Furniture Ideas for Spa and Health Resorts

Furniture Ideas for Spa and Health Resorts

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).

Good design matters to the spa and health resort industry. This “Crafted Journey” furniture set is a product of collaboration with the Handicraft Retailers Group of Baan Tawai in Chiang Mai and the Furniture Carpenters Group of Sukhothai.
Beautifully crafted of rain-tree wood, these duo planters are inspired by flower garland pendants. – From Rungnirand. Designed by Sarisa Viraporn.
“Dwelling of Satisfaction”, a lighted curio cabinet set with antique finish and handy hints about the Thai way. — From Nantiya Décor. Designed by Rush Pleansuk.

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.

Designed to blend in with a round lounge chair, this rope weave partition can be set up vertically or horizontally. — From Chakriya. Designed by Rush Pleansuk.
A two-piece celadon tea set portraying mountain scenery and geometric shape art. — From Chiang Mai Celadon. Designed by Sarinya Limthongtip.
A handcrafted mirror frame inspired by lotuses in full bloom. Lotuses are symbols of purity. — From Bamboosay Craft. Designed by Sarisa Viraporn.
A set of table and curio cabinet gets its inspiration from stupas and other Buddhist shrines around the ancient capital Sukhothai. – From the Wood Handicrafts Cooperative of Baan Ram Yai. Designed by Sarisa Viraporn.
“Pigoon Sri”, antique inspired lanterns with a bullet-wood floral pattern on stained glass casing — From Mai Goft. Designed by Sarisa Viraporn.
“Chabaprai”, a set of stackable accessory containers handcrafted the old-fashioned way, available in both wood stain and color paint. – From Chabaprai. Designed by Sarinya Limthongtip.
“Trayble” is a set of table and tray crafted of teak. The wood tray can detach from the tabletop when needed. — From Baurieo. Designed by Sarisa Viraporn.
Round tables with complementing lounge chair and antique armoire present a relaxing provincial ensemble in the parlor designed for receiving guests.
10 ASEAN Projects Win A+ Awards in Architecture

10 ASEAN Projects Win A+ Awards in Architecture

Our warmest congratulations to architects from the ASEAN on winning ten A+ Awards in architecture for 2019. Their outstanding works include six projects from Thailand, plus one each from Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia.


Story: Samutcha Viraporn / Photo: Architizer

Hosted by the online architecture community, the A+ Awards come in two categories; “Jury Winners” which are handpicked by reputable judges, and “Popular Choice Winners” judged by public votes. The ten A+ Award winners from the ASEAN are:


Commercial / Office – Low Rise (1-4 Floors)

IDIN Architects Office / Designed by IDIN Architects, Thailand

Popular Choice Winner

The home of IDIN Architects Co, Ltd is arranged in three parts; the office, the business owner’s residential unit, and a café open to the public. It’s a layout that strikes the right balance between privacy and the busy movement in Bangkok’s Ratchadapisek neighborhood. The low-rise building sits peacefully ensconced in a lush oasis. Its blackened exterior is covered in Japanese Yakisugi, cypress plank cladding traditionally charred to enhance a natural appeal. The café on the ground floor boasts a touch of Modernism that’s evident in a beautiful mix of steel, glass and concrete component parts.


Commercial / Showrooms

Organicare Showroom / Designed by Tropical Space, Vietnam

Popular Choice Winner

Tropical Space is an architectural firm expert in old-fashioned brick construction. Their project involved converting a 1975 brick building into a modern showroom for fish sauces and homegrown brands of organic products. Steel frames and bricks are the main materials used to improve interior and exterior design, as well as create shelving to suit every display need.


Concepts / Plus-Architecture + For Good

Heartware Network / Designed by DP Architects, Singapore

Popular Choice Winner

Promoting team spirits among youth organization volunteers, the design by DP Architects creates a platform of cooperation and change in behavior conducive to a positive environment that lies at the core of the Heartware Network. Its engagement ideas have enabled the charitable youth organization to connect with more than 1,500 young people per year.


Concepts / Plus-Architecture + Living Small

3500-Millimeter House / Designed by AGo Architects, Indonesia

Popular Choice Winner

A building 3.5 meters wide and 17 meters long is home to an architect, his wife and a son. The house walls, staircase and built-in furniture share the rigid supporting structures that enclose them. The façade that stands facing West is built of perforated metal sheets and polycarbonates to protect from the summer sun. Clever design ensures the interior living space is well lit and airy.


Concepts / Plus-Architecture + Renovation

Kloem Hostel / Designed by IF (Integrated Field), Thailand

Jury Winner

Kloem Hostel is built by combining three adjacent old houses into a single entity. The two Thai houses at either end are beautifully renovated. The building at the center transforms into a loft that serves as common area and relaxed hangout reminiscent of the Thai lifestyle in former times.


Details / Plus-Architecture + Facades

Little Shelter Hotel / Designed by Department of Architecture, Thailand

Popular Choice Winner

A small hotel in Chiang Mai boasts a façade that’s reminiscent of fine crafts. The calm and beautiful face gets its inspiration from wooden roof tiles that are symbolic of Northern architecture in olden days. A reinterpretation of handicrafts in a modern context, the intricate design of wood and polycarbonates adds a unique charm to the principal front overlooking a street.


Hospitality / Hotels & Resorts

Bunjob House: House of Flow / Designed by NPDA Studio, Thailand

Jury Winner

The Bunjob House is a vacation destination nestled in a family-owned coconut grove on beautiful Pha-ngan Island in the Gulf of Thailand. Its façade consists of curved concrete slabs that draw cool breezes from the ocean resulting in thermal comfort in the interior living spaces. The slabs also protect the building during a thunderstorm. Casings made of coconut trees leave their marks on the concrete texture that blends into the natural surroundings.


Residential / Apartments

Hachi Serviced Apartment / Designed by Octane Architect & Design, Thailand

Popular Choice Winner

The project’s most outstanding feature is the façade that’s designed to promote a healthy home life despite being in an apartment complex. The exterior architecture of the building reflects well on the type of design, balance and symmetry of the interior space.


Residential / Private House (XL >5000 sq ft)

Cloister House / Designed by Formwerkz Architects, Malaysia

Jury Winner

The design gets its inspiration from the courtyard house typical of long established Chinese architecture. Adapted to blend with modern tropical style, the layout consists of a framework of nine regularly spaced rooms partially open to connect with the outdoors. The building in Johor state, southern Malaysia occupies 45,000 square feet.


Residential / Interiors

Y/A/O Residence / Designed by Octane Architect & Design, Thailand

Popular Choice Winner

Increased natural light provides the perfect focal point in the interior reminiscent of the house with a courtyard. It’s a great way to let light create depth in the interior space. The project consists of three separate buildings; a two-level house, guest accommodation building, and car garage.


For a complete list of winners of the 2019 Architizer A+ Awards, please visit:

Kawita Vatanajyankur, Great Performance Brings Afternoon Tea to Life

Kawita Vatanajyankur, Great Performance Brings Afternoon Tea to Life

 A cup of tea in the afternoon is an excuse to share great thoughts with like-minded friends. Even better if the elixir of life is served fresh while live performance art is happening in real time. And right before your eyes, you fall in love with the show. It just goes to show the close-knit relationship between two artistic disciplines – visual arts and culinary talents.

