The first Chiang Mai Design Week was held on December 6 – 14, 2014 to showcase the work of local designers and artists. Organized by Bangkok-based Thailand Creative & Design Center and TCDC Chiang Mai, the event featured design exhibitions, workshops, markets and business programs, installations & tours, and talks with local and international guests held throughout Thailand’s second-largest city.
“Born Creative” was the theme of Design Week, staking a claim that Chiang Mai’s identity is evolving from a tourist destination towards becoming a regional center for modern creative work, while acknowledging its rich cultural heritage of weaving, wood carving, ceramics, and other traditional arts.
This continuous dance between old and new, traditional and modern, was evident throughout the festival. Join The Kindcraft in visiting exhibitions, listening to creative dialogues with textile designer Sabrina Kraus Lopez and Nathan Williams of Kinfolk magazine, and take a tour of a bustling pop-up market.
The Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition featured 18 artists and 47 handmade works. Here are some of the best items of that exhibition plus work by other makers.
Curated by Thinkk Studio and 56thStudio, the Co-Host exhibition opened with a sign which brilliantly sums up the charms of Chiang Mai’s slow, craft-focused lifestyle:
“For a lot of people, Chiang Mai is a “slow city” enriched with art, craft, and local heritage; a place where baristas can actually spend time perfecting their latte art, a place where waiting endlessly for the red bus as the only form of public transportation becomes a charm, a place where a giant log can become an elaborately carved wooden boat.”
Nearby at the Rachawong Road Row House, Tua Pen Not had his exhibitor space.
The Kindcraft was pleased to see that TCDC repurposed the Nimmanahaeminda’s family house, an abandoned Lanna-style wooden structure, for use in Chiang Mai Design Week. It’s the perfect example of bringing the city’s tradition forward into the present day. This exhibition featured work by Craig Anczlowitz, Torlarp Larpjaroensook, Chuanlhong Ceramics, and Studio Naenna.
The Meeting Room Art Cafe hosted an event to showcase work of master ceramicist Doy Din Dang. Just up the road Sabu-Sabu and Ars D-Sine were at Tha Chang, while the textile works of the late Alfa Hueglmann were on exhibition nearby the RarinJinda Hotel’s old wooden house.
Sabrina Kraus López
Sabrina opened her Creative Dialogue with the question “Have you thought about where the clothes and materials you buy come from?” a question that The Kindcraft appreciates. As a textile designer and R & D specialist, Sabrina Kraus López knows materials: she got her BA in Fashion Design while in Milan and received her Master’s from the Central Saint Martins School of Art’s Design’s Textile Futures program. Sabrina shared her experience working with a Peruvian weaving community for her MA project and with Berber rug weavers in Morocco in a residency sponsored by The British Council (see video below). Sabrina’s London-based fashion accessories brand, Ode to A, is set to launch in 2015.
As the founding editor and creative director of Kinfolk magazine, Nathan Williams was the keynote speaker for Chiang Mai Design Week’s Creative Dialogue series.
Kinfolk is a quarterly lifestyle magazine based in Portland, Oregon with an international reach that attracts young artists and food enthusiasts all around the world. In a panel discussion, Nathan shared his views on living a slower, more thoughtful lifestyle which runs counter to the projection of “busyness” as a visible indication of success. His suggestion: having free time and easy-paced meals at home with friends and family should be the new American Dream. The Thai audience welcomed his ideas warmly, which was not a surprise to anyone familiar with the easy, chachaa Chiang Mai lifestyle.
Pop Market was a weekend market held on the grounds of a 140-year of Lanna-style house on December 13th and 14th. It featured over 100 indie brands, food stalls & drinks, and a DJ to keep the energy going until late.