Blog : thailand

Wat Arun Ratchawararam, a Must-See Thai Historical Site

Wat Arun Ratchawararam, a Must-See Thai Historical Site

The beauty and remarkable architecture of Wat Arun Ratchawararam has lasted through hundreds of years and the reigns of many Thai kings, as the temple has risen to become one of Thailand’s most prized historical sites and a must-see ASEAN tourist destination.

/// Thailand ///
Photography: Tanakitt Khum-on

Wat Arun Ratchawaram, or “Wat Jaeng,” as Thais sometimes call it, stands on the edge of the Chao Phraya opposite Wat Pho. This priceless historic gem was once the official temple of Thailand’s King Rama II. Built when Ayutthaya was the capital of the Kingdom, its first name, “Wat Makok,” was soon changed to “Wat Makok Nawk,” and since then has been called “Wat Jaeng,” “Wat Arun Ratchatharam,” and “Wat Arun Ratchawararam.”

The most memorable and noticeable feature of Wat Arun is the stupa, a gorgeous example of Khmer-style architecture rising 81.85 meters from its base, tallest of its kind in Bangkok, in fact tallest in the world. It’s now one of Thailand’s prime icons of tourism, radiating beauty day and night.

The Wat Arun stupa was first restored to its present splendor by King Rama V, better known as King Chulalongkorn. At that time the stuccoed brick structure was adorned with seashells, glazed tiles, and Benjarong porcelain of various colors laid in flower, leaf, and other patterns, with kinnarees (flying deities), giants, angels, and garudas added. The stupa has undergone continual preservation and restoration since then, most recently with a five-year facelift sponsored by the Department of Fine Arts begun in 2013 and completed in time for ASEAN tourists to come see the stupa’s fantastic designs and colors returned to their original glory, just as in antiquity.

Wat Arun has a lot of outstanding features to see besides the stupa. The ubosot (ordination hall) on the north side, for instance, was built in the time of Rama II and is famous for its amazing architecture and interior murals. And there’s the monument to Rama II on the retaining wall in front of the temple, built in 1996 by His Majesty Rama IX in celebration of the 50th anniversary of his reign.

Getting there: Wat Arun stands between the Chao Phraya River and Arun Amarin Road, and can be reached by either car or boat.

 

 

 

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Right Renovation Leads to a Pleasing Hip, Modern Brick House

Right Renovation Leads to a Pleasing Hip, Modern Brick House

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Foryeah!/ English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs:  Nantiya Busabong /

The houses in this area all looked the same when parents brought the owner of this newly renovated house here when he was a child; now he has renovated their home into a hip, modern brick house with 200 square meters of usable space on a property of 400 square meters.

modern brick house
The lower floor retains the old “tai thun” space below, a brick wall with angled patterns perforated for ventilation on the floor above.

“After studying abroad I lived in a condo for years, but modern urban life is too full of needless accessories, so I finally came back to this house for its serenity and privacy,” said Roj Kanjanabanyakhom, the owner and architect of his own home.

“I like peace and quiet, listening to music, watching movies, and that’s enough.”

A staircase up to the hobby room, apparently playfully designed for legs of different lengths.
The old house wall was removed in favor of tall “picture windows”
modern brick house
Leaving open space between the old house and the addition makes for good ventilation and cooling.

An architect himself, he was the designer and construction supervisor. Since the house was in an old condition, there were a lot of problems: leaks and seepage, rusty pipes, etc., even asbestos tile, now recognized as carcinogenic.

The structure of the house had to be almost completely torn down to its basic frame: pillars, beams, and a couple of walls.

Striking improvements were made to suit Roj’s lifestyle in both the new building at the front and the old house at the back. The newly built structure at the front consists of bright orange brick walls with ventilation spaces below.

A former open “tai thun” (the space beneath the stilt) area, half the ground floor, became his own bicycle maintenance shop, with the other half a carport.

On the second floor is a hobby workshop, and above that a roof deck where support pillars are capped with metal plates in anticipation of future additions.

modern brick house

At the back, the 2.4-meter outside wall of the old house was demolished and replaced with tall glass windows all around for a spacious feeling.

Bedrooms on the second floor were removed to create a “double space” area, and a projector was set up behind one wall for full-size movie viewing.

modern brick house

A skylight was put in to let sunlight in all day, relieving the stuffy, damp, dark atmosphere, and polycarbonate tile was laid on floor and walls.

“There were some difficult structural and material design limitations in the old house,” said Roj.

“Parts of the old roof weren’t able to support much weight, so besides replacing the asbestos with double Roman tile we used metal purlin trusses instead of wood.

