Slow Hand Design 2015 : Eco A Mano


DEmark will present an exhibition "Slow Hand Design : Eco A Mano" at Salone del Mobile, Milano 2015

Dates : 14-19 April 2015
Venue : Rho Fierra Milano, Hall7, Via Tortona, 27-Milano, Italy 

Slow Hand Design 2015 : Eco A Mano

As an exhibition that celebrates the harmonious marriage between Thailand's grassroots design wisdom and modern industrial crafts, Slow Hand Design will return to Milan for its fifth consercutive year at a new venue in Rho, Fiera Milano from April 14 to 19, 2015. This exhibition will be showcasing the works from seven design studios and brands, which reflect local craftmanship and advanced technological know-how of Thai design DNA. Furthermore, the showcase of environmentally friendly design products from DEmark Award aims to signal a future shift in the design industry towards a more sustainable manufacturing process.




Relying on natural and local materials, villagers in Thailand survive through using local wisdom to create a range of domestic designed tools that can be utilized in fishing, farming, etc. From fish traps to toys, these vernacular creations are truly an outcome of local wisdom. 

Today, designers utilize the same handicraft techniques, but, with lesser stress on both forms and textures. Globally, the new designs have proven themselves in quality, reliability and style. Modern Thai designs, made from natural fibers and other organic materials, have a proven reputation for both design and quality. The export of Thai designed products have also created increased earnings for the village's artisans. Using more sustainable materials, exported industrial crafts have proven that there can always be a choice not to harm the environment, as long as there is creativity. 



For generations, the wisdom of village craft has been passed on, within families, from one generation to another. As it was passed on, it was further developed in both functionalities and aesthetics. The materials that can be found in the surrounding areas are wisely adapted for daily entertainment or survival. 

Compared to mass production, today's craft production is more labor intensive but consumes far less environmentally harmful materials. Craft production is also more open to experimentation as it has no rigid routines and boundaries of a mass production line. 

When craft production techniques are combined with recycled materials, new raw materials are created and adopted, enhancing the diversity in aesthetics. Perfect examples of this, in furniture production, are Performax, Ayodhya and Yothaka who are leaders in water hyacinth furniture production. Production possesses unique manual interweaving techniques that reflect the progress of industrial craft development. Different patterns of weaving and modern materials are combined to create the different look and feel for the products. 

Water hyacinth is considered a great alternative material for furniture production as it is more environmentally friendly to use. 



Thailand's furniture industry started in the early 1970s due to the shift of the country's economical policy from agriculture to massive industrial expansion. Huge amounts of foreign investments kept pouring into the country as the labor