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.
River Festival 2019 The Fifth Annual Celebration of Thailand’s River Culture Illustrating the Concept of “River Consonance”
Every river has an amazing true story to tell. To celebrate our beautiful and fulfilling culture and heritage, ThaiBev is happy to support the tourism industry’s River Festival 2019 scheduled for November 9-11 in Bangkok. Now in its fifth year, the landmark event recognizes the importance of the ASEAN Cultural Year 2019. Everyone is invited to experience the charms of civilizations situated beside the river at 10 cultural heritage waterfronts along the Chao Phraya River during the three-day period. They focus on the concept of “River Consonance”.
The Thai Beverage Public Company Limited, or ThaiBev, is assisting with this effort in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Royal Thai Navy, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and a network of business partners. Together, they are able to draw on prior experience to make the fifth edition of the River Festival a continuing remarkable success for 2019.
This year, the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s ASEAN Affairs Department also joins forces. Its contribution to the “River Festival 2019” supports government policies that are aimed at making Thailand a center of cultural tourism and engaging with worldwide audiences. The show is timed to coincide with the ASEAN Cultural Year 2019 proclaimed to raise public awareness of the identity, diverse culture and heritage of the Region.
The driving forces behind this year’s celebration include Mr. Itthiphol Kunplome, Minister of Culture; Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni, President of the River Festival 2019; and Mr. Kamolnai Chaixanien, Senior Vice President of the Thai Beverage Public Company Limited; as well as main sponsors from the private sector and partner networks. Details of the River Festival 2019 and the “River Consonance” concept were given during a press conference at Wat Kalayanamitr.
The city’s main tourist attractions during the festival period include spectacular light and sound shows, retail businesses, and nighttime entertainments in outdoor venues of historic significance. The 10 truly amazing places to visit are Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Prayurawongsawat, Wat Kalayanamitr, Yodpiman River Walk, Tha Maharaj, Asiatique the Riverfront, Lhong 1919, SookSiam@ICONSIAM, and Wat Rakhang (Temple of Bells) that was built during the Ayutthaya Period.
The ornate shrines and vibrant street scenes are located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. They are some of the most visited destinations among pilgrims as well as foreign tourists and locals. During the three-day festival, visitors can enter the five temple grounds and pay homage to the Buddha at night. Or stop and take a moment to admire the beauty of the Chao Phraya River from all 10 riverboat piers.
If you’re into music, know that 11 universities across the capital are giving performances in various genres from popular music with wide appeal to classical. They are Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat University, Srinakharinwirot University, Silpakorn University, Kasetsart University, Ramkhamhaeng University, Dhurakij Pundit University, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, Rangsit University, Bangkok Thonburi University, and Bangkok University Rangsit Campus.
Experience the charms of Thai culture and Thai identity at venues of historic significance on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. No better time than now. Soak yourself in the concept of “River Consonance” during the River Festival 2019, scheduled for 9-11 November 2019, 17.00-22.30 hours. For updates please visit www.riverfestivalthailand.com and facebook/riverfestivalthailand
The River Festival 2019 is an annual cultural celebration, which is now in its fifth year. Data collected from previous years indicated that participating retail businesses could generate incomes for local communities amounting to more than 2 million baht in three days. Each year, the event attracted more than 200,000 visitors, both foreign and local. Exit interviews showed more than 90 percent of visitors came away impressed about efforts at fostering the progress of Thailand’s culture through greater awareness of its heritage. To sum up, it’s a festival that contributes significantly to the betterment of society and culture, as well as the future of the tourism industry.
Highlights of this year’s River Festival
It’s an opportunity to come in contact with pop stars, among them Sinjaroen Brother, Praw Kanitkul, Nont Tanont and other celebs, who give concerts at Asiatique. While there, find out what the concept of “River Consonance” means to you, and what kind of music is the happening thing. Step in for a surprise. Plenty of music to enjoy both on the boat and on the piers, plus performances by the CU Band and CU Chorus from Chulalongkorn, and the TU band and TU Chorus from Thammasat. Not to mention country music by up-and coming bands from Kasetsart, Srinakarinwirote, Ramkhamhaeng, Dhurakij Pundit, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat, and Bangkok Thonburi universities. There’s also jazz and international by Silapakorn. That pretty much ensures that fun is had by all.
