We hear about negative events in the South of Thailand from time to time. But have you ever wondered what it’s really like to visit Pattani? Here’s an inside story.
Naturally charming, Pattani is a cosmopolitan area with many small town secrets waiting to be discovered. You will love southern hospitality, the friendly and generous reception that locals, for the most part Muslims and Thais of Chinese descent, give their visitors. For simplicity’s sake, let’s look at 5 good reasons why you should pay them a visit.
Adventure: Take the Tunnel of Bushes through a Mangrove Forest
If you travel the world in search of adventure, the sight of a centuries-old mangrove forest and a tunnel of bushes that runs through it will fill you with awe. It’s home to tropical trees and woody plants with countless prop roots that thrive to form dense thickets. The unspoiled forest covers the entire coastal swamp that’s flooded at high tide. Dubbed one of Thailand’s healthiest wetland ecologies, the Bang Poo Mangrove Forest in Yaring District lies along Pattani Bay and only 25 kilometers from the provincial seat.
It’s quite an education to stop by the Yaring Mangrove Forest Study Center. Take a boat ride under forest canopies, then head out to sea and back. The service is offered by villagers. Learn how to collect sea mussels like locals do. On the way back, take a moment to observe sea birds on the bay and coastal wetlands, where sedges and other grass-like species thrive. They provide raw material for sedge basket weaving industries in the area. It could be your most exciting ride, and the view is fantastic.
The mangrove forest was originally part of ancient coastlands that had grown to form an impenetrable mass around Pattani Bay. After a period of neglect, concerted efforts have been successful in restoring it to good health. Nowadays, tour activities vary from season to season, ranging from boat rides into the forest on nights aglow with fireflies, to stargazing night rides, to homestays at affordable prices.
Old World Charm, Chinatown, and Cool Café
Like other settlements in an earlier time, Pattani originally was a regional hub of commerce. The charming old town sits on the banks of the Pattani River that provides convenient access to the open sea and areas in the hinterland. This is evident in the way shop houses and people’s homes are located along river banks. You will like a quiet saunter on Pattani Pirom Road from Ruedee Intersection to Anohru Road.
Since ancient times, the little Chinatown at Anohru had been a region of diverse cultures, where Thais, Indians and Chinese met for the buying and selling of goods. It’s also home to the holy shrine of Lim Kor Niew, a goddess widely revered for her supernatural powers. Other main tourist attractions include relics of a bygone society, such as the ancestral home of the Kunanurak clan, and the residence of Khunpitakraya, son of Chinese monk Kunanurak who governed Pattani in the past.
Anohru Road is famous for cozy Chinese style inns, charming wood homes, and Sino-Portuguese architecture. Coffee lovers shouldn’t miss the old town’s greatest hangouts – All Good Coffee & Bakery (which is right next to a famous Hainan chicken restaurant), and IN_T_AF Café & Gallery.
Looking for a holy place to pray to God? There are the famous Krue Se Mosque and the Central Mosque of Pattani. Dress properly if you intend to visit.
Delicious Food, Good Tea, Great Roti, and all
Pattani food culture is interesting for it brings people together to enjoy good eating. There is happiness in their eyes as people meet and eat together in their favorite restaurants. If Roti, or Chapati, is your thing, you shouldn’t miss the Wae Mah Roti shop. It’s always full of people, but it’s worth a visit. There’s the slightly salty, crispy crunchy kind to suit every pleasure of taste. The best place no doubt, if you want to eat like locals do. And it’s inexpensive, too!
For a more modern atmosphere, there is Chaba Roti & Coffee located behind Mor Or (call sign of the Prince of Songkhla University at Pattani). It’s located on Samakkee Road Route B. Their famous tea recipes go together very well with Roti. A nice place to dine alfresco.
By the way, if strong tea is your thing, go to a small shop called Cha-Indo & Roti located on the same road. Right opposite from it stands Papa TaGu Restaurant that serves Khao Mok, the Thai Muslim version of Indian Biryahni. The fragrant yellow rice dish is served with chicken, fish, beef, or goat meat. All good. Take your pick. If you dine together as a group, it’s better to order trays of food and come away satisfied every time. You will love the Arab rice they use, which is perfectly fluffy and not sticky.
