Now in its third year running, Bangkok Design Week returns for 2020 with more things to see and do than ever.

That’s great news for the city — much less so for our feet, which will be taking us around the entire city for some non-stop creative exploration. Throughout 1-9 February, the whole city is transformed into one huge design gallery and intellectual playground featuring hundreds of exhibitions showcasing innovative ideas in fashion, furniture, technology, and even food. The theme this year is titled ‘Resilience: New Potential for Living‘, which seems particularly appropriate for the current struggles we’ve been facing from city pollution to the coronavirus. What is Bangkok doing to prepare us for whatever the future brings? This week-long ideas festival will focus on exploring some options we might have.

As a design festival spanning four districts – Charoenkrung, Ari, Sam Yan, and Thonglor – Bangkok Design Week 2020 can be an overwhelming prospect without a bit of guidance. To get the most out of the week, it’s best to have a game plan by strategically mapping out your route. From showcases to activities to food — get a clearer idea of what’s happening and where by consulting our quick guide to hitting all the top highlights within each district.

[All images courtesy of Bangkok Design Week 2020]

Route 1: Charoenkrung – Talad Noi

1. TCDC

Thailand’s Culture and Design Centre is unsurprisingly the best point to start your Bangkok Design Week journey. Get introduced to all the exhibitions and venues here, pick up your handy guides and maps, and start touring around the exhibitions on every floor from the rooftop garden to the basement.

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Highlights:

  • Creative Film Screening (5/F), 1-9 Feb: Meet and participate in activities with directors, actors, and film experts.
  • Seize The Day Coffee Salon (5/F), 1-9 Feb: Make barista-approved homebrew coffee and enjoy an enticing chocolate tasting.
  • AP Supermarket (Front Square), 1-9 Feb: Decorate and accessorise your own “AP Supermarket” re-usable shopping bag.

2. O.P. Place

The old multi-level complex of specialty shops and antique stores gets a shake-up with each room hosting a mini-exhibition, turning the whole place into one big house party of showcases and design ideas.

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Highlights:

  • O*Henry & Pinpina’s Marimekko Box (2/F), 1-9 Feb: Take Instagrammable photos in a mesmerising square room fully decorated with the iconic Marimekko prints.
  • H-Lab Collective (2/F), 1-9 Feb: Play with automated flying fishes as part of an experimental project researching flight control.
  • KUDOS (3/F), 1-9 Feb: Check out all the weird natural objects and food items that have been tapped to make electricity.

3. Warehouse 30

The artsy warehouse plays host to some vintage stores, coffee workshops, and a massive designer’s market gathering Asia’s most creative independent artists.

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Highlights:

  • Pinkoi Market (Warehouse 7-8), 1-4 Feb: shop to your heart’s content at the market that brings together 50 Asian designers’ booths as well as 6 workshops with famous artists.
  • Swear Like Thai Spirit (Warehouse 30), 1-9 Feb: The satirical brand ‘One More Thing’, showcases a range of fashion items printed with critiques on consumerism and ironically plays with the idea of Bangkok Design Week being a playground for Instagram.
  • Salt and Pepper Studio Taste Test (Warehouse 1), 1-9 Feb: A collaborative team of artists, product designers, and interior designers put together an exploration project to create new designs.

4. Talad Noi

Once a buzzing residential area, old mansions and abandoned properties have now been filled with cool innovations and exhibitions.

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Highlights:

  • Bangkok Sealandia (Sumphat Gallery), 1-9 Feb: Explore inside a city model that suggests how Bangkokians might live if the city became submerged underwater as a result of melting ice caps.
  • Tithi Animal Farm, 1-9 Feb: Forget ignorant bliss and come learn all the dark secrets of modern day capitalism at ‘Animal Farm’.
  • AAAM Experimental Playground, 1-9 Feb: The old gardens of Talad Noi get filled with immersive installations of lights and dreamy micro-architecture with healing powers.