“To avoid joint problems where the new roof meets the old gabled one, we used steel-reinforced flat slab concrete, which will be able to hold the weight of future additions.

“Sometimes it’s easier and cheaper just to tear everything out,” he continued. “But I renovated because I wanted to preserve the memories here,” said Roj with a smile.

And so here’s a home filled with remembrance, ready to bring present and future memories into the mix.

modern brick house
The roof deck, designed to hold weight for future additions and a path connecting the two buildings.

Owner/Architect: Roj Kanjanabanyakhom of Atom Design (www.facebook.com/atom.design.bkk)


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A Breathtaking Trio of Modern Loft-Style Homes in Bangkok

A Breathtaking Trio of Modern Loft-Style Homes in Bangkok

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Sut / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Tanakitt Khum-on /

In former times as families outgrew their homes, by tradition Thais would put in more houses on the same property. They shared basic facilities and landscaping fitting together to form a cohesive whole. But this tradition has been disappearing. Nowadays, grown children move away into single-family homes of their own. In this case, though, Manit and Yanrak Manithikhun decided to build a trio of modern loft-style houses as future homes for their children on their piece of land.

The trio of modern steel framed homes are connected by the perfect pathway with a private garden in the middle.

“We knew our sons would want their private space, and we had a sizeable piece of land. We thought it would be a good idea to build three new houses right here for them in the same place,” said Manit.

“The three new buildings include one common house where the whole family can get together. It’s for entertaining guests, too. And I wanted an herb garden. Thinking forward to retirement!”

Steel frames and brick walls: the hip, unfinished “loft” look.

The three new homes were added to the existing principle house of parents that was built after the big floods hit Bangkok in 2011. The expansion plan included a private garden and common space where the family could spend time together.

It was made up of two steel framed loft-style houses for the sons and one building as a common room. By and large, it was designed to serve and filled in many parts that were missing in life, a garden and common room where the family can spend time together.

“The kids wanted the style to be simple and unfinished. The houses all have the same design, but they’ll change and take on the personalities of the families living in them,” Manit explained.

“I added the garden and shady spots. I wanted a resort-like feeling, and we have that now: garden, swimming pool, all in our own home.”

The cantilever deck that’s a part of the common building reaches out above the pool creating an impression of a home floating on water.

Besides a great family home with delightful common space, the architects also designed the house to be eco-friendly. The roofs were set at a 15-degree angle, facing south to prevent full sun exposure. All the houses – even the carports – have solar panels, reducing energy costs of the whole residence by 50%.

Solar cell panels installed on the roof at a 15-degree slant offer 50% savings on energy bills.

“We chose the steel house frame not only for speed in building, but also because there’s less noise pollution during construction than using other materials,” said house architect Piriya Techaratpong.

“Plus it gives a wider choice of forms than traditional concrete or column and beam structures, and is many times cheaper than building a concrete weight-bearing wall.

“The common house has spaced steel columns, with lightweight lines that give the impression the building is floating over the pool below. This is the elegant design we were trying for.”

The result of all this? A design that’s an expression of the unconditional love and aspirations these parents feel for their children.


Owner: Manit and Yanrak Manithikhun

Architect: Mee-D Architect Co., Ltd. (www.facebook.com/MeeDArchitect) by Piriya Techaratpong and Pawit Chuankumnerdkarn


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A Brick House Cherished by Two Generations
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Modern Tropical House

Modern Tropical House

Like traditional Thai houses of former times, Baan Phu Patra, as Spacetime Architects’ latest creation is called, rises above the “tai thun” space below so cooling breezes can blow through, also giving a magnificent view of Nakhon Ratchasima’s Khao Yai mountains.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Ektida N. /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul, Nantiya Busabong /// Design: Spacetime Architects by Kannika Ratanapridakul and Piriya Thailimthong

Kannika Rattanapreedakul of Spacetime Architects named this house “Baan Phu Patra” after the Khao Yai housing development where it’s located. At the owner’s request, the house is not too big, feels relaxed and comfortable, and has space for a kitchen vegetable garden, as the architects came up with what they call the perfect definition of a “modern tropical house.”

From outside it has a stylish, trendy appearance: clean, straightforward lines, with no wasted design or anything to make it look out of place with its surroundings.

Design began with an analysis of the 1200 square meter property and its surroundings: a sleep slope, with the best view blocked by a neighboring house and the housing project’s utility building. Spacetime’s design called for the house to be raised old-style, up 3.4 meters above a traditional Thai tai thun open space. This not only corrected for the slope, but also provided a much wider view of Khao Yai than another plan might have allowed.