If the ambience of a restaurant is important in entertaining guests, we recommend Baan De Nara. Try out their signature yellow curry with mackerel and coconut milk. You may also like Solok, a traditional southern dish made of bell peppers stuffed with fish, shrimp, and a healthy dose of curry, a lesser-known recipe but delicious nonetheless.
Chinese food is meant to be savored and enjoyed. For that, we recommend London, an old restaurant widely admired for enchanting Chinese cuisine. Their highly pleasing recipes are on par with those that you get in Bangkok no doubt. But for a mouth-watering Rad-Na meal (stir-fried noodle with pork and kale soaked in gravy), go to Num Ros Restaurant, and you won’t be disappointed.
A Vibrant and Growing Scene of Art and Design
You may have heard of the Koleh boat that over time has come to symbolize culture and the way of life on the Malay Penninsula. But there is more to Pattani than just the Koleh boat.
Nowadays, at a continually increasing rate the young generation of Pattani has taken a keen interest in art and design. As a result, an art gallery called “Patani Art Space” was born. It has achieved its objective in promoting the works and ideas of up-and-coming young artists in the three southernmost provinces.
Over the past several years, their designs have received proper recognition. Take for example the Benjametha brand of ceramics, which earned a few DEmark design awards; the Batik of Baan De Nara, which some Japan buyers bought for Kimono making; and the Tlejourn brand of footwear that turned recycled ocean waste into products of quality and value.
The force behind this success was Rachit Radenahmad. He teamed up with Melayu Living, a local creative group. Together they succeeded in staging “Pattani Decoded”, the province’s first Design Week showcasing works by local artists, designers and community members in August 2019.
OTOP as Memento of Your Visit
Your adventures in Pattani are not complete without something to take home or a souvenir to remind you of your visit. For that, we recommend Roti Achiva, a local brand of crisped-to-perfection meals made by members of the Vocational College of Pattani. It’ so delicious it’s hard to stop eating. By the way, there’s another Roti brand called Miss Millah, which is also very good. It’s part of OTOP, an acronym for the “One Tambon, One Product” project. Take your pick. Or go for dried banana strips and fish flavored rice chips that are equally popular.
Jade has been cherished over many centuries. There is something about it to hold dear. The green ornamental stone is considered a lucky charm by the Chinese people. It symbolizes purity, kindness and virtue of moral good.
A part of people’s lives from time immemorial, jade has evolved into an artistic tradition. In China it has a specific connection with folk medicine and long-established cultural expressions.
Aficionados of jade shouldn’t miss a handicraft exhibition that’s taking place now at Siam Paragon. The focal point of the show is a beautifully handcrafted jade mat made of about 27,000 green stone beads. The exhibition known as “Design Nation” is happening until November 17.
The jade mat on display is designed by Panitsara Hongthanadecho and made by a team of highly skilled craftswomen from Myawaddi, Myanmar. The green stone is believed to have the power of giving delight and arousing admiration. It’s in demand for its spiritual and healing properties relating to traditional Chinese art and culture.
The 67-year-old designer is a Thai of Chinese descent, who grows sentimentally attached to everything jade. It’s easy to perceive the meaning of the green stone when she included a jade mat similar to the one on display among funeral objects for her mother recently.
She said that the green ornamental stone was believed to have positive energy. In ancient times, emperors and members of the Chinese nobility aspired to sleep in a bed filled with green stone beads threaded together to perfectly fit the bedstead, on which the mattress was placed.
Panitsara could still recall promising her Mom a jade beads mat ten years back. She searched and found a big block of jade, bought it in an auction, and had it cut to size. She received about 27,000 stone cubes, each measuring 10 millimeters.
She had them machined continuously for two days to achieve perfectly polished round stone beads. After that, they were threaded together. And the final outcome is beautiful beyond words, thanks to a team of highly skilled craftswomen she hired from Myawaddi, Myanmar, which is located across the river from Mae Sod District in Tak. As promised, she included the jade mat among other funeral objects for her Mom after she passed.