/// THAILAND ///
Story and video: Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul, Singhanart Nakpongphun and PR material 

“Knit” 2018, a performance art show visualizing hardships women face in society
“Knit” 2018, a performance art show visualizing hardships women face in society

Kawita Vatanajyankur, one of six must-see artists in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, is renowned for using video art to raise concerns about major issues in society and the exploitation of women, more specifically women’s rights abuse. The young homegrown artist calls attention to the problems by putting her body through various situations in the workplace that involve real pain and suffering.

Through painstaking attention to detail, Kawita sends a strong message that women deserve respect for doing backbreaking jobs in society. Her works characterized by vivid colors portray a woman as part of weaving machines, dyeing processes in the textile industry, and unending house work that includes cooking, cleaning and laundry. Over time, the power of enduring unpleasant situations crystalizes into a style that’s her signature as we know it.

Like a shuttle on the loom, the artist puts her body in an imaginary knitting machine to portray real pain and suffering that women face in society.
Like a shuttle on the loom, the artist puts her body in an imaginary knitting machine to portray real pain and suffering that women face in society.

Kawita Vatanajyankur, a rising star on Thailand’s thriving art scene, gave a live performance at an afternoon tea event hosted by the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok on January 11, 2019. Aptly named “Knit”, the show turned out to be quite a departure from her previous performances both in form and content. Only this time it focused on the power of visual storytelling as a means of highlighting hardship, solitude and experience that played a role in shaping people’s lives.

The artist likened human life experience to interlocking loops of wool or yarn knitted together to form an item of clothing. The stage on which she performed was bordered by 11 poles depicting an imaginary machine used in making knitted garments. Spun thread in bright red color twisted and wound around her evoked memories of a shuttle being thrown back and forth in the course of textile weaving. Only this time the shuttle was a human being – the artist herself.

Reports had it that the artist had gone through countless rehearsals to bring the show to perfection. The practice involved strenuous work, physical and mental fatigue, and many long hours. In the end, the audience responded with a big round of applause for the artistic talent, energy and strength that she displayed in the show that went on 60minutes.

Kawita makes art while afternoon tea is served at the Peninsula Bangkok.
Kawita makes art while afternoon tea is served at the Peninsula Bangkok.
The Knit Afternoon Tea menu is made exclusively for the show at the Peninsula Bangkok
The Knit Afternoon Tea menu is made exclusively for the show at the Peninsula Bangkok

Nothing compares to an hour reserved for afternoon tea. With a cup of tea in their hands, audience members enjoy the best of both worlds – a tea culture that looks aesthetically pleasing, and an art show that’s impressive, powerful and thought provoking.

Pastry chef Nicolas Pelloie has every reason to be very pleased. | Photo courtesy of the Peninsula Bangkok
Pastry chef Nicolas Pelloie has every reason to be very pleased. | Photo courtesy of the Peninsula Bangkok
Executive Chef Stefan Leitner, the face of leadership at the Peninsula Bangkok. | Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun
Executive Chef Stefan Leitner, the face of leadership at the Peninsula Bangkok. | Photo: Singhanart Nakpongphun

Sharing his experience, the Peninsula’s Executive Chef Stefan Leitner said, “To get the inspiration that we needed in the course of designing the menu for the show, our team of chefs spent some of their time each day looking at rolls of yarn and stage props for weeks. It just goes to show that well thought-out themed menus can go hand in hand with visual arts shows, which include the live performance that’s happening today. The result is a perfect marriage of two artistic disciplines.”

Members of the audience are able to experience the performance up-close. The event is recorded on videotape and the guests who attend the Afternoon Tea all become actors and actresses for the day. Footage of the performance will be used in a video art production for future shows abroad. In the end, the show becomes a stage, and everyone plays a role, this writer included.

The artist said in a post-performance interview, “I want societies to appreciate the roles that women play especially in the textile industry, in which women account for between 80 and 85 percent of the sector’s workforce worldwide. When we buy an item of clothing, oftentimes we think of the brand name and machinery that goes into making it look good. We hardly ever think of the little people who work on the production line. The exploitation of women and girls must end. I want societies to turn their attention to the problem. My message is that everyone is worthy of being treated fairly, the little people included.”

The 2018 Bangkok Art Biennale’s CEO and Artistic Director Dr. Apinan Poshyananda addresses honor guests at the end of the “Knit” live performance by artist Kawita Vatanajyankur.

Speaking to honor guests at the end of the show, the Bangkok Art Biennale’s CEO and Artistic Director Dr. Apinan Poshyananda said: “I can feel for her. It’s hard work. And it just goes to prove the artist’s perseverance with, and commitment to, a purpose and everything she has stood for in a fight against gender inequality. It tires me out to watch Kawita try with everything she has, her hands, her feet, even her mouth. The artist puts her body through hardships and pain twisting and winding thread around the 11 poles that symbolize the machine used in making knitted garments. In a way, it reminds us of many challenges that we must overcome in our work life.”

“Knit” is the latest edition of Kawita’s live performance series known as “Performing Textiles”. The series also includes 4 video art productions, all of which are on show at the East Asiatic Building now until February 3, 2019. They are the following:

“Dye”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“Dye”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“The Spinning Wheel”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“The Spinning Wheel”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“Shuttle”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“Shuttle”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“Untangled”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist
“Untangled”, a live performance by Kawita Vatanajyankur | Photo courtesy of the artist

“Knit” has been dubbed one of the must-see art exhibits as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. The live performance by artist Kawita Vatanajyankur is held in the Lobby of the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok every Saturday in January from 1530 to 1630 hours. The show runs until Saturday February 2, 2019. Everyone is invited, and it’s free. But if you prefer to watch the show and enjoy the pleasure of Afternoon Tea service at the same time, the ticket is 1,400++ Baht for two persons. The Peninsula Hotel Bangkok’s Afternoon Tea service is in such high demands that reservations are required. To make a reservation, the number to call is 02 020 2888 or by email at

Apart from the Peninsula Hotel Bangkok, amazing works of art by Kavita Vatanajyankur are also on show at the Central World Shopping Center, the Emquartier Mall, the Theatre of Indulgence, and the East Asiatic Building now until February 3, 2019

Are We Living Life, or Just Playing Parts? In Conversation with Marina Abramovic

Are We Living Life, or Just Playing Parts? In Conversation with Marina Abramovic

A large crowd of art lovers queued up to get into Siam Pavalai, the Royal Grand Theater at Siam Paragon. Like everyone else, I had my ticket to the event ready for inspection. I could sense the atmosphere was filled with enthusiasm and energy. People were excited about the prospect of a vis-à-vis with Marina Abramovic, the icon of live performance art and living legend. Dubbed one of the most influential personalities to date, the 72-year-old Serbian artist and writer apparently was doing extremely well.

/// THAILAND ///
Story : Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photography: Anupong Chaisukkasem

Inside, the sound of Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy brought the Royal Grand Theater to life.  As the beautiful piano music played, a slide show evoked the images of museumgoers taking it in turns to sit across the table from Marina Abramovic and look her in the eye. The artist was still and silent for the duration of the marathon live performance. The show brought a series of flashbacks of “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present”, her solo exhibition hosted by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York back in 2010.

Taking a quick look around, I saw people both local and foreign gradually being ushered to their seats while dimming lights signaled that something was about to happen. Clair de Lune, French for moonlight, seemed quieter now setting the scene for the show.

