Special Feature  



HIGHLIGHTS OF THAILAND INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR 2015



Thai design industries
as part of the ecological environment



Thailand’s furniture industry started in early 1970 due to the shift of the country’s economic policy from agriculture to massive industrial expansion.

Huge amounts of foreign investments kept pouring into the country as the labor costs were very low. Many investments from overseas were the shift of the manufacturing base from Europe, the United States and Japan bringing with them modern machinery. Laborers from all over the country gathered in the industrial zones.

With industrial efficiency, the rate of consumption of local materials such as teak increased many folds. This increase deteriorated the country’s teak supply which was, and still is, the country’s most valuable raw material. It also contributed to the eventual deforestation in Thailand.

The lack of forestry management during the period of original equipment manufacturing (1970-2000) took a heavy toll on the natural environment.

Environmental management first appeared in the early 1990s. The impact of pollution from industries on communities created public awareness on environmental issues. Moreover, environmental concerns were raised as major issues in the country’s sustainable development policy. Resulting in the launch of several environmental protection campaigns to further promote public awareness.

To help preserve Thailand’s natural forests, the government started collaborating with the Thai Furniture Association and other related industries to find a sustainable wood alternative. To improve and sustain the environment, replacement materials such as rubberwood was first introduced to local manufacturers. Now, the furniture industry has shifted to different industrial alternatives in order to conserve teak forestry.

In 1996, the massive economic downturn impacted heavily on the country’s economy. Designers and architects who were laid off in that period, gathered as a group with the support of the Department of International Trade Promotion. Their aim was to seek potential products for export led by design. The members of the Design and Objects association came together and presented an export design product collection that has its own identity in design. Many alternative materials, that consumed less of the environment, such as water hyacinth, vines and etc, were introduced to both the local and international public. The collection also reflected local wisdom in handicrafts and unique dimensions in design and production.

After the dawn of the era of Design, the use of alternative materials was opened to other local manufacturers. Design not only open up the choices of materials, but also revived local wisdom in crafts techniques. The birth of industrial craft was initiated by the development of the design era.

Although environmental concerns have become a part of the manufacturing planning process, requirements from the global market are the key force in strengthening local environmental laws on manufacturing and production. When craft production techniques are combined with recycled materials, new raw materials are created and adopted, enhancing the diversity in aesthetics. Perfect examples of this, in furniture production, are Performax, Ayodhya and Yothaka who are leaders in water hyacinth furniture production.

Iroduftion possesses unique manual interweaving techniques that reflect the progress of industrial craft development. Different patterns of weaving and modern materials are combined to create the different look and feel for the products.

Water hyacinth is considered a great alternative material for furniture production as it is more environmentally friendly to use.

SLOW HAND DESIGN ECO A MANO

14-19 April 2015 Rho-Fiera Milano, Milan, Italy

MANIFESTO


For the 5th consecutive year, the latest from Slow Hand Design will be launched to the international audience. Although this year, the venue will move from Superstudio Più to Rho-Fiera Milano. Combining the legendary, local, grass roots wisdom in design, and modern Thai industrial crafts, Slow Hand Design has firmly, established its brand amongst international medias. It is now, also, popular among buyers and consumers. For this reason, there is a strong support to market the brand by showcasing Slow Hand Design’s products in a more compatible venue with their potential customers. Therefore, 7 design showcases are highlighted, in this show, to reflect both sides of Thai design DNA that are both rooted in local craft manufacturing and advanced technological know-how. Furthermore, showcases of environmentally friendly products are displayed together with the 7 ECO A MANO showcases to further express the shifting of the industry towards, truly, sustainable development.
Eggarat Wongcharit

DESIGN BY ECOLOGY


NATURAL MATERIALS ON THAI DESIGN
Relying on natural and local materials, villagers in Thailand survive through using local wisdom to create a range of domestic designed tools that can be utilized in fishing, farming, etc. From fish traps to toys, these vernacular creations are truly an outcome of local wisdom.

Today, designers utilize the same handicraft techniques, but, with lesser stress on both forms and textures. Globally, the new designs have proven themselves in quality, reliability and style. Modern Thai designs, made from natural fibers and other organic materials, have a proven reputation for both design and quality. The export of Thai designed products have also created increased earnings for the village’s artisans. Using more sustainable materials, exported industrial crafts have proven that there can always be a choice not to harm the environment, as long as there is creativity.

TURNING WASTE INTO TASTE
For generations, the wisdom of village craft has been passed on, within families, from one generation to another. As it was passed on, it was further developed in both functionalities and aesthetics. The materials that can be found in the surrounding areas are wisely adapted for daily entertainment or survival.

Compared to mass production, today’s craft production is more labor intensive but consumes far less environmentally harmful materials. Craft production is also more open to experimentation as it has no rigid routines and boundaries of a mass production line.

When craft production techniques are combined with recycled materials, new raw materials are created and adopted, enhancing the diversity in aesthetics. Perfect examples of this, in furniture production, are Performax, Ayodhya and Yothaka who are leaders in water hyacinth furniture production. Production possesses unique manual interweaving techniques that reflect the progress of industrial craft development. Different patterns of weaving and modern materials are combined to create the different look and feel for the products.

Water hyacinth is considered a great alternative material for furniture production as it is more environmentally friendly to use.

DEmark ECO DESIGN SHOWCASE