That’s just one of many interesting items on show now at Design Nation, on the second floor of Siam Paragon. The event is rich in exhibits from several countries including the Philippines, Italy, and those created right here in Thailand.
Whilst there, drop by the design market and attend workshops and seminars hosted by the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Lido Connect, Siam Center, Siam Discovery Center, and Siam Paragon.
Inspiring design creates meaningful first impressions. It adds value to a brand, and make the product and service memorable. That’s reason enough for a team of Thai designers and business owners to put their heads together and create furniture that gives a further boost to the spa, wellness, and health resort industry.
The team also get the help they need from the Institute for Small and Medium Enterprise Development (ISMED), a division of the Ministry of Industry; and the Creative Economy Agency (CEA), a public organization.
To introduce new design into their business, they work jointly with a select team of craftsmen from the Handicraft Retailers Group of Baan Tawai in Chiang Mai, the Furniture Carpenters Group of Sukhothai, and the Office of Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion (OSMEP).
The collaborative project aptly named “Crafted Journey” has Siriwan Tempati as team leader. Distinguished members include Rush Pleansuk of the design studio “Sumphat Gallery”, Sarinya Limthongtip of the “Srinlim” brand, and Sarisa Viraporn of the furniture store “Brezza Dee”.
The project debuted its products recently during the “Style Bangkok” event, and will go on show at the Chiang Mai Design Week 2019, which will take place on 7-15 December. Plenty of inspiring designs. See for yourself if you are in town during this time.
Who would have thought it! Discarded plastic bottles and jars could transform into cute whale-shaped napkin box covers. Not to mention water-saving glass drying trays for the kitchen. Plenty of fantastic ideas for modern home décor and accessories to make sure everything is organized and in place!
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Stoty: Samutcha Viraporn, Photo: Press
Disposable plastic bottles become trash after a single use. In the manufacturing process, some of them are discarded without seeing the light of day. The good news. Designers have come up with ingenious ideas to turn waste into products of better quality and higher value than the original. And the sky’s the limit.
Many transparent plastic bottles are made from a type of plastic called polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. What we don’t see is the plastic packaging that doesn’t make it to the shelf. In the manufacturing process, bottle samples are taken out and evaluated. By law, the plastic packaging that fails quality control testing cannot be recycled into bottles and jars again. So they become raw materials to make different types of goods instead.
The Qualy manufacturer brand, in collaboration with the beverage company Ichitan, is able to breathe new life into unusable industrial waste, turning it into reusable raw materials. Its main forte lies in design capabilities that turn unwanted materials into upcycled products that meet the higher expectations of modern customers.
Its expert skill in recycling earns it a reputation for creative new products for a chic home update. One of them is the cute whale-shaped napkin box cover called “Moby” that takes 28 recycled plastic bottles to make. It takes pride of place in the bathroom, or serves as a reusable plastic bag holder for the kitchen. Anyway only biodegradable plastic bags are recommended. The design is stimulated by whales that have died from plastic waste in their stomach. It’s the tip of the iceberg that reminds us all to use less plastic to protect the environment.
Also worthy of attention is the aptly named “Oasis Tray”, a drinking glass drying rack made from 56 recycled plastic bottles. It doubles as an irrigation system that supplies small amounts of water to houseplants.
Other interesting products include a beautiful array of indoor planters, each made from about 8 to 10 recycled PET bottles. Not to mention greenhouse supplies and cute containers designed to encourage people to start growing for a better, healthier home environment.
Together, they convey a rich and subtle message. Reduce plastic waste now, or turn it into new materials for creative reuse. After all, we still have plenty of discarded PET plastic packaging to deal with.
Tlejourn is the brainchild of Dr. Nattapong Nithi-Uthai of the Rubber Tech and Polymer Science Department, Faculty of Science and Technology, Prince of Songkhla University at Pattani. He’s co-founder of Trash Hero Pattani, an active environmental group in southern Thailand.
