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Ploypan Theerachai and Decha Archjananun

As much as we like to think that design is purely a "problem solving" professional, it still involves a lot of egos. Not to say that is a bad thing, but ego sometimes might get in the way of committing to a transformative collaboration or experimentation. Which is why Thinkk Studio's exhibition THINKK TOGETHER, held at Warehouse 30 during last month's Bangkok Design Week, was so enlightening.

Not only did it show that designers from the different fields of craftsmen, community, engineers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers could work together, but it also tried to inspire the business sector to understand and appreciate the importance of creativity and collaboration.  Being the scene setter and the curator in this exhibition, we asked Decha Archjananun and Ploypan Theerachai of Thinkk Studio about how and why every designer should THINKK TOGETHER in the future. But first, a little background for context.

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How did you two meet? What was your first impression of each other?
Decha: We met each other at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), where we studied interior architecture.
Ploypan: We found that we had the same interest in furniture and product design and it was the starting point to lead us to set up THINKK studio together.

Did you always want to be a designer? When is the defining moment that you realise that?
Decha: I loved to draw when I was a kid but didn't know much about design. My parents suggested me to study design, and I totally love it.
Ploypan: When I was a child, I like to follow my dad, he was a designer as well, to check construction sites. Somehow it influenced me to be a designer.

How do you divide work between you two?
We always start a project together till we have a direction then the project will be run by the one who matches best with the project. We also have assistant designers supporting us.

Are there ever any disagreements? How do you settle them?
We believe that any disagreement will end up with the best solution and great work. So we respect each other's reason and end up with the affirmative conclusion.

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Shade Side Table (L) and TebachiTray with handle (R) made with Foam Glass, a recycled material made from crushed scrap glass and cullet

Why the name Thinkk for your studio? How did you come up with this name?
We think it is a good name to refer to the way we work. We value the first thinking stage to have a great result. More K means that we think more or think different.

How would you describe your design style?
We actually don't care much about the style. We try to give the right form and materials in order to make things good and timeless.  

How do you keep finding inspiration?
We have many ways to start each project such as starting with a question, problem, material research, history, experience, etc.

How did the THINKK TOGETHER exhibition come about? What attracted you to showcase your exhibition at this venue?
Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC) organised the first Bangkok Design Week in Thailand. We thought it is an important event for Bankok-based designers like us to participate. The venue which is the old warehouse was supported by TCDC and WAREHOUSE30.

Your works this time around seems varied and new. Are these all created solely for this exhibition? How long did it take?
The projects mostly designed for this exhibition which took 3 and a half months developing from idea to prototype.

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Stack Vase made from terrazzo, a material traditionally associated with architectural surfaces or stocky, solid-looking furniture. Here the results are softer, curvier and rounder

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Thai Chess table—also made from terrazzo

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Collaborating with local glass company Etna, Thinkk Studio created (From Left) Windows Vase, Vase Lamp and Hoops Lamp

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The R Chair, a reinterpretation of the wood chair with curved armrest. Now it's more practical, comfortable, stackable and durable in different environments

 

Amongst the products, which one is the most exciting? Why?
We are very happy with the result of the project we work with a glass sheet manufacture, BSG Glass. We developed new material made of glass scrap to be used with furniture and decoration items.

What is the future of these products?
Some of them will be developed with a producer, and some will be produced by ourselves. For example, some experimental projects by our staff, we would like to develop them further.

How would you describe the current design scene in Thailand?
In Thailand, the young generation of designers is very active. They support each other, exhibit together, but they need support from the government and organisations in order to encourage them to grow up progressively.

Would you categorise your design as Thai? Or do you think it has more of global influence?
We are proud to be Thai designers and always bring Thainess in our designs, but the important thing for us is to create things for the world, not only for Thai people. That is the reason why our designs are different.

How do you see your studio developing in the future?
We know that is not easy for Thai designers to work internationally but we already have that chance and will do it better and better every day. We hope to support young Thai designers to be better than us too.

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THINKK Studio is a Bangkok-based design studio established in 2008 by Decha Archjananun and Ploypan Theerachai. Their projects range from small desk accessories and furniture to hotel projects. Apart from their studio works, they help local craft communities to develop products, consult design brands, curate an exhibition, lecture at university and write article sometime.

For more about THINKK TOGETHER,  visit thinkktogether.com.