Chiang Mai Design Week showcased the best blends of old and new
Chiang Mai Design Week, which ended earlier this month, gathered numerous local creative entrepreneurs from various industries such as fashion, jewellery, furniture and food. What was common in all selected products showcased at the festival was local essence blended with modern glamour.
Under the theme "New Originals", design week aimed to explore how skills, craftsmanship and local materials could be made relevant to today's society as well as making it marketable and economically beneficial.
Elite picks a few outstanding brands that make creativity worth following and provide great gift ideas.
Mobella's outstanding feature is it turns Thai-ish objects into stylish furnishings. For example, Sai-sai can be a lounge chair or a bed by just being flipped horizontally or vertically. Its shape imitates the Thai dessert, sai-sai. The structure imitates a banana leaf, which is the wrapping while the bean bag imitates the dessert. The collection also offers other Thai dessert-furniture like tako (coconut custard pudding) armchair and Rotolo sofa bed. Another Mobella cool is a square cloth stool made with woven technique that imitates a takraw ball. Mobella also offers bespoke services.
Founded last year, the studio focuses on space design. But when it plays a part in product design, the result is impressive. Its latest product, Thaigram, a desk organiser designed in tangram form, consists of eight separate pieces. Each has different functions to store different items. All pieces work like a puzzle, which can be played around with and can be arranged into different shapes. Another and probably most outstanding feature is that it's made out of material that has a touch of Thai heritage, like brass, but has been modernised into an everyday product.
Very traditional cloth products are generally not used for daily wear. Janya takes the process and material of the traditional craft and makes it relevant to today's lifestyle. The latest collection comes with a minimal backpack made of hand-woven cotton blended with silk, natural dyes and leather straps. If backpacks aren't your thing, Janya also offers other bags for various occasions.
Minimal and colourful design makes NAAdesign's latest collection very striking. It offers a wide range of products from a small table set inspired by Chinese domino "Majong" to coated ceramic dinnerware to a wood-and-ceramic coffee cup. Some people say NAAdesign looks farang, while others say it's Thai. A mixture of everything from colour, material and culture (as it is owned by Thai and French designers) is the brand's signature. NAAdesign also works closely with gifted artisans in Chiang Mai.