Trash Hero Pattani is the spearhead of a program that collects waste materials washing onto beaches every Wednesday. A lot happens from there. First, marine trash is separated into two categories. Then, non-recyclable items are put through the proper channels, while rubber parts from old shoes, boat fenders and side protectors are converted into reusable raw materials. The recycling process includes reducing them to fine particles and putting them through a heated press to make rubber mats. They become the raw material from which Tlejourne sandals and other products are made.
Besides its in-house footwear industry, Tlejourn also supplies reusable raw materials to leading manufacturers, among them the Thai-American designer Pring Paris. Tlejourn footwear products are available at Soda, one of Thailand’s well-known fashion houses.
The brand also offers women’s shoes by means of co-branding with the designer group Muzina of Japan. Known as Muzina x Tlejourn, their joint products recently made its world debut in a fashion show that was part of the annual Tokyo Fashion Week. Tlejourn is collaborating with the shoe manufacturer Nanyang to offer the Khya brand of sandals made from recycled ocean waste and materials left over from the industry.
On the future of the natural environment, Dr. Nattapong said: “We know that in the next three decades, ocean trash could be more numerous than marine life. In three months, Trash Hero Thailand volunteers collect more than 80 tons of trash washing onto beaches, of which about 8 tons are old shoes and other footwear that people have discarded.
“In the last four years we sold more than a hundred thousand shoes. As a result of that, a half of ocean trash have disappeared from local area beaches. but heaps of refuse remained. It’s an almost incredible tale of a waste crisis. Everything is on a grand scale. By making Tlejourn footwear out of recycled ocean waste, we join other environmental groups in a wider effort to rid the ocean of discarded materials. It’s a formidable challenge. Everyone can chip in to make the problem go away, and we are campaigning to turn those heaps of ocean waste into creative products, not just shoes.”
Needless to say Tlejourn has turned crisis into opportunity. As countries in the ASEAN membership struggle to cut down waterborne debris, each and every one of us must do our share of the joint campaign. Let’s make the sea beautiful again.
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2019 published by the World Economic Forum shows the ASEAN collectively scores 3.8 out of 7 on factors that contribute to the environmental sustainability of the T&T industry. In spite of that, the Region has an advantage over North Africa in price competitiveness.
All things considered, Singapore is ranked number 17 in the world. Malaysia comes in at 29, Thailand 31, Indonesia 40, and Vietnam 63. Brunei Darussalam ranks number 72, and the Philippines 75 while Lao PDR and Cambodia take number 97 and 98, respectively. Myanmar is not analyzed in the 140- country/economy report. Interesting results:
Environmental Sustainability, and Natural Resources
Individually Thailand, Indonesia, Lao PDR, and Cambodia score lower than the regional average of 3.8 on factors contributing to the sustainable development of the T&T sector. Interestingly Thailand gains 4.8 in natural resources management, outscoring the global average after its decision to close the famous Maya Bay to allow coral restoration and marine life recovery in the Phi Phi Islands National Park.
Air Transport Infrastructure, and Human Resources
Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand also outscore the global average in air transport infrastructure, and human resources/labor market. However, there’s still room for improvement in their ground and port infrastructure.
Business Environment, Safety and Security, Health and Hygiene
Cambodia fares badly in world average rankings, especially in infrastructure and factors contributing to the business environment, safety and security, as well as health and hygiene.
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report provides a valuable tool for policy-makers and businesses to anticipate emerging trends in global T&T industry. For the ASEAN Region, it’s a key engine of growth. The role of tourism is obvious in the Thai economy. The country saw a record 38.3 million tourists in 2018, up 7.5% from 2017. Another 41 million visitors are expected in 2019. Meantime, a Mastercard survey placed Bangkok number one city on the Global Destination Cities Index for the third time in 2018.
Once you get to know it better, you will find Pattani is really quite interesting. A design week aptly named “Pattani Decoded” took place from 29 August to 1 September 2019. Living ASEAN is on location to file this report.
“Pattani Decoded” is the perfect example of an esprit de corps among the city’s handpicked architects, designers and people in the community. It celebrates the richness of diverse cultural heritage and history that gives this southern town its character.
