Thai handicraft has been known for its high level of craftsmanship passed down for generations. Made in all parts of the country using natural materials, small pieces such as embroidery and ceramics have been must-buy souvenirs for tourists.
But now firms are combining ethnic Thai handicraft with contemporary design to make functional, sophisticated home interior items.
Modern Thai interior design products are now being showcased in Seoul for the first time in a dedicated exhibition. “Live Chic in Thai Style” presents home interior products from 15 design companies in Thailand, including from furniture, tableware and ornaments.
“These Thai products are developed under the concept of ‘sustainability and contemporary design’ which is now the hottest global issue in product design. The mini exhibition will offer a good opportunity to introduce new Thai lifestyle products, dubbed ‘North European design in Asia’ and their functionality to Korean consumers,” said Panot Punyahotra, minister counselor of the office of commercial affairs at the Thai Embassy in Seoul, which is helping organize the exhibition.
Wood furniture by Deesawat. (Live Chic in Thai Style)
The interior products are eco-friendly and functional, with a minimal and simple design approach similar to that of Scandinavian interior design. They are made with attention to detail and good quality materials and accommodate contemporary lifestyles.
Architect Piyanat Ratawawongsarot of design company Barketek created pet furniture for cats and dogs that blends well with a simple, minimal home interior design. The simple yet functional wooden bed with a cushion for pets is a great replacement for overly cutesy pet products.
“As an architect, you go to an interior shop and find all these pet products with cartoon patterns and fancy colors. We tried to make this pet product as a piece of furniture that mingles well with modern lifestyles,” said the architect in the showroom in Seoul.
Furniture company Deesawat, founded in 1972, targets customers with special needs. The company displays a stool made from teak wood for the elderly or patients with back problems. The stool has two different arm rests that patients can hold onto when they stand up from the stool.
“When you have a back problem, standing up from a chair is a challenge, because you don’t know which arm to let go of first. The two different arm rests help you to keep your balance,” said Jirachai Tangkijngamwong, research and development and marketing director of Deesawat.
The company has more design plans for other groups of customers, including those with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and blind people.
“We think about what to solve and who to help in our design process. The products become more meaningful and that’s the theme of wellness we seek to reflect in our products,” he said.
One thing common in Thai home interior products is that they are eco-friendly in the use of natural and recycled materials. Kos In uses teak tree leaves to make table mats, decorative home baskets and pouches.
Tierra d’ete also uses a natural plant material called sano, and makes table mats that add an exotic and fresh feel to minimalistic home interior design.
By Lee Woo-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)