Lights were back on as Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Chair and Artistic Director of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, appeared on stage to deliver a speech making the opening of the show. He said the event coincided with one of the most important public holidays on Thailand’s calendar.

October 23, known as King Chulalongkorn Day, is observed nationwide in loving memories of the fifth monarch of the House of Chakri, who passed in 1910. The day also remembers his first official visit to Europe that took place 121 years ago. It was with mixed emotions knowing the journey also took him to Venice, Italy back in the day. Nowadays the “City of Canals” is home to one of the most celebrated art destinations in the world. La Biennale di Venezia, or the Venice Biennale, was founded in 1895 and have since become the model for other shows worldwide.

Out in the streets, it was raining heavily, but inside the Royal Grand Theater was filled to capacity to the point extra seats had to be provided to accommodate larger-than-expected crowds of art lovers. The Kingdom’s inaugural art festival, known as the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, began on 19 October and would run until 3 February 2019. The period saw more than 200 masterpieces by 75 renowned artists both local and international being on display at 20 landmark destinations throughout the city.

No stranger to Thailand’s artists circle, Abramovic was a visiting lecturer at Chulalongkorn University back in 2000 and since then has become fascinated with Thai culture. She was among the first world famous artists to accept the invitation to partake in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. Abramovic began her art career in the early 1970’s in Belgrade, in what was then Yugoslavia. Active for nearly 50 years, she won the Golden Lion Award for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale for her video installation titled “Balkan Baroque”.

The 2018 art festival in Bangkok offered the opportunity of experiencing the amazing works of Marina Abramovic, which included “Standing Structures for Human Use”, a live installation exhibit that looked into the power of silent communication and invited viewer participation. The other show, known as “Method”, was an experimental piece about the state of being present in time and space. It was presented by a team of artists from the Marina Abramovic Institute (MIA), which focused on durational works.

“Standing Structures for Human Use” is a collection of five wood poles in the upright position and adorned with crystals, each one unique in its own special way. Intended for viewers to practice meditation, the live installation is happening daily at BAB Box @ One Bangkok on Rama V Road now until February 3, 2109.

The artist said that a lot of work had gone into the making of the exhibit. There was a time she traveled as far away as Brazil to search out crystals that would be the most suitable for a show, in which she wanted viewers to participate. She could still recall many long hours sleeping on a bench inside a remote Brazilian mine. She searched among the rocks looking for clear minerals believed to have healing powers. The rest of the time was spent searching out new ideas for future art making. In retrospect, the long, arduous travel into the woods has had far-reaching effects on her art. It was a spiritual journey that went beyond traveling to work.

The fun started here. The moment Marina Abramovic entered the stage, she asked people in the audience to close their eyes and breathe in and out normally in sync with the rhythm she was giving. After 12 times, she told everyone to slowly open their eyes. Like a wow moment, it felt like the beginning of a new day, one that culminated in a rendezvous with a celebrity artist.

“Welcome to the present,” said the artist. A succinct opening remark directed the audience attention to something like we’ve got far better things to do than dwell in the past. Neither would we think about the future still to come. Marina Abramovic proceeded to outline three activities she wanted to talk about in that evening conversation. As she spoke, eight young performers who had undergone training with MAI appeared on stage. Like a scene of walking meditation, they lined up one after another behind her and began treading very slowly without making a sound. And it went on for the duration of her talk.

Abramovic speaks as young performers tread the stage slowly and quietly behind her.
Abramovic speaks as young performers tread the stage slowly and quietly behind her.

Abramovic said the eight performers had successfully completed training at an MAI workshop aimed at getting their minds ready for show. Like a long, arduous journey, they gave live performances eight hours daily and the exhibit continued for three weeks at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BAAC). It began on 19 October and ended on 11 November as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. From a wide field of hundreds of applicants, Abramovic handpicked only eight, among them Thai performance artist Thavisak Moolasawat.

The crux of the matter was a workshop on performance and material art, which the artist referred to as “Cleaning the House”. During training, participants went through different phases of intense activity. Some exercises involved the practice of walking very slowly that could go on for several hours. The focus was on breathing, motion, stillness and concentration of the mind, a method developed over several decades to prepare a select group of performers for long durational art exhibits.

Performance art is an exhibit presented to an audience within a fine art context. It can be performed live or shown via media. Abramovi said durational performances required a lot of physical and mental strengths and willpower to succeed. She said performance art, which could be art of any discipline, was different from acting or playing parts in stage or other productions, where actors and actresses assumed a different persona or put on a disguise. Quite the contrary, performance art was about living life and being who you were and what you stood for. A durational art performer was not performing a fictional role in any stage or screen production. The Cleaning the House workshop is about resetting the body, the fresh-and-blood living being, and preparing the mind to face the challenges in life.

Abramovic explains the idea behind the Cleaning the House Workshop.
Abramovic explains the idea behind the Cleaning the House Workshop.

The slow walking exercise soon changed to stillness where performers paired up and looked each other in the face. It was soundless, motionless and without response of any kind. They tried not to blink, because any shutting and opening of the eyes could result in losing a focus on the matter at hand. The show was modelled on a previous performance by Abramovic titled “The Artist is Present”, which was hosted by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York in 2010.

The work of a lifetime
The work of a lifetime

Then came the moment of Abramovic’s work of a lifetime. A public declaration of her life and works appeared on the screen behind her. The artist said the formal announcement and listing of works she has performed from the past to the present has meant a lot to her. The same applied to any career, whether it be singer, songwriter, or authors and whatnots. Her life manifesto just went to show who she was and what she believed in.

After asking the performers to change from looking each other in the face to standing still with their eyes closed, Abramovic began reading her life manifesto clearly and slowly one item at a time. Some items were repeated many times over, especially ones that said an artist shouldn’t behave like a star, and that depression had no benefit for anyone pursuing an art career.

There was a big round of applause when she said: “Never should an artist fall in love with another artist.” She was speaking from life experience, subtly alluding to a romantic relationship with Uwe Laysiepen, also known as Ulay, her German partner and artistic collaborator. It was one of the most meaningful aspects of life and sources of deep fulfilment and companionship that had strong influence on her art during the 1980’s.

Abramovic reading her life manifesto
Abramovic reading her life manifesto

The meeting concluded with a Q&A session, in which the artist invited people to ask about anything. Sure enough, there were a lot of questions from members of the audience, both local and international. One of them harked back to a witty remark Abramovic had made earlier in the show, which said: “Never should an artist fall in love with another artist?”

To which, she answered from experience that apparently artists tended to have a lot in common. Their spirits and natural instinctive states of mind tended to be too similar. It was especially good from the get-go. Two artists could be ideally suited to each other, but rarely did it translate into living life together happily ever after. Exceptions were few and far in between. This writer thought the same applied to relationships in other professions, too. Don’t you think? Click this link to share your thoughts with us.

Without a doubt, Abramovic has been held in high esteem the world over. The long spiritual journey to respect and admiration must have taught her something. This writer finally got around to asking her what was it that had the most influence on her art.

This writer stands up for vis-à-vis with Marina Abramovic.
This writer stands up for vis-à-vis with Marina Abramovic.