Route 2: Sam Yan

1. TCDC Commons

A mini version of the Charoenkrung TCDC, TCDC Commons at Ideo Q Chula is also full of educational and entertaining interactive exhibitions.

Highlights:

  • Calligraphy Workshop by Withi Design, 8 Feb: Learn the art of handwriting with the best tools and instructors, with two workbooks to take home and practice with.
  • Workshop Say something by something, 9 Feb: Get educated on how to successfully convey stories and feelings.

2. MOD

The ‘Data and Space’ digital visualisation exhibition at MOD is a cool display of the district’s realtime data in various topics, such as the number of restaurants in a particular area, or the number of current residents.

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3. The Shophouse 1527

PHKA x The Shophouse 1527 is a collaboration with Cloud-floor that presents an experimental installation art aiming to interpret how changes in human behaviours and urban developments will affect the environment.

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4. Design Center, Commde Chula

With their exhibition ‘Faith Forward’, Commde Chula explore how human faiths have proved themselves to be able to co-exist with technological development.

Route 3: Ari

1. Tinkering Pot

Explore Ari’s new creative development project that aims to facilitate coexistence of various groups of people, promote industrial diversity, and enhance economic value to the district.

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Highlights:

  • 33 Space (Soi Pradipat 17), 1-9 Feb: take a walk inside the Tinkering Pot and explore its cool interiors, futuristic showcases, and thought-provoking interactive activities.
  • Open Panel Discussion, 1-2 Feb: come listen to a series of talks and open discussions on melting pot societies, guidelines for technological creativity and more.

2. Op-Portunist

Engage in activities and talks with a company of innovative thinking that aims to make city life a little easier, cleaner, and safer.

Highlights:

  • Unknot (Phahonyothin 7), 1-9 Feb: unlock the secrets of how to get around the city during rush hours using secondary transportation service provides.
  • Scoot Scoot (La Vill Ari), 1-9 Feb: check out some state-of-the-art e-scooters and e-tuk-tuks that are planned to be launched in the local area soon.

3. Eco-friendly Café Hopping

A group of Ari’s most beloved cafés are joining hands in a collaborative project that aims to implement better waste management strategies and promote environmental sustainability in their businesses. The cafés are all within walking distance of each other and host a range of activities from food map creating to tasting recommended dishes. Check out the list of participating cafés:

  • 33 Space Café
  • Porcupine Café
  • Lay Lao
  • Landhaus Bakery
  • Oh Vacoda Café
  • Coffee No.9
  • SATI Handcraft CoFFee

Route 4: Thonglor – Ekkamai

1. Care Station

Located right on the BTS at Ekkamai, the Care Station collaborates with Carenation, Refill Station, and PAVA architects to provide consumers with everyday eco-products. Be sure to grab a few goodies before or after your tour around this district!

2. Asitnahc, Abduction

Here’s a trippy immersive exhibition that lets you step into a virtual world created by lighting and soun design. Open from 1-2 Feb, and 4-9 Feb, located – appropriately – at ‘Nowhere’ Café in Ekkamai Soi 6.

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3. Thong Ek Creative Neigbourhood

This is a showcase of works and talks developed to unite all groups of people in Thonglor and Ekkamai and form a strong communal identity. A great place to meet people and make new friends and connections in the area! Here are some of the participating venus:

  • I am Legend
  • Ink & Lion
  • (un) Fashion Vintage
  • Modern Town Bus Stop
  • Cheesecake House
  • Tuba
  • Lamptitude
  • theCOMMONS

For more information and workshop tickets, please visit www.bangkokdesignweek.com.

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Karn Chatikavanij
Style Writer
A globetrotter with a love for sushi and Miu Miu, Karn is a fan of all things upbeat, delicious, and well-dressed. Her frequent activities include packing for beach trips, listening to 80s music, and trying to make daytime pyjamas happen.