The show transforms the streets of Pattani into an outdoor gallery featuring design and architectural masterpieces. They rekindle old memories from the time of King Rama III to the Japanese invasion of Thailand during World War II and important events in recent history. The cool places to visit are on Pattanipirom, Anoaru, and Ruedi raods in Pattani Old Town, a melting pot where peoples of Thai, Chinese, and Malay descent are mixed together.
The Old Town that’s the historic heart of Pattani is alive and well today. People use their artistic abilities and creativity to liven up buildings and improve their neighborhoods. They give locals and tourists hope for the future. Favorite things to do include a journey on foot through the Old Town, a boat ride on the Pattani River, and a visit to the official residence of the first governor of Pattani.
The highlight event is an exhibition by a group called “Pattani Art Space”. Meantime, art enthusiasts have the opportunity of meeting up with luminaries such as Dr. Singh Intrachooto, Boonserm Premthada, and Saran Yen Panya. More fun events include an architectural design competition, Chef Table demos by famous restaurants, retail businesses, live music as well as workshops on shoemaking from waste materials by Tlejourn, Lepus fabric making by Benjametha, and discussions on great works of literature.
Why called it “Pattani Decoded”? Rachit Radenahmad, leader of the organizer group “Melayu Living”, replied: “We want locals to know that design is something close at hand, something within their reach. Meantime, this land abounds with good things. Going forward, people need to mix design with their beautiful cultural heritage. In so doing, they convert coded messages into intelligible language.
“We manage to get locals to participate in showcasing their homes or other places of residence. People are energized by the idea, and the show draws the biggest response both in Pattani and nearby provinces. We have so many good things here that people sometimes take for granted. The region may be known for violence, but art is always in the heart of everyone. That’s the message we are sending to the world outside.”
By all accounts it’s a well-thought-out design festival despite certain limitations. The show is giving talented architects, designers and students a chance to showcase the beauty, charm and adventure of Pattani to the world outside. At the end of the day, it’s about getting people to change their point of view, visit the historic southern town, and come away impressed.
Bye-Bye Plastic Straws / Our love affair with plastic straws used for drinking from a glass and bottle is being replaced by something new.
A company in Vietnam has introduced eatable straws made from rice flour. Bali has banned them along with plastic takeout containers and single-use plastic bags. Laos is witnessing an increase in drinking straws made of sustainable materials while some supermarket chains in Thailand have done away with plastic bags entirely.
The message is clear. Reduce plastic waste and its environmental impact. Here are some interesting developments across the region.
In December 2018 Bali announced legislation to prohibit plastic straws, plastic takeout containers as well as single-use plastic bags and utensils. After a six-month grace and considerable opposition, the ban officially went into effect on June 23, 2019. It’s seen as part of a wider effort at reducing plastic waste by 70% in the long run. As a result, waxed paper straws have replaced those made of plastic. Some hotels on the paradise island even serve beverages with glass tubes instead. Interestingly, the fight against plastic waste started in earnest five years ago when two teenage siblings, Isabel and Melati Wijsen, launched a campaign called “Bye-Bye Plastic Bags” to raise public awareness of the impact of pollution.
Elsewhere, a company in Laos has introduced drinking straws made of sustainable materials such as bamboo and stalks of a reed. A factory in Vietnam is making eatable straws out of rice flour in much the same way as pasta is made. Its thin, hollow tubes are firm and stable in shape for up to half an hour. Similarly, drinking straws made from morning glory stalks are offered by specialized restaurants in Vietnam and Thailand.
To save the ocean from trash, some supermarket chains in Thailand have stopped giving out single-use plastic bags. Among them, three Tesco Lotus stores on Chang Island have done away with plastic bags entirely.
Across the globe, in March 2019 the European Parliament voted 560-35 to approve a ban on disposable plastic products from 2021. In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would prohibit single-use plastics starting 2021. Prior to that, in July 2018 Seattle became the first US city to ban plastic straws, plastic stirrers and disposable plastic utensils, while the New York City Council also introduced legislation to ban plastic straws by 2020.