Abramovic answered: “It was Rhythm 0.” She was referring to a solo live performance she staged at age 23. She could still recall it was one of the most challenging performances in her lifetime as artist. It was a test of the limits of the relationship between performer and audience. Between the artist and members of the audience, there were 72 objects that she put on the table. People were allowed to use any one of them in any way they chose, among them a rose, a feather, honey, scissors, a knife, even a pistol loaded with one bullet. The performance last six hours, during which her body sustained several injuries that brought out the dark side of human nature. Needless to say she felt really violated. Since then, Abramovic has spent more than four decades researching and developing spiritual and material art as tools to promote the positive traits of humankind.

The inaugural art festival saw the icon of live performances work non-stop for more than three weeks in Thailand, the longest visit she has ever made to a country she has grown fondest of.

The Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 began on 19 October and runs until 3 February 2019. There are 20 locations city-wide that play host to more than 200 masterpieces from all disciplines. In all, 75 artists from 34 countries across the globe are taking part in a joint effort to turn Bangkok into one of the world’s most sought-after art destinations.

The moment this writer has been waiting for, the opportunity of meeting the artist up-close and picking up a book with her autograph on it. | Photo courtesy of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
This writer’s most treasured possession

This writer told Marina Abramovic that he wanted more than just an autograph. He would really appreciate an inspiration, especially to do something creative. And the artist scribbled something resembling two mathematical expressions being equal. This writer then asked her what she meant by it. With a smile, she answered in a clever and amusing way: “Infinity plus infinity, then on one knows the answer.” Aha! I’ve got it.

BAB Box, Creative Space for Art Lovers

BAB Box, Creative Space for Art Lovers

Passing by a futuristic real estate development on Wireless Road named “One Bangkok,” you’ll notice three large art works on the grass lawn, and not far away a boxlike two-storey rectangular building tagged with the name “BAB Box.” We’re seriously suggesting you check it out.

/// THAILAND ///
Story and video: Taliw /// Photography: Wara Suttiwan

A lot of folks know that BAB Box is one of the international contemporary art festival “Bangkok Art Biennale 2018” sites, and indeed it is. But you might not know that BAB Box is more than simply an exhibition space.

“…We’d like everyone to have the time, space, and interest to come experience this that we call ‘joyous, energetic art,’ or ‘beyond bliss.’ Easy enough to hear us say it, but maybe harder to actually do it.”

—Professor Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Bangkok Art Biennale

BAB Box is the command center for Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. It’s a creative space for art lovers to stop by and swoon. It’s a place to meet, a tourist destination, and a location for amazing world-class art. Perhaps most important, BAB Box tells us Bangkok will continue to host of international contemporary festivals in the future. This last is true for at least two more events.

We were lucky enough to speak with Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, who told us, “Bangkok Art Biennale will be here at least three times: this one (2018-19), next year (2020), and again in 2022. Since this will involve continuity and long-term planning, I thought we should have a designated Bangkok Art Biennale location, and that’s how BAB Box came to be.”

After the first Bangkok Art Biennale showing pulls up stakes in February, art activities will continue: films, performances, workshops. This is to be a creative space, providing elements of knowledge to Bangkok communities. On looking around it became apparent that this was a perfect place to hold activities for artists and art lovers.

BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Name: The Adventure of Sinxay, from the Hooptam Laos – Thai Group
BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Name: L’enfer, c’est les autres (Hell is the others), by Natee Utarit

“So . . . what were the selection criteria for the art works shown at BAB, and BAB Box in particular?” Dr. Apinan replied, “Our theme is ‘Joyous Energy, the Power of Art,’ or more simply ‘Beyond Bliss.’ Here is just one of the 20 exhibition sites, but this one is special in that we created it specifically for this showing.

“The idea was to draw out famous Thai and foreign artists to present here. We set it up to international standards of temperature and humidity control, security, and numbers of visitors. We had long discussions about the art, and were looking especially for content dealing with history and diverse cultures coming into contact and interacting with each other.”

BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Animal Kingdom; Artist CANAN
BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Standing Structures for Human Use; Artist: Marina Abramović
BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Inverso Mundus; Artist: AES+F

BAB Box is a two-storey building full of open space. The first story contains the work Animal Kingdom by the Turkish artist CANAN. Next to it is Happy Happy Project: Love Me Pig I, by Choi Jeong Hwa of Korea.

The second floor showings are from a diverse selection of artists, beginning with The Adventure of Sinxay, a painting by Hooptam Laos – Thai. Walking deeper in we find wooden columns and crystals, interactive installation art entitled Standing Structures for Human Use, by famous artist Marina Abramović, followed by a canvas oil painting from Thai artist Natee Utarit entitled Allegory of the End and Resistance, and a video piece projected on three large screens by the Russian collective AES+F called Inverso Mundus.

BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Happy Happy Project: Breathing Flower, Artist: Choi Jeong Hwa
Happy Happy Project: Fruit Tree, Artist: Choi Jeong Hwa
BAB BOX at One Bangkok
Your Dog, Artist: Yoshitomo Nara

BAB Box isn’t merely a gallery limited to showing art works, but also a creative space. We can enjoy hanging out at the BAB Café, to sit, rest, sip our favorite drinks, hand in hand with the charm of the surrounding art.

“We think of it as a space to relax and contemplate the art we’ve seen, Thai or foreign, and talk about it. It’s a coffee house! Maybe after exercising in the park you’ll stop by of an the evening and drink something. There’s even a roof deck, perfect for shooting the breeze,” said Dr. Apinan.

BAB Café is an open space design accessible from above, with tables, chairs, and sofas, set out to accommodate customers in a simple atmosphere whose charm comes from choice of materials, dark colors, and a design pleasantly compatible with the overall BAB Box ambiance. And there’s a nice, diverse food menu you’ll want to check out.

BAB Café

The food on the menu is enticing, starting with a Ham & Cheese Panini (185 baht), warm toasted bread stuffed with ham and cheese, delicious fresh vegetables on the side: simple, but pleasingly mellow. Or there’s a Smoked Salmon Croissant (215 baht): salmon is stuffed into a freshly baked croissant and served with French fries. Don’t ignore the Caesar Salad (155 baht), made up of fresh, fresh vegetables with a side of crispy fried bacon.

Drinks? BAB Café has a nice variety, starting with basic coffee, but on to innovative tastes such as Mintchee (135 baht), a blended drink mixing lychee with mint leaves for an incredibly refreshing and cooling taste. You might want to sip some Strawberry Soda (85 baht), colorful and sweet (with a hidden sour) from strawberry syrup and a splash of soda, topped with a fresh strawberry. And there’s lemon or lime tea (125 baht), known by all, favorite of many.

• Address: One Bangkok, Wireless Road (MRT Lumphini)
• Time: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., closed Sunday
• FB:

Bangkok Art Biennale is held between October 19, 2018 and February 3, 2019 at 20 locations in Bangkok.

Rubbing Elbows with Celebrity Artists at BAB 2018

Rubbing Elbows with Celebrity Artists at BAB 2018

Like reading works by well-known authors, meeting celebrity guests and hanging out with them can be an enchanting experience. The unthinkable happens. We have the opportunity of an interview with the famous Scandinavian duo whose work, “Zero” 2018, has come to symbolize cordial relations between old Siam and far-away lands in the Nordic Seas. Life is more fun when shared with friends. So, we bring you this pictorial.

