BANGKOK — If you want an excuse to discover an old Bangkok neighborhood, a design showcase open through next weekend is a great one to have.
Discover picturesque, hidden communities by the river during Bangkok Design Week while checking out clever solutions by creative minds to make life better.
While there’s a lot to see at the organizer’s headquarters, the best discoveries might lie further away hidden in the capital’s old Chinese quarter across the Charoen Krung area.
At the Thailand Creative and Design Center, one can check out displays of furniture and everyday products both amatuer and professional. There are also film screenings, talks and workshops. Filling part of the front plaza is an imaginary factory promoting ways to reduce plastic waste, including an interactive exhibition of how to recycle waste and several initiatives for reusing it.
Design week gets more interesting the further north one walks. From the front of the Grand Postal Building, follow signs to along the event route and look for attempts by urban designers to make the area more publicly accessible and walkable with new navigation map displays, crosswalks, smart camera guides, resting benches and a disability-friendly bus shelter.
Pass through Warehouse 30’s offerings and go past the Portuguese Embassy and Sheraton toward Talad Noi. Along the way check out galleries and conceptual exhibitions aiming to boost local businesses and nurture the neighborhood’s unique character at the same time.
Once in Talad Noi, visit a mini museum in a dilapidated Chinese home displaying actual makeshift chairs of all shapes and sizes used by factory workers around the country. They were brought by a design firm to reflect the hard work behind all the elegant furniture from “designers who never define themselves as designers.”
Enjoy the sunset view and hear people have fun at Chinese shrine San Chao Rong Keauk where a colorful karaoke machine made of simple household appliances has been built. Then continue along creatively lit paths once it gets dark.
Conclude the evening with a drink with beautiful river views at Baan Rim Naam, an old riverside wooden home turned a lounge and exhibition space showing old school furniture with a touch of modern arrangement that can almost make one forget about the chaotic city life lies just a few hundred meters away.
Bangkok Design Week 2019 runs now until Feb. 3 at several venues across the Charoen Krung area. All events are free and reachable by express boats or free shuttle services. Not all venues are accessible to visitors with disabilities or impaired mobility. Find more information at the official website.