The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis book review: Brian Mertens’ Bangkok Thai Ideas in Design

Written By: herbrunbridge - Apr• 10•11

We here at WoWasis have been fans of Bangkok Fashion for a decade now.  One  of the city’s strengths is in having a culture that embraces the arts, and she is particularly strong in fashion and design, the latter of which includes progressive home furnishings. Brian Mertens’ spiffy coffee table book, Bangkok: Thai Ideas in Design, Textiles, and Fashion (2007, ISBN- 13: 978-981-232-600-3) is a handsome book, replete with wonderful photos by Robert McLeod, that serves as a good marker for where Bangkok design stands today. 

Here 36 contemporary designers are profiled, covering a range from retro, minimal, expressionist, modernist, neo-traditional, and pop. Whether you’re living in Bangkok or traveling there, the excellent text puts these artisans in historical and contemporary perspective, and the book has a complete and well-designed index. There’s not much in the way of fashion here, as interior design takes the main stage.  Perhaps most importantly, this is art you can buy, and the book includes websites that can guide the enthusiast directly to shops where many of the goods profiled are sold. 

We’ve raved about the gorgeous water-hyacinth-based décor items created by Pawinee Santisiri of Ayodhya, and she’s well-covered in the book. So is the work of the late furniture design genius Caryl Olivieri, to whom several pages are dedicated. All in all, the book is a “must” for followers of the Bangkok design scene, and an important one for those interested in the contemporary artisan scene in Southeast Asia. Buy it now at the WoWasis estore, powered by Amazon.

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