/// THAILAND ///
Story and video: Singhanart Nakpongphun /// Photographs: Methee Samantong, Singhanart Nakpongphun 

Michael Elmgreen and his collaborator Ingar Dragset were recently in town to partake in the 20th edition of BAB Talk. Their work, a towering installation crafted of stainless steel, debuted at an exclusive party held in their honor in front of the historic East Asiatic Building. Our Living ASEAN team had great conversations with them and came away very impressed.

Silhouetted against the western skies, “Zero” 2018 resembles the circumference of a swimming pool set vertically by the water’s edge. It stands 8.2 meters tall in front of the Renaissance Revival building that’s among 20 locations participating in the art festival. The first edition of the Bangkok Art Biennale, known as “Beyond Bliss”, began last October 19 and runs until February 3, 2109.

Silhouetted against the western skies, “Zero” 2018 is an architectural installation by the Scandinavian duo Elmgreen and Dragset.
Silhouetted against the western skies, “Zero” 2018 is an architectural installation by the Scandinavian duo Elmgreen and Dragset.
Sporting a “Zero” T-shirt with Elmgreen and Dragset autographs on it, Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, CEO and artistic director of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, gives an opening speech on the riverside platform aglow under spotlights.
Sporting a “Zero” T-shirt with Elmgreen and Dragset autographs on it, Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, CEO and artistic director of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, gives an opening speech on the riverside platform aglow under spotlights.
On the steps of the exhibition platform, Michael Elmgreen (left) and Ingar Dragset take turns sharing the inspiration and experience that culminates in “Zero” at the 20th BAB Talk.
On the steps of the exhibition platform, Michael Elmgreen (left) and Ingar Dragset take turns sharing the inspiration and experience that culminates in “Zero” at the 20th BAB Talk.
Emceed by Thiwaporn Thesthis (left), the artist duo explains the idea behind “Prada Marfa”, their permanent installation located in the Texas countryside.

Elmgreen and Dragset are renowned for sharing a strong passion for minimalism in visual arts, architecture and sculptural installations. Over the past several years, their works have been exhibited at major art scenes worldwide, including the art biennales in Venice, Berlin, and Gwangju. Their 2005 site-specific land art project, known as “Prada Marfa”, was permanently positioned near a small town in Texas. It was accomplished in collaboration with local organizations and had nothing to do with the Prada fashion brand, except for its permission to use the name.

Art is a journey. The Scandinavian duo said that they ventured out into the art world of without a basic knowledge in drawing and painting. Initially, they made art by cutting pictures, paper and fabric from various different materials and sticking them together to create a combination of things, kind of like a collage. Their works, mainly sculptures, continued to thrive on simplicity in both content, color and form.

Elmgreen and Dragset started working jointly in the mid-1990’s. Their commitment to minimalism is manifested in artworks that seek to remove anything deemed unnecessary while conveying thought or feeling through conceptual design. The artist duo achieved fame for their stunning sculptural works that later became known as their “Top Three”. Their masterpieces include:

  1. Prada Marfa (2005)

“Prada Marfa” (2005) is a site-specific land art project permanently positioned in a desert landscape of Texas. The work that accents the playful use of the Italian fashion brand name reflects social behaviors in an era of free-market capitalism during the past century. I Photo courtesy of the Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

  1. Powerless Structures (2011)

Powerless Structures Fig. 101 debuted at Trafalgar Square, London in 2011. The public square commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar during which the British fleet defied the odds and emerged victorious in 1805. But Elmgreen and Dragset had a different idea. No disrespect intended. Only this time they wanted a more forward-looking artwork, something that called attention to the fact that the children are our future. Their strong message is conveyed via the sculpture of a boy riding on the back of a rocking horse toy. I Photo courtesy to Garry Knight

  1. Van Gogh Ear (2016)

Van Gogh Ear (2016) is a sculpture depicting a contemporary free-form swimming pool. Standing 9 meters tall, it was erected in an upright position at the center of Manhattan’s Rockefeller Plaza in the heart of New York CBD. The artist duo got their inspiration after having seen swimming pools lying unused at the homes of many well-to-do families in the Big Apple. It pointed out to the fact that wealthy homeowners were suffering in the midst of plenty. It was a stinging satire on life in New York, where people were up to their ears in work and had no time for rest and recreation. As a reminder, the artist duo put a symbolic swimming pool right in the middle of the Central Business District. I Photo courtesy of the artists and the K11 Art Foundation, Galerie Perrotin, Galleria Massimo De Carlo, and Victoria Miro Gallery I Photo: Jason Wyche, Courtesy Public Art Fund, N.Y.

Many artists, local and foreign, participated in the 20th edition of BAB Talk, a conversation with big names in the art world. The meeting took place recently at the historic East Asiatic Building on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River. For our artist friends, it was the opportunity of meeting and rubbing elbows with celebrity guests, and a good time was had by all. Participants included artists, from left, Phaptawan Suwangood, Dao Wasikasiri, Khata Saengkhae, Jitsing Somboon, and Patipat Chaiwithet.

Danish artist Michael Elmgreen and his Norwegian collaborator Ingar Dragset decided to work together when they met in Berlin in 1995. Since then, many creative works of art have earned them a reputation for addressing social and cultural concerns, among them a satirical installation titled “Van Gogh Ear”. The sculpture depicting an empty swimming pool debuted in New York in 2016.

Prior to that, they were highly acclaimed for “Prada Marfa” 2005, a sculptural installation permanently positioned near a small desert town in Texas. The minimalist style artwork was accomplished in collaboration with local cultural organizations. It had nothing to do with the Italian fashion brand Prada, except for a permission to use the name and logo by the founder, Miuccia Prada, who was interested in contemporary art. Prada Marfa has won warm approval as an artwork that has wit and expresses rich and subtle meanings. At the crux of the matter, it raised an interesting question about consumer behaviors in a free-market economy and social change that took place over the past century.

Despite a few problems, Prada Marfa has stood the test of time. Thanks to strong support from local and outside organizations, the sculpture stuck in the middle of a Texas desert has transformed into a tourist attraction providing a venue for musical entertainment and outdoor market selling goods and souvenirs. Commercial activities now take place on site, a development Elmgreen himself never expected.

As for “Zero”, the Scandinavian duo said they could still recall their first visit to Thailand at the invitation of Prof. Dr. Apinan Poshyananda a few years back. They found that, unlike public parks, most swimming pools that existed were inaccessible to the general public. In a way, it became an inspiration for them to create “Zero” as a means to call attention to a lack of facilities for public benefits. Hence, a new masterpiece was born. Its focal point was the swimming pool circumference set vertically to represent the value zero. The arithmetic symbol also signifies a new beginning as envisaged by the artist duo. It’s their hope that one day Bangkok will have enough swimming pools available to its citizens.

Zero also refers to an artist group that adheres to the minimalist school of thought founded in the 1960’s in Dusseldorf, northwestern Germany. The art movement at the time was led by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene, who were passionate about the value zero. To them, it symbolized the peace and quiet that was everyone’s highest goal. Its subtle meanings have had significant influence on the works of Elmgreen and Dragset until today. Hence, their entry into the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 was aptly named “Zero” to symbolize an ideal world where every moment can bring a fresh start and new beginnings.

