Using new interpretations of age-old techniques, these Bangkok-based design studios are giving Thai artisan work a contemporary edge.
The team behind JUA Collection is on a mission to bring modern sensibilities to Thai cookware, discovering the country’s abundant (and often underutilized) natural resources and skilled craftsmen one product at a time. Made by artisans using local black granite and coconut wood, the sleek Krok Sak mortar and pestle set can be used on both sides: the granite end to grind chili, garlic, and herbs; and the wooden end for pounding dried spices.
Let There be Light
Launched as a sub-brand of THINKK, the THINGG homewares collection gives contemporary furnishings a distinctly Thai touch. The brand’s founders often visit remote artisan communities to explore new uses for materials like teak and techniques such as wicker-weaving—often blurring the boundaries between craftsmanship and industrial design. Their colorful Sarn ceiling lights, for example, pair coated steel with lampshades hand-woven using sustainably grown palm leaves.
Studio Patapian elevates the art of bamboo weaving by combining it with unexpected materials like marble, copper, and rosewood. Its Round collection takes inspiration from prangs, the multi-tiered spires often found on Thai temples, using this shape to create mirror stands, pendant lights, and vases. The studio works with various weaving communities around the country to develop their skills and provide them with an extra source of income.
Take the Floor
It was an observation by a visiting friend about the lack of carpets in Thai homes that sparked PDM founder Doonyapol Srichan’s idea for a carpet design fit for the tropics. Inspired by the woven plastic mats found in temples across the country, the brand fuses traditional weaving techniques with modern materials (in this case, recycled polypropylene) and bold patterns to make floor coverings that are both timeless and durable.
Some Assembly Required
Brass craftsmanship might be a dying art in Thailand, but the duo behind COTH Studio aims to revive it with this quirky desk organizer. Designed like a tangram puzzle, and made in collaboration with a small-scale manufacturer using leftover brass plate cuttings, its eight individual elements function as a pen holder, paperclip holder, or storage trays and can be rearranged in endless combinations, creating a stress-relieving mini-playground on your work table.
This article originally appeared in the October/November 2018 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Crafty Creations”).