The second design stage involved positioning of elements for the best functionality. The house is aligned east to west. The second floor gets a panoramic view of Khao Yai to the east. The staircase up into the house itself is set at the rear, or west end of the house, leading into a large multipurpose area containing kitchen, living area, and dining area, two bedrooms – to the left and right – and out to a 5-meter-wide balcony designed for a comfortable, relaxing experience.

The ceiling follows the slant of the roof, for a more open feeling.
Granite floor tiling around the kitchen island gives definition to interior spaces.

Once the functional setup was in place, the next design step was to select the right construction materials for Baan Phu Patra to fit its natural context in a unique and interesting way. A steel framework was used, with natural wood flooring except for kitchen and bath, where the cast-in-place concrete slab floor was topped with smooth-colored granite. These very disparate materials work well with each other to add a feeling of authenticity and define the different functionalities of different interior areas without the use of separating walls.

With form, proportion, and function all well thought-out, Baan Phu Patra blends right into its natural surroundings, a home perfectly suited to its context with an elegantly simple design.

A skylight above the window adds to a connection with nature outside.
The balcony reaches all around the house for a 360-degree view.

 

Link : https://th-th.facebook.com/spacetime.kalatesa/


 

 

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Amazing Craftwork at the SACICT Innovative Craft Gallery

Amazing Craftwork at the SACICT Innovative Craft Gallery

The official opening for the SACICT Innovative Craft Gallery has arrived, as Support Arts and Crafts International Center of Thailand continues its  hallmark support of village-based folkcraft combined with modern design trends to produce eye-popping work and build lasting careers.

/// Thailand ///

The Gallery is located on the second floor of the main SACICT building in Bang Sai, Ayutthaya. Entering the reception area we’re treated to visions from the book SACICT Craft Trend 2018, with a fascinating arrangement of social craft network presentations illustrating the book’s high points. Each of the products on display in the “Mass X Clusivity” exhibit has a story to tell. The “Digital Detoxing” section shows us designs that bring harmony to today’s changing world.

Décor and tasteful arrangement create harmonious connections between displays. We follow the production steps of these innovative crafts as skills are brought to bear and traditional knowledge applied, culminating in their appearance on the national stage – the IICF (International Innovative Craft Fair) or the Innovative Craft Award competition, for instance – as they gain widespread recognition and interest. It’s hard to find a more remarkable collection of unique and finely crafted pieces than here at the Gallery.

Under the heading “Benjarong” (primary colors), the Thai Navatasilp exhibit shows us a perfect balance of skill, traditional knowledge, lifestyle, and modernity. Here are works that define and extend the meaning of the term, such as “Plaa Gat” (fish bite) by Witsarut Angkhahawanit and masterpieces produced by acclaimed Thai artist Wasinburi “Tiw” Suphanich-Woraphat.

Interested in creating great works of your own? Want to learn about the thought process, or the physical construction of craftwork? Get news about the Gallery’s activities through Support Arts and Crafts International Center of Thailand, at www.sacict.or.th or www.facebook.com/SACICTGallery.

 


 

 

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10 Products with Cool Designs From SACICT Craft Trend 2018
10 Products with Cool Designs From SACICT Craft Trend 2018

10 Products with Cool Designs From SACICT Craft Trend 2018

From the book SACICT Craft Trend 2018, published by Support Arts and Crafts International Center of Thailand, we take 10 pieces that combine some very hip design with contemporary materials and production and startlingly traditional folk elements. Let’s see what’s there . . .

/// Thailand ///

1. Ceramic plate inscribed with traditional local fabric patterns, by Wit’s Collection adapts the intricate details of a cloth-based pattern to create a chic ceramic work with an eclectic tribal style.


2. The “Raindrop Hanging Lamp” by PATAPiAN: an imaginative blend of old materials, traditionally woven bamboo and moulded brass, formed into raindrop shapes. Great to mix and match with any style.


 

3. “Takra” multipurpose tray by Thinkk Studio and a wicker-weaving group at Baan Chang in Ang Thong Province: material is woven into small frames. This adds a new dimension to wicker work, since the technique was previously used only for large pieces of furniture. The innovation comes from a new generation of designers working with old-time artisans in SACICT’s Thai Navatasilp Project, which has received wide acclaim.


4. Jackets of woven fabric by Trimode Studio and an U-Thong quilting group in Suphanburi Province use plain woven fabric patterned with new designs simplifying an elaborate tribal style. Here excessive detail is smoothed out to give a contemporary look while using a traditional hand-stitching technique, another bit of folk knowledge preserved by SACICT’s Thai Navatasilp Project.


