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24/06/2020 | DESIGN

THAI SPIRIT: THE EVOLUTION OF THAI DESIGN

Posted by: Chiara Ferella Falda

The moment the Temporary Museum of Superstudio hosts for the first time the group exhibition of Thailand, it is almost a challenge. An unusual country in the design market, yet full of promises and with a very interesting point of view, a wise mix of craftsmanship, artefacts, tradition and desire for renovation.

In 2011, it is a little space in the Former Ansaldo of via Tortona, inside the complementary project “Innovation/Imagination” always curated by Superstudio in collaboration with SlideArt: a group exhibition with the best of Thai design and the winners of the prestigious DEmark (Design Excellence Award) that rewards design, innovation and functionality, all curated by the Thai researcher and designer Eggarat Wongcharit.
The following year, the group exhibition moves to Superstudio Più for three years in a row, taking up an important space and becoming a proper national pavilion also thanks to the important investments in support of the companies from the government. The curatorship by Wongcharit and the DEmark award remain constant every year, but the themes that have been dealt with are different and a precise evolution of Thai design culture is picked up.
If there was, at the beginning, a strong highlight on the history of Thai design and its peculiar DNA, the result of a local craftsmanship combination and serial industry, at a later time, the decision was made to develop a specific theme such as Table and  “Thai Food”, showing a new style of “mise en place”. A multisensory itinerary articulates through show cooking, artefacts, table sets and typical Thai culture ceramics, revisited in a very current and captivating design. 
From food to technology, with “Thai Craftology” the craftsmanship mixes with innovation: a new generation of designers is wisely combining tradition with global evolution and developing a new awareness on sustainable energy.
Covid global emergency did not stop the project and the investment of the country. A clear post-coronavirus strategy has immediately been launched with “T style: Thai Spirit” whose target is to promote the image of Thai products through International media and the participation in world-wide exhibitions and fairs, such as Superdesign Show 2021 at Superstudio.Thai spirit is being defined with three characteristics: humour, resilience, creative contradiction- that come from culture, beliefs and life style strongly connected to art. The collection is divided into two groups: “T Style Brands”, the main producers of lifestyle products, and “T Stylers”, Internationally renowned Thai designers, in addition to the DEmark winners. 
“I strongly believe that this is a crisis from which new opportunities can arise. Producers’ and Thai designers’ adaptability is all the world need right now"- confirms Somdet Susomboon, General Director of the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP).” We have top quality producers and creative designers and, with these people, we can create and develop products that satisfy the consumers’ unstable need in this uncertain period”.

Thailand's Slow Hand Design 2012
Thailand's Slow Hand Design 2012
Thailand's Department 2011 for Innovation/Imagination
Thailand's Slow Hand Design 2014

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