Community action is at the heart of Bangkok Design Week 2024

Community action is at the heart of Bangkok Design Week 2024

BANGKOK, 31 JANUARY 2024 – On Saturday, 27 January 2024, the seventh edition of Bangkok Design Week (BKKDW2024) was launched with the theme of Livable Space: The More People Act, the Better the City.

Happening for nine days until 4 February 2024, the festival aims to present core design challenges and creative endeavours, reflecting issues faced by the people across various districts in the city.

Over 500 activities are spread across Bangkok. Three main concepts guide the activities, namely: Hard Matters (a city that is physically well-designed, easily accessible and promotes good health); Heart Matters (a city that is emotionally nurturing, caring for its people, offering a variety of activities, and celebrating authentic culture); and Design Matters (a city that is well-designed, ensuring a good life).

Partnered with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) this year, BKKDW2024 challenges creators from various design disciplines to propose solutions for the capital city’s everyday issues.

A deeper look into neighbourhoods’ potentials

As creative districts are a key element of Bangkok Design Week, there were 15 main districts selected to showcase related projects, activities and local cultural assets. Led by residents and creative professionals to showcase the best of their areas, the programmes range from storytelling using novel platforms to taking visitors on a journey to experience ‘edible history’ and lesser-known locations. This aims to further develop cultural assets into contemporary products and services that can create added value for the community.

The 15 districts, each with their distinct histories, blend of tradition and modernity, and local creators are: Charoenkrung–Talat Noi; Phra Nakhon; Pak Khlong Talat; Nang Loeng; Phrom Phong; Ari–Pradipat; Wongwian Yai–Talat Phlu; Bang Pho–Kiak Kai; Kaset–Bang Bua; Hua Lamphong; Bang Mot; Siam–Ratchathewi; Phra Khanong–Bang Na; Yaowarat; Bangkok Yai–Wang Doem; and other districts not specified above that have begun to act towards enhancing the city’s creative landscape.

On-the-ground perspectives

In preparation of BKKDW2024, the organisers—the public organisation Creative Economy Agency (CEA) in collaboration with over 60 state agencies, organisations, academia, international institutions, businesses and designers—conducted and presented interviews with the local community who served as festival co-hosts.

For example, in Hua Lamphong where the bustling central train station is located, Yanin “Miw” Thunkijjanukij and Pakornwit “Jabik” Wiangsripanawan of ReThink Urban Spaces (RTUS) expressed that the fast-paced neighbourhood was lacking a deeper sense of belonging. The activities that will be held there include a collaboration between six local shops called Made in Hua Lamphong, a photowalk, workshops, and artists’ open houses.

In Phrom Phong, an upscale mixed-use commercial district, Suttida “Yam” Tharanatham of Landscape Architects 49 identified a lack of public spaces for gathering and connecting with each other. She proposes a solution of transforming unused zones like office parking spaces that are empty during weekends to become ‘rest spaces’.

The famous Chinatown district in Yaowarat was found to best be ‘supported’ rather than adding new activities, according to Wipawee “Aum” Kittitian of SATARANA. The activities here include targeting the younger generation through comics and street arts, transforming the bare walls of an old trading road into artistic displays with narrative pieces.

For more info, visit: Bangkok Design Week (BKKDW2024)

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