 

5. The Landscape Pot Box by TRIMODE DESIGN and a mango woodworking group in Hang Dong, Chiang Mai Province: a multipurpose storage box inspired by natural landscapes. The lids of these mango wood boxes are made from colored resin with a texture resembling natural stone. Here the touch of nature is combined with a smooth, very minimalist design.


6. “Tribida,” by Trimode Studio and a twine-weaving group of Ban Laem Yang, Nakhon Sawan Province is a movable set of storage drawers with interesting shape, color, and materials. The lightweight drawers come in a number of patterns and are woven from baling twine, for yet another attractive product from Thai Navatasilp.


 

7. The “Needle Chair” by British designer Veega Tankun adapts and extends a traditional silk weaving technique to create a new type of easy chair cushion. This cushion softens the chair frame for a gentler, more modern look while adding a new, truly charming dimension to chair design.


8. “Khrae Tray,” by Thinkk Studio and a wicker-weaving group in Baan Chang, Ang Thong Province, is a multi-purpose tray that got its inspiration from dwarf bamboo, its small bamboo slats charmingly set in a black steel frame. It can be put to all sorts of uses, including as a support for food dishes, or as a tea set tray.


 

9. The Line Tote Bag by Thinkk Studio and a natural-cloth-dyeing community enterprise group at Nong Bua Dang in Chaiyaphum Province is a shoulder bag with an intriguing shape, made of stylishly dyed woven fabric and adorned with simple, attractive monochromatic graphics and patterns that add to its contemporary look. This, too, is a Thai Navatasilp product.


10. “Mon Mai,” by Thinkk Studio and a natural-dyeing community enterprise group in Nong Bua Daeng, Chaiyaphum Province: these beautiful woven mudmee silk patterns are warm and modern, with reduced pattern detail suggestive of fashionable graphic art. The natural dyes give a gentle feeling reminiscent of pastels. Another proud example of SACICT’s Thai Navatasilp Project.

These ten craft art pieces use traditional Thai handicraft techniques adapted by leading designers to create stylish products, many of which are either still on display or in the inventory at SACICT Concept in Bang Sai, Ayutthaya Province. For further information, visit www.sacict.or.th or keep current with the news at www.facebook.com/sacict.

 


 

 

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10 Countries Experiencing the Harshest Effects of World Climate Change

10 Countries Experiencing the Harshest Effects of World Climate Change

 

Four ASEAN countries are listed in the 2017 Global Climate Risk Index Report as among the 10 countries most strongly affected by world climate change between 1996 and 2015.

// ASEAN //

Who Suffers Most From Extreme Weather Events? Weather-Related Loss Events in 2015 and 1996 to 2015 In Order To Report Effects of Climate Change in Various Countries Around The World,” a 2017 Global Climate Risk Index report released by Germanwatch, shows that climate change caused more than 528,000 people to lose their lives between 1996 and 2015, with financial losses amounting to  US$3.08 trillion. UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) estimates suggest that by 2030, total losses will be two to three times greater, and by 2050, four to five times these amounts.

Loss of life, economic loss, and number of catastrophic events summarized in this data table show that the harshest effects have fallen on “developing countries” not rich in resources. In the the top ten are four ASEAN nations. Myanmar is in second place on the worldwide list; most of us probably remember the beating it took from Cyclone Nargis in 2008. An island nation, fifth-place Philippines is listed with the highest number of natural disasters. Vietnam takes the number 8 spot, with number 10 Thailand right behind, its economic losses – $7,574,620,000 US – greater than any of the others. 13th place Cambodia nearly makes the cut to join its ASEAN friends.

Table courtesy of Global Climate Risk Index 2017 by Germanwatch

The Climate Risk Index gives clear indications of the huge effects climate change will have on development, as well as on personal property, quality of life, and national GDP in these countries. A secure future depends on each country having a solid plan for cooperating with nature and with each other. Sitting back and doing nothing as before isn’t an option.

 

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Craft Trend Book 2018

Craft Trend Book 2018

SACICT Craft Trend 2018, the most recent book in an annual limited-edition line published by SUPPORT Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand, is a collection of analyses of new trends in handicrafts written by highly knowledgeable people in design circles.

/// Thailand ///

Amphawan Phichalai, Director of SACICT and the book’s producer, puts it this way: “Handicraft development in the modern age has to keep pace with rapidly changing patterns in technology and the world itself. The crafts world needs to put these new technologies to use in connecting and creating networks of people with similar interests who can help each other in development, application, and boundless transmission of knowledge.”

This is the primary concept dealt with in this year’s “Social CRAFT Network” section as it examines the role of technology in this era, when it is such an essential part of people’s lives, putting information we need right at our fingertips for the finding, making connections with lightning speed. Acceptance and utilization of technology helps create a more efficient, comfortable, and generally better life.