The opening of Pier 10
To celebrate a very important year marked by the coronation of a new sovereign, H. M. King Rama X of Thailand, a new riverboat pier is officially opened on the Chao Phraya River. The pier at Wat Rakhang has since been renamed “Pier 10”. The new call sign coincides with proclamation of 2019 as the ASEAN Cultural Year and the fact that the ASEAN Region has 10 members. The 10-pier system bodes well for the future of river traffic in the inner core of Bangkok, which is home to the longest river bend running through the capital.
To reiterate the importance of 2019 as the ASEAN Cultural Year, more VIP Cruises up and down the Chao Phraya River will be added for pleasure. Representatives of the international community will be invited to participate in various promotional activities, offering them the opportunity of experiencing the charms of Thai culture and interacting with members of the local community, from temples to schools to people’s homes. The heart of the matter is a multicultural neighborhood that’s home to three religions, four beliefs, and five ethnic groups who coexist peacefully in harmony at “Ka Dee Jeen”, a midtown area in Thonburi. The activity is cohosted by the Supatra Group.
Something of interest to the media is the “Unseen Cruise Tour”, a series of activities at Wat Rakhang Pier. Begin the day with a photo contest aptly titled “One Shot Knockout”, which is scheduled for November 10 from 07.30 to 14.00 hours. At nightfall, enjoy outdoor movies featuring two of the best of Thai cinema, น้ำตาลไม่หวาน (Sugar Not Sweet), and เกาะสวาทหาดสวรรค์ (Paradise Island) that were part of the exhibits at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2019.
The journey is incomplete without a visit to Lhong 1919 and Asiatique, two famous riverboat piers on the south bend of the Chao Phraya River. Plenty of activities and fun you can do for enjoyment. From here, you can travel on to SookSiam@ICONSIAM and take part in the celebration of its first anniversary. Along the way, collect rubber stamps as proof of having visited all three riverboat piers, and you can enter for a chance to win a “Happy Pouch” from the River Festival 2019.
You may also like: … The River Festival Lamphun.
The best event you can’t miss is the Loy Krathong Festival, which is happening at the same time as the River Festival in Lamphun. The venue for dual celebrations is the bank of the Kuang River that’s a lifeline of this beautiful northern city.
The River Festival Lamphun offers the opportunity of experiencing Lanna culture that’s renowned for exceptional northern hospitality. During this time, the street is full of locals and visitors as the crowd gathers to pay respect to Phra That Hariphunchai Temple, home of the gilded stupa that’s the heart and soul of Lamphun town. By night the sky is aglow under floating lanterns during the “Festival of a Hundred Thousand Lights”.
What makes Lamphun famous is the rich riparian ecosystems and forests that thrive within the city. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the art market where pieces are bought and sold through fairs and exhibitions in art shops. The festive season is a paradise for those looking for good deals on local products. Be spoilt for choice when it comes to authentic northern food prepared by locals as well as up-and-coming young chefs. By and large, it’s an immersive experience to enjoy in the lead-up to Loy Krathong Night on 11 November.
Don’t miss out on it! The River Festival Lamphun is happening on 7-11 November on the bank of the Kuang River from 17.00 to 22.00 hours.
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.
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 Architizer.com, 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 byDP 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
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
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
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.
Founded on the Indian Subcontinent by the Buddha around 500 BC, Buddhism is a widely followed religion across Southeast Asia, especially the Mainland. Temples and the Sangha, communities of monks, nuns, novices and laity, play a critical role in preserving good practice and his teachings to the present day. Here are 9 sacred places around the Region to visit on your long journeys through life.
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Siem Reap, Cambodia
One of the largest and most resplendent religious monuments in the world, Angkor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II who ruled the Khmer Empire in the 12th century. Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple around the turn of the century. The temple complex sits on 1.6 million square meters (about 400 acres) of land in Siem Reap, a province on the northern shore of Tonle Sap in central Cambodia. The enduring pride of Khmer architecture was constructed of sandstone adorned with a breathtaking richness of sculptures in bas-relief. It was inscribed on the List of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1992. The ASEAN Tourism Forum in 2012 made Angkor Wat and Borobudur (in Indonesia) sister sites as part of an effort at promoting cultural tourism in the Region.