Artist Khata Saengkhae is among the homegrown talents participating in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. | Photo: Methee Samanthong

Khata Saengkhae, a household name on the Thai art scene, also joined in the conversation with Elmgreen and Dragset that day. Sharing his opinion on “Zero”, he said: “It feels good to see art blend in perfect harmony with the physical environment that exhibits it. The riverside location makes it an ideal venue for the show that seeks to communicate the true meaning of such a great work of art. Meantime, it also raises a few interesting questions. Look across the river, and what do you see? What will become of the land opposite from here? I see buildings mushrooming everywhere. So, where do we go from here?”

“Zero” by Elmgreen and Dragset is just one out of more than 200 works of art on display at 20 locations throughout the city as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. The Kingdom’s inaugural art festival will end on February 3, 2019. There is still time, but you had better hurry. Not quite sure where to start? Here is a checklist of 30 beautiful works of art that you can’t miss. For more information, go to  Checklist! 30 Works of Art You Can’t Miss at BAB 2018

Before we part company, here are some rare, behind-the-scene shots of the people and collaborations that went into making “Zero” a great work of art. I Photo courtesy of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

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Pichet Klunchun, New Spiritual Medium, Puts his Stamp on the Festival Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) 2018

Pichet Klunchun, New Spiritual Medium, Puts his Stamp on the Festival Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) 2018

The live performance of Bogus Séance Version Bangkok 4.0 (“Four for Nothing”) at ChangChui tingled with electricity with one of the most artistic performances at Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. This was the work of Pichet Klunchun, progressive leader and winner of the Silpathorn Award for Performing Arts in 2006, the Routes ECP Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity in 2008 awarded by the Princess of the Netherlands, and the title Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government.

/// THAILAND ///
Story & Photography: Singhanart Nakpongphun 

Pichet Klunchun prepared himself to be the spiritual medium “Angel 4.0,” to enter the being of everything and everyone, telling their stories to the audience, furious stories, biting social critiques and satire, stinging and irritating, with light, sound and full effects.

The show started with a dance in front of the curtain, calling up selected guests with a song full of fun, and ended with “Khrang Chue Ai Nae,” a song highlighting dramatic social issues. In between, “famous monk” angels with cute nicknames arrived to do some serious body impressions: “Flying Saucer Temple Monk,” “Whistle Monk,” and “Commando Monk” interacted with Somchai Songwattana, founder of the “Flynow” fashion label, ChangChui Professor Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, President and Artistic Director of Bangkok Art Biennale, some audience members who had registered early online, and special guest Michael Elmgreen, a Danish artist and one of the exhibitors at BAB 2018.

Michael Elmgreen helping with Pichet Klunchun’s “monk haircut” during the Sohng 4.0 performance
Michael Elmgreen helping with Pichet Klunchun’s “monk haircut” during the Sohng 4.0 performance
Monk from Wat Flying Saucer comes to do some impressions
Monk from Wat Flying Saucer comes to do some impressions
 One spot where the worshippers’ devotional paraphernalia is unlike at any institution you’ll find anywhere
One spot where the worshippers’ devotional paraphernalia is unlike at any institution you’ll find anywhere

The Thai gamelan group sounded an intro, and the angels started to do their thing! Characters in the show came on the scene to entertain with all sorts of artistic dancing: modern, Indian, Chinese, and the kind of Thai classical dancing you might have seen in traditional khone dramas.

Panther and man
Panther and man
Indian-style dance, at once fierce and gentle
Indian-style dance, at once fierce and gentle
 Young footballers kicking the ball, waiting for help from a SCUBA diver
Young footballers kicking the ball, waiting for help from a SCUBA diver

From this point things surged even higher. Each of the performers danced wilder and wilder, sometimes jumping or screaming, to reach a climax with the composition that has become such a hot issue in society recently, the Prathet Ku Mee “Rap Against Dictatorship.”

After the angels finished performing, Angel 4.0 took some time to give the audience a period of “heavenly prophecy,” where individuals could ask whatever questions they wanted. Naturally the top questions were about the winning lottery number, or requests for a husband, or queries about the election. Angel 4.0 had no end of clever answers that kept everyone in stitches, laughing and happy.

“Father Teacher” Pichet hinted at a number, writing on the palm of an audience member’s hand. (It’s all in the act!)
“Father Teacher” Pichet hinted at a number, writing on the palm of an audience member’s hand. (It’s all in the act!)

Just before the end, “Father Teacher” Pichet Klunchun presided over a modern ceremony to honor teachers, passing out sacred objects from Bogus Séance Version Bangkok 4.0 for worship. Then the performance stage was transformed into a dance floor as angels, performers, and audience all came together in fun to dance, just the way this show had been promoted:

Is your life all jammed up? Want to brighten up and shake things loose? Come dance with us, and thrive in life!” (and have some fun while you’re at it)

How Will This Work: “City of Art” Exhibits in Temples?

How Will This Work: “City of Art” Exhibits in Temples?

Without doubt art has origins in faith and belief: the earliest cave murals and sculptures indicate rituals relating to nearly all aspects of life, and many of these evolved into religions and faiths of various kinds. Art works since have played a great role in the transmission of belief and faith, to the point where, by inference, art works are expected to manifest a sort of religious expression.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, or BAB 2018 marks the first time a major world festival of contemporary art has graced Bangkok with its exhibits for an extended period of time. Featuring contemporary works of more than 70 both Thai and international artists, Bangkok is hosting Festival showings at 20 locations from October 19, 2018 to February 3, 2019.

Exhibition sites range from the financial district office buildings to local communities, and, most significantly, to Bangkok’s temples, a cultural heritage for which Thailand is famous throughout the world. It seems fitting, then, to give our friends at Living ASEAN a glimpse of some of BAB 2018’s most creative art that is on exhibit in some of our most beautiful temples. 

Phra Chetuphon Wimolmangkalaram Ratchaworawihan Temple

Here we bring you to your first stop, the exhibits at Phra Chetuphon Wimolmangkalaram Ratchaworawihan Temple, or “Wat Pho.” This was the official temple of the first king of the Chakri Dynasty, H.M. Rama I, and is world-renowned for its beauty and historical value. Most Thais and foreigners alike want to come at least once to experience its beauty.

First, some highlights of Wat Pho, the temple itself …

Temple of the Reclining Buddha / Wat Pho Reclining Buddha

The Temple of the Reclining Buddha was built in the era of Rama I, with its primary image of worship “Phra Phuttharoup Proht Surin Sathu,” known popularly as “the Reclining Buddha.” The sculpture is 46 meters long and 15 meters tall. Each of its feet is 1.5 meters wide and 5 meters long and is decorated in 108 spots with pearls and auspicious images.

The “Four Reign” Chedis

The base of each of The Four Reign Chedis has notched corners, and the chedi is identified with a glazed tile showing the name of one of the first four Siamese kings: “Phra Maha Chedi Si Sanphet Yadayan” (Chedi of Rama I), “Phra Maha Chedi Dilok Dhammakaroknitarn” (Rama II), “Phra Maha Chedi Munibat Borikhan,” (Rama III), and “Phra Maha Chedi Song Phra Srisuriyothai” (Rama IV).

Rishi (Hermit) Statues

Wat Pho, aside from its beauty and historical value, is associated with the remarkable traditional medical arts and wisdom that have been handed down as a national heritage since the Ayutthaya period. The Rishi Statues were placed there in the time of the first Chakri king to demonstrate traditional medical arts with figurines posed in more than 80 different attitudes, though at the moment only 24 of these remain.