And there is a whole new vocabulary, words which act as driving forces behind this year’s new trends.

One example is the term “massclusivity,” describing application of the the master craftsman’s techniques to industrial systems. These systems enable production of products in large numbers, utilizing mass-produced parts that minimize investment costs while building and maintaining the unique identity of handicraft products, preserving the magic and charm of the original craftwork while producing it with a combination of people and machines.

Then there is “digital detoxing,” built on an analysis of changes in consumer behavior that respond to a need to escape from the madly spinning world through relaxation – walking, sitting, lying down, rest and meditation – resulting in products with simple, straightforward designs, uncomplicated and easy to understand but offering the best solutions for improving everyday life.

Besides this, in this collection you’ll find significant content about trends in color usage, great products shown at the 2017 International Innovative Craft Fair, and interesting topics discussed at seminars with fashion industry leaders, highly skilled “trend gurus” from the design world who can guide you in your studies.

Want to reserve a copy? There’s more information available at www.sacict.or.th, and you can get the latest news at https://www.facebook.com/sacict/

 


 

 

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SACICT Concept

SACICT Concept

Another truly interesting highlight getting a lot of attention at the 2017 Baanlaesuan Midyear Fair is the craftwork on display at the “SACICT Concept” booth set up by SUPPORT Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand.

/// Thailand ///

SACICT Concept in “room Terminal,” room Magazine’s super-chic section of the Fair

SACICT Concept showcases contemporary and cosmopolitan Thai handicrafts, supporting craftsmen who adapt traditional folk knowledge to fit modern design trends. The work is beautiful, leading-edge, and these artisans have built careers from it. The work shown here comes from the original showroom at the main SACICT office in Bang Sai District, Ayutthaya Province. We hope you’ll come experience this beautiful detailed workmanship right here at the 2017 Baanlaesuan Midyear Fair at BITEC Bangna.

This year SACICT Concept has presentations in two locations, one at the Fair entrance, and the other in room Magazine’s “room Terminal.” Come along with Living ASEAN as we take you on a mini-tour of craft products, the beautiful décor of the main booth, and fascinating highlights created by five uniquely talented award-winning traditional artisans, notably:

“Phraewa cloth” woven in the Phu Thai tradition: Jintanapha Phonatha, Traditional Craftsman of 2014, learned the trade from her teacher, Wanida Phonatha. The intricate elegance of Phu Thai hand-woven silk originated in Ban Phon, Kham Muang District, Kalasin Province, where high-level knitting and weaving skills and contemporary design are taught. Products range from utilitarian household items to women’s accessories.

Old-fashioned toys: craftsman Thaweesap Namkhajonrote, 2017 Traditional Craftsman, creates charming and colorful Thai traditional toys such as tops, mobiles, wooden hammers, etc., all from an ancestral folk tradition that employs local knowledge to engage children in building and practicing physical, mental, emotional, social, and perceptual skills through play.

Lipao woven baskets: Noppharat Thongsephee, 2014 Traditional Craftsman, with contemporary products such as handbags and multipurpose storage boxes woven from the lipao climbing vine, using fashionable modern color and pattern design trends to create beautiful products that appeal to the international market.

Reed weaving: Phat Namphiwong, 2016 Traditional Craftsman, learned his craft from artisan and teacher Reuangyot Namphiwong. Phat puts great love and intention into his work, adapting and applying his knowledge and taking inspiration from Japanese woven fabrics to create new woven-reed products with soft textures. Formerly reeds were used only to make mats, but Phat’s creations include placemats, coasters, and bags.

Burmese Clay Pots: 2017 Traditional Artisan Phongphan Chaiyanil brought pot-throwing techniques learned in Hanthawaddy, Myanmar back home to Koh Kret. Adapting his skills and expertise to a 200-year pottery tradition, he developed forms and patterns from everyday life that emerge as charming, artistic masterpieces of home décor.

Here you’ll find many more interesting works from the Innovative Craft Award competition held each year at the IICF (International Innovative Craft Fair), every piece beautiful and worth owning. If you miss this year’s Baanlaesuan Fair, they’re available at SACICT Concept, Bang Sai District, Ayutthaya Province.

 


 

 

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Highlights of the Baanlaesuan 2017 Midyear Fair “Living with Passion”
Quotes Of The Day

Quotes Of The Day

Here are some quotes worth reading that were spoken by ten ASEAN designers during last week’s “room x Living ASEAN: Design Talk 2017” symposium.

/// Thailand ///
  Story: Nawapat Dusdul /// Photography: Nantiya Busabong

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