Among the world’s largest religious sites, Borobudur in central Java is on a par with Bagan in Myanmar and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Built in the 9th Century, it was a center of Buddhism at the time the Srivijayan Empire became the first kingdom to dominate the islands of Sumatra and neighboring Java. Borobudur is representative of Javanese architecture that blends the concept of Nirvana, the final goal of Buddhism, with the native custom of venerating ancestors. Located on a highland 40 kilometers from Yogyakarta, the magnificent Borobudur temple overlooks rolling hills, lush forests and twin volcanoes. Its nine-tiered floor plan consists of six square platforms placed one above the other, three circular atriums at the top, and pagodas. They are decorated with beautiful reliefs and a total of 504 Buddha statues. Guinness World Records make in the world’s largest Buddhist temple, while UNESCO added it to the World Heritage Sites in 1991.
THE ANANDA TEMPLE
A sea of temples and pagodas in central Myanmar is a wonder to behold. The ancient city of Bagan was capital of the Pagan Kingdom from the 9th to 13th Centuries. During that time, thousands of Buddhist temples, dome-shaped shrines and monasteries were constructed. Among them, the Ananda Temple was built by King Kyanzittha in 1105 A.D. It’s very well preserved and accessible to visitors. Inside the most revered temple of Bagan, huge Buddha statues stand facing east, west, north and south in the corridors illuminated by natural light. The building is built of white sandstone that’s characteristic of ancient Mon architecture.
THE TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA (WAT PHRA KAEW)
Located on the grounds of the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha was consecrated in 1784 during the reign of King Rama I, founding father of the Rattankosin Kingdom and the first monarch of the reigning Chakri Dynasty. Inside, the Emerald Buddha reposes on an elevated altar surrounded by gilded décor. The bright green stone statute of the Buddha is regarded as the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand. The royal temple stands embraced by dome-shaped shrines, pagodas, and religious halls. The corridors are adorned with mural paintings depicting episodes from Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic of ancient India. It’s now one of Bangkok’s most popular tourist attractions.
THE SHWEDAGON PAGODA
The historic 99-meter-tall Shwedagon Pagoda stands surrounded by a sea of 68 smaller stupas. It’s also known as the Golden Pagoda for the gilded dome-shaped structure that dominates the Yangon skyline. Legend has it that the large religious monument was built some 2,500 years ago, but archeologists put its beginning between the 6th and 11th Centuries based on evidence of Mon temple architecture. Shwedagon is regarded as the most sacred pagoda for the people of Myanmar. As gestures of respect, visitors are required to remove their shoes on entering the temple compound. From past to present, people have donated gold and gemstones that go towards restoring the pagoda to its original splendor. “Shwe” is a local word for gold, while “Dagon” is the old name of Yangon.
THE TEMPLE OF DAWN (WAT ARUN)
One of the most ancient temples in Thailand, the Temple of Dawn is located across the river from the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace. The Buddhist temple that existed on the site was originally called Wat Makok. As the Ayudhya Period ended and Thon Buri became a new capital, the temple was renamed Wat Chaeng. In the early Rattanakosin Period, the name was changed to Wat Arun as a symbol of the first light of a new day. The Buddhist temple is renowned for its colorfully decorated pyramidal structures. The tapering conical towers, known as Prangs, are adorned with a mosaic of ceramic tiles and glass that shimmers in the sunlight. The Prangs of Wat Arun are best viewed from across the river. They were on the logo of the Bangkok Art Biennale that just ended.
The Bangkok Design Week that ended February 3 was a confluence of many great ideas, among them products of a collaboration between two homegrown designer groups, Thinkk Studio, and Studio 150. Their waste recycling ideas shone with excitement at a show called “City Materials”.
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The seat of government of Thailand, Bangkok is renowned for being a regional trade and economic hub, as well as home to many established and up-and-coming designers. Much of the large, densely populated city is not covered with forest. Nor does it have a wonderful richness of industrial materials. But, do you know this?
Every fifteen days, the number of lottery tickets and packaging material printed in Bangkok is enough to cover 173 football fields. Of that amount, a whopping 98.6% accounted for the tickets that didn’t win. Not only that, lottery tickets are printed on special grade, water-repellent paper that doesn’t break down easily. All things considered, that’s a whale of a job for paper recyclability.
Where most would see useless waste materials, the two designer groups see endless possibilities. Thinkk Studio creatives, in association with their design peers at Studio 150, have researched and experimented with lottery paper waste for some time. They succeeded in recycling it in ways that could answer specific design, art and craft and industrial needs in future.
“City Materials” showcased five materials the joint team has recycled from wood chips, plastic bags, incense sticks and ashes, coffee grounds, and discarded building supplies sold for scrap. For a glimpse into their design ideas.