THAILAND | NETHERLANDS / KOREA / GERMANY: BORA HONG, LUCAS MAASSEN & MARGRIET CRAENS, WANDSCHAPPEN, ATELIER NL AO.: HERE
SOON AT THE STATE OF DESIGN, BERLIN 2017 FESTIVAL AS PART OF TOTAL CHANGE, NIEUWE GLOBAL GESTALTUNG #001A Korea-born but Berlin-based curator and four renowned Dutch designer studios that transfer their country’s notorious design thinking on Thai tradition, turning even elephants into artisans and manufacturers – those are only some of the ingredients of ‘Here and There’, an exchange platform that was launched during the Chiang Mai Design week in Thailand last year, and that has its second session during this festival. The project’s curator, Bora Hong, studied product design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, and contextual design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven. ‘Here and There’ grew from a project in which she invited Dutch designers -storytellers, makers, researchers and educators- to closely collaborate with local partners, exchanging information and expertise, and addressing topics that were specific to the location. The designers - Lucas Maassen & Margriet Craens, Wandschappen, and AtelierNL - tackled local issues that reached from elephant labour in tourism industry, over hidden gems of Thai craftsmanship, to unhealthy beauty ideals, and experiments with the untapped potential of bamboo and silk. The results, exhibited in the international section of Chiang Mai Design Week, showed a so far unseen face of Thailand: ceramics and umbrellas made by elephants, a craft map of Chiang Mai, a textile art installation, elements of a bamboo construction system, and traditional Thai objects after bleaching.
The group show that resulted also came with a series of side events that provided a larger framework -three workshops, a lecture, and a round table discussion- while the project will alsoculminate in a report book and a short documentary video. During state of DESIGN, BERLIN 2017, all these elements are further elaborated, and adapted to the local context, using design to reflect on contemporary culture and to explore the future of traditions, networking, facilitating "learning by going", and opening up access to materials, knowledge, and meanings that have so far been overlooked.