Annie Gotterson / DESIGN Thai master Perspective magazine HK Febuary 2010

From a soldiering stint in the Thai army to contemporary lighting design, Rattanaphol Taja, sole lighting designer for Kome Tong, fined inspiration in traditional Thai Lanna culture.

It’s easy to see that Rattanaphol Taja is influenced by the styles and principles of traditional Thai design, currently residing in Northern Thailand’s Chiang mai region, he describes the area as one of the country’s cultural and creative hubs – a backdrop essential to the development of his own distinct style. Harder to discern however, of the effect his brief stint in the army also had over his evolution as a designer.

Despite a keen interst in ‘crafty things’ from a youg age, at 24 Taja decided to join the nation thai army. 15 months later, after finding that life under a commander’s strict control wasn’t for him, he left. But in many ways the discipline very least, they taught him the dedication he needed in the following years as he launched his own lighting label.

Designing and consfructing lamps in the back of his showroom/shop initially, taja focused on faithfully recreating ancient styles and learning the techniques necessary to do so. “My first lamp was designed in an ancient style – a bamboo structure bound with cotton ropes and sa paper covers,” he says.

After many long hours spent bending bamboo into form, hand cutting Sa paper and delicately winding ropes – which the designer all did by hand and without heip – the results were criticised fotheir fragility and ‘out-of-date’ aestheic. Not to be dissuaded. the young desiner went back to his workshop, and this time came up with something quite different.

Taja’s recent designer, while still fundamen tally based on traditional lamps, have been tweaked and modernised into unique, intriguing pieces that firmly qualify as contemporary Thai design.

Take the Pearl light, for example, after experimenting with various cutting techniques on the Sa paper of his first creation, Taja devaloped a  knack for fashioning intricate patterns out of paper. “I had tried to cut the sa paper in a circle shape. I then cut in many textures, flowers, lotus and ceiling stars,” he says.

What inspires you the most?

My grandfather is a philosopher about literatures, languager, ceremonies and ancient Lanna cultures. The entire and I realize at the Buddhism fact, all of Lanna is the Buddhism which means to the true lives living with the simple and happiness.

What about your work is distinctly Thai?

From the truth of root, I have lived in supreme – delicate art country surrounding with the romarce, humble, middle ways and forgiveness.

Siam (Thailand) from is the ultimate of mixing, harmony and divisibility, Siam had adjusted to be syrvived from western colonials. Therefore, Siam or Thailand must change herself which was quite difficult fer a small country. This is our special and no matter fast or soon, we all have done the best as we can so far.

Are you working on anything new at the moment? What is it?

Yes, When I started doing the new thing, my basic Zero even my walking routes are not smooth with various obstacles and troubles. I always ask myself, what I really want; the answer is “I must repect to myself”.

Next, my big project from now on or in next 10 years or longer is a homestay in Lampang (my hometown) in local villas and art as well as pureness. 

Passing in different kirds of job, I have looked around myself and thinking that of have lived here; However, there are many factors depending on the outsiders; and I can not go to fast in my finarce and advance because of my simple life. 

In these days, my story has been revealed which I sill work hand as usual. I am a Thai designer in Chiang mai.

Full issue Coming soon.


~ by Rattanaphol Taja on May 31, 2010.

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