Giants of Wat Pho

The Wat Pho Giants are another highlight of this world-famous temple, giant statues personifying characters from the Ramakien epic colored red and green, located at the entrance to the Phra Mondop scripture hall.

The 6 Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 works shown at Wat Pho are as follows:


Paths of Faith (Thailand)
Artist: Jising Somboon

Paths of Faith is a collection of white robes with the word “Faith” in Thai, English, and Chinese on the back. These are hung for tourists to wear while visiting the Hall of the Reclining Buddha.


Zuo You He Che (China, France)
Artist: Huang Yong Ping

It is well known that most of Huang Yong Ping works involve stories based in Chinese culture, and Zuo You He Che is no exception. It is a sculpture of imaginary animals holding scrolls in their mouths signifying wisdom, faith, and healing, all paths to peace and contentment in Buddhist and Chinese philosophy.


Knowledge in your Hands, Eyes and Minds (Thailand)
Artist: Phaptawan Suwannakudt

Knowledge in your Hands, Eyes and Minds is a mixed media (picture, scent, sound) art work located in a monk’s hut at the Wat Pho crocodile pond. It speaks to relationships between various traditional branches of knowledge: medical, design, literary, authorship, herbal massage, astrology, and communication between monks and the dead and dealing with the world after death.


Sediments of Migration (Thailand)
Artist: Pannaphan Yodmanee

Sediments of Migration is a free-standing sculpture in one of the rock gardens, where it is paired with the Rishi statuettes healing their bodies in contorted poses. Sediments was inspired by murals within the temple itself, and depicts commercial travel between Siam and China with contrasting views of merit, faith and, ethnicity.

A Shadow of Giving (Thailand)
Artist: Tawatchai Puntusawasdi

A Shadow of Giving is an experimental sculpture inspired by two-dimensional murals in poorhouses. It symbolizes giving, unselfishness, and respect. For the artist, accuracy of scale and mathematical fundamentals are a path to happiness.

Tha Tien (Thailand)
Artist: Sakarin Krue-on

Tha Tien is a silent movie accompanied by music inspired by Somphot Saengdueanchai’s 1973 movie of the same name, whose plot involves a quarrel about nothing important at all between a giant and a warrior. The story takes place at Wat Pho and Wat Arun, and when the two are unable to come to agreement, the ensuing fight causes the Wat Pho pier area to collapse flat as a drumhead. (shown October 16 – 20 and November 22 – 24 2018 at Wat Pho and Wat Arun)

Wat Arun Ratchawararam

Crossing the Chao Phraya from the Tha Tien pier near Wat Pho we quickly arrive at Wat Arun Ratchawararam, more simply known as “Wat Jaeng” or “Wat Arun.” This temple is no less important than Wat Pho, but dates from the Ayutthaya Period. It was named “Wat Makok” before King Taksin gave it the name “Wat Jaeng” when expanding the grounds of the royal palace, bringing it inside – along others there – as a court temple. It underwent continual restoration after that until Rama IV made a major restoration and placed the ashes of Rama II at the Buddha image there, giving it the name “Wat Arun Ratchawararam.”

Important Highlights of Wat Arun are ….

The Central Prang of Wat Arun

The Central Prang of Wat Arun is a prime example of Thai sacred architecture. There is a main prang and four secondary ones, all of mortared brick adorned with seashells, glazed tiles, and beautiful Chinese benjarong designs, replete with representations of mythical figures such as kinaree, giants, angels, and garudas. The Central Prang of Wat Arun was also refurbished in the time of Rama II, when the Wat Arun Central Prang was raised from 16 to 81.85 meters, making it the highest in the world.

Wat Jaeng Giants

The Wat Jaeng Giants are among of Thai Buddhism’s most famous statues, no less than the Wat Pho Giants. The Wat Jaeng giants represent the giants Thotsakan (green) and Sahat Decha (white) from the Thai epic Ramakien, and shine in their glazed tile apparel as they stand guard before the entrance gate to the ordination hall.

The two Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 works exhibited in Wat Arun are:


Across the Universe and Beyond (Thailand)
Artist: Sanitas Pradittasnee

Across the Universe and Beyond brings lost and forgotten principles to life again, as the designs of space and light call on visitors to look within themselves when they step into the area. This installation art piece is intended as a reminder in this moment of existence, impermanence, and emptiness, for us reflect on ourselves as simply particles in the vastness of the universe.

Giant Twins (Thailand)
Artist: Komkrit Tepthian

Inspired by the stone statures of ancient Chinese warriors and divinities, as well as people and animals China sent to Siam, the art work Giant Twins is a mixture of China and Siam. It recalls the legendary Siamese Twins Eng and Chang, as these two historical figures are transformed into the shape and form of giant warriors to symbolize Thai-Chinese relations.

Wat Prayurawongsawat

Near Wat Arun and Memorial Bridge is Wat Prayoonwongsawat, the last temple where we’ll bring you to view BAB 2018 art works. This temple was built as a royal monastery in 1828, during the reign of King Rama III, by Somdet Chao Phraya Borom Maha Prayurawongse, or “Dit Bunnag.” He gave it the name Prayurawongsawat, but it became known as Wat Rua Lek, “Temple with the Iron Fence.”

Important highlights of Wat Prayurawongsawat are….

Sacred Heart Buddha Temple

Sacred Heart Buddha Temple exemplifies Thai architectural work. At 16.99 meters wide and 20.19 meters long, its interior is split into 5 sanctuaries. Here cast Buddha images from the Sukhothai period are enshrined: an ancient image named “Naga Buddha,” is paired with “Phra Sri Sakyamuni,” which is also the principal Buddha image of Wat Suthat Thepwararam.

Phra Borommathat Maha Chedi

The Phra Borommathat Maha Chedi is 60.525 meters tall, with a base width of 162 meters and diameter of 50 meters. It was built by Dit Bunnag, completed during the reign of King Rama IV, and contains Buddha relics.

Khao Mo Park

Khao Mo Park, better known as Turtle Mountain, is a small artificial mountain built and surrounded by a pond in front of the temple. A stairway to the top takes you to a gilded, lacquered, brass cast stupa containing important Buddha images. The pond has many turtles of different varieties, hence the name “Khao Tao,” or “Turtle Mountain.”

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 works shown in Wat Prayurawongsawat are altogether 6, being

Chat…Naa (Thailand)
Artist: Arnont Nongyao

This artist  has experience in the arts of sound and animation, so Chat…Naa (“the next life”) is a mixture of  installation art, experimental animation, and experimental sound performance art, all touching closely on the roles of people, materials, the environment, and society.


Artist: Nino Sarabutra

WHAT WILL YOU LEAVE BEHIND? Is a scattering of more than 125,000 unglazed white ceramic skulls on a walkway surrounding the primary chedi of the temple, transforming it to a space that encourages visitors to think, “If today were the last day of my life, what good would I be leaving in this world?”

Zodiac Houses (Thailand)
Artist: Montien Boonma

Zodiac Houses is a set of sculptures in black gothic style, full of astrological symbolism, that Montien has created as a search for peace, rebirth, and communication with the world after death. It was constructed in the Buddhism instruction hall of the temple so as to face the instructor’s lectern, suggestive of communication with the dead and the world after death.


