Hospitality is in the midst of a revolution. Words like “upcycle” and “craftology” – a blend of craftsmanship and technology coined by Thai designer Eggarat Wongcharit – are emerging in industry lingo. Conceptual art and cutting-edge interior design have begun to define restaurant, resort, spa, bar, and hotel space. And, increasingly, international brands are refashioning their look with the works of Thai and Asian designers.
That was the message of Hospitality Objects Thailand (H.O.T.), part of the Bangkok International Gift and Housewares Fairs 2014 (BIG and BIH), which took place this October and attracted hundreds of designers and thousands of consumers to BITEC Bang Na. From Thai-centric exhibitions, like Talent Thai and Isaan Objects, to the broader Asia Talents and Hotel FantAsia – nine spaces in all that imagined the hotels of the future, each conveying a different aesthetic to appeal to the world’s kaleidoscopic tastes – H.O.T. comprised all facets of hospitality. Taking part were jewellers, graphic artists, and furniture makers; interior decorators, painters, and chefs. Over three days limited to registered buyers and two days open to the public, the Thai and Asian design communities were given a platform to trumpet their distinctive spin on interior design and art.
H.O.T. linked consumers with creators at a pivotal moment, as attention in the global hospitality industry has begun to shift to Thailand. “Our rich heritage and history of handicrafts set us apart,” explained Wongcharit, an instrumental figure in the institution of H.O.T.
“We’ve taken our work abroad many times, but now Thailand has the opportunity to become a hub for design.”
His comments were echoed by ML Kathathong Thongyai, Director of the Thailand Institute of Design and Innovation Promotion, who was upbeat on the abundant creative potential in Thailand, saying, “We have such a wonderful talent pool in terms of design in Thailand and it is our mission to help international businesses understand and recognise the DNA of Thai design. We no longer imitate, we innovate. Our traditions and culture have helped to forge unique products that are distinct from their Western counterparts. Events like H.O.T. are definitely putting the exciting world of Thai design at centre stage.”