The recently launched Holen Co. Ltd. was created by young Thai designers who want to offer funky, colourful souvenirs from Thailand. And they set their sights on the characters taken from the Ramakien—Thailand’s national epic, derived from the Hindu epic Ramayana.
“We wanted to offer something intrinsically Thai,” says a smiling Silawat Virakul, one of the young designers behind Holen. “We are very much into “Kwanpenthai” (Thainess) these days.”
Unveiled in October at the BIH/BIG, Thailand’s annual design exhibition, Holen made a hit during the four days of the show. Visitors were all drawn by the cute colourful characters that took the form of dolls and accessories. The dolls, available in eight different colours, are the newest of the products lines and likely to become collector’s items.
Silawat, and colleague Suvaroj Rattanathongkong, decided together to choose characters from the epic drama for the launching of their collections. “We wanted to turn some of Ramakien’s traditional characters—Hanuman (King of the Monkeys), Maiyarap (King of the Underworld), and Thotsakan (King of the Demons)—into fun and funky, but still useful design objects,” explains Silawat.
The full collection is composed of mugs—all hand finished—dolls, travel pillows, folding pouches, and even eye-shade masks, as well as a coaster that is a reproduction of a one-baht coin. Prices for the items range from B150 (for the coaster), to between B300 and B1,800 for the Ramakien figures. In total, two dozen items are available for sale, but just online for the time being. Holen also has the ambition to expand their customer base, and is looking into contacting airlines, transport companies, and eventually hotel chains.
“There is a huge demand today for contemporary souvenirs. With our line of products we show that we can still refer to our Thai traditions and turn them into attractive fun items to collect”, explains Silawat. The company is actively searching to have some sales kiosks or sales representatives in Bangkok. First location would likely be at Asiatique The Riverfront, and possibly at one or both of the Bangkok airports.
Looking for a classic Thai souvenir that isn’t old-fashioned or out-dated? Look for the designs of Holen Co. Ltd.