Sweet Boundary: In the Light Tube (Thailand)
Artist: Kamol Phaosavasdi

The installation art piece Sweet Boundary shown at Wat Prayurawongsawat has origins in historical research about the establishment of the temple and nearby areas. The iron fence here features a representation of sword, arrow, and spear. The actual fence was imported from England in the time of King Rama III in exchange for its equivalent weight in sugar. This piece harks back to the prime relationship between Thailand and China at a time when maritime trade could be held as a monopoly in the region; this was before the worldwide market glut in sugar and the arrival of Western nations on the scene.

Monuments of the Memory, the Golden Room (Italy)
Artist: Paolo Canevari

Monuments of the Memory, the Golden Room is a painting in shades of gold, but devoid of internal content, to symbolize sanctity, significance, memory, and prayer as they exist in both Buddhist and Christian religions. It is on display in the Temple’s religious instruction hall.


Turtle Religion (Thailand)
Artist: Krit Ngamsom

Turtle Religion is at Khao Mo, set by the pond, itself full of turtles and catfish. Here we find iron turtles carrying various objects on their backs that reflect the unity of religious beliefs and cultures which in the Khlong San area are so thoroughly mixed as to become one substance.

Altogether, including these three abovementioned temples, under the concept of “joyous, energetic art” the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 International Festival of Contemporary Art has exhibits at 20 landmark location in Bangkok landmarks on display until February 3, 2019.

Before It Came To Be the “Pumpkins” Project by Yayoi Kusuma

Before It Came To Be the “Pumpkins” Project by Yayoi Kusuma

Anyone coming to the City during this period will almost certainly see major art works by many world-class artists. These are set up in shopping malls, along walkways, even in temples, as part of the contemporary international art festival Bangkok Art Biennale 2018.

One of the artists we’ve been keeping close track of is Yayoi Kusama, known for artistic expression through repetition of polka dots on various materials and objects, some of them inspired by “Auntie Yayoi’s” frequent visual reflections on relationships that uses pumpkins as a medium, for example in the piece entitled Inflatable Pumpkins Balloons. This gorgeous exhibition consists of 14 balloons suspended from the ceiling of Central World, hanging chandelier-like above a wide area also adorned with those signature red dots.

When the project was transported from Japan it was still in an unfinished state, but on arrival at Central world it was swarmed by both a Japanese and a Thai work team speeding to complete all the details, not in just the one or two days we were there watching, but over a period of many days. The subtleties of the Japanese, insisting on perfection in every detail, allowed not the smallest imperfection. Those floating balloons weren’t simply inflated and hung up: light wiring had to be strung through an elaborate framework constructed of beams and internal supports. It took all that and more to produce these beautiful airborne pieces we know as Inflatable Pumpkins Balloons.

Why does it have to be Pumpkins?

This seems like a question most people might ask! In an interview on the Louisiana Channel Auntie Yayoi answered, “I love pumpkins because of their funny shapes, sometimes quite like human facial features, and they give me a warm feeling.”

The pumpkin shape has been a staple of her artistic work dating back to the 1950’s: she’s always been attracted to materials whose natural forms had an unevenness to them and also showed repetitive patterns. Adding to her unique view is a neurological condition that has caused her to have double vision since age 10, and has actually contributed to her producing such world-class artistic work.

Another spot everyone can see Yayoi Kusama’s Work is Fashion Gallery 3, on the 1st Floor of Siam Paragon: I Carry On Living With The Pumpkins (Silver Pumpkin and Red Pumpkin) gives us a pair of Auntie Yayoi’s signature pumpkin works. One of the sculptures features silver dots in subtly detailed mosaic patterns reflecting various things hidden in them. Another, in the same area, is a red pumpkin with black polka dots which we’re able to view up close. On its installation date it appeared to involve just a simple setup of 2 ordinary pieces of art, but the actual story is a bit more complex. Due to the size and great weight of the works, plus the fact that there were no easy protuberances to grab onto, bringing them through the doors with both pieces remaining in perfect condition was a huge challenge to pull it off, and in the end it took from nighttime till the break of dawn to do it successfully.

What a strange experience! Art exhibitions aren’t always an easy business, right? Well, so many people have put in so much great work, it would be a pity if not enough folks saw it . . . so what are you waiting for? Get down here!

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3 Destinations Not to Be Missed at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

We have less than a month before the curtain falls. The inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale will end on February 3, 2019. If you haven’t already been to the show, find time to do it. Plenty of exciting exhibits to see, if you love art. Grab a smartphone. Bring your friend, and take a selfie or two. Not sure where to start? Living ASEAN recommends 3 destinations that you can’t miss.


Destination 1
The Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (BACC)
Open daily 10.00-21.00 Hours (Closed on Monday)

You will love these amazing exhibits.

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018
“Basket Tower” by Choi Jeong Hwa
The Spiritual Spaceship 2018 by Thai artist Torlarp Larpjaroensook currently on view at BACC | Photo courtesy of Soopakorn Srisakul
“Spiritual Spaceship” 2018 by Torlarp Larpjaroensook
“Rekayasa Genetika” (REGEN) by Heri Dono

“Tape Bangkok” by the Numen For Use Design Collective

BAAC is one of 20 destinations partaking in the country’s inaugural art festival. It’s centrally located and accessible via BTS mass transit. Get off at National Stadium Station. Many world-renowned artists are exhibited here. Worth a visit, worth a lifetime.

To get thereTake the BTS. Get off at National Stadium Station.

East Asiatic Building

Destination 2
The East Asiatic Building
Open daily 10.00-19.00

The astonishing masterpieces you can’t afford to miss

“Diluvium” by Lee Bul
“The Female Angels” by Heri Dono
“Rien n’est moins comparable” by Sara Favriau
An installation titled "Pyramid Shape Sculpture 2018” by Andrew Sthal | Photo courtesy of Singhanart Nakpongphun
“Pyramid Shape Sculpture” 2018 by Andrew Stahl, and
“Zero”, a sculptural installation by Elmgreen and Dragset | Photo courtesy of Rithirong Chanthongsuk
“Zero” by Elmgreen & Dragset

 It’s easy to get to: Hop the BTS at National Stadium Station. Get off at Taksin Bridge Station. Then catch Bus No. 1 or No. 75 to Charoen Krung Soi 40.

Destination 3
The Bank of Thailand (BOT) Learning Center
Open daily 09.30-20.00 Hours (Closed on Monday)

BOT Learning Center

Highly recommended as worth seeing

“Dragon Boat” by Huang Yong Ping
“Memory House” 2018 by Alex Face, Souled Out Studios (SOS)
“Memory House” 2018 by Alex Face, Souled Out Studios (SOS)

It’s convenient by boat.

– Take a Chao Phraya River Boat (regular service), and get off at Wat Sam Phraya – Or take the Chao Phraya River Express, and get off at Theves.

And by bus

– Take No. 3, 9, 30, 32, 33, 43, 49, 53, 64, 65, 516 and 524. And get off at Wat Sam Phraya.

Listed above are 3 out of 20 venues of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018. 200 works by 75 renowned artists from 34 countries are on display. The BACC has the most shows. Plenty of happenings to excite your imagination. You can see all in one day if you start early. But, time is running out. We don’t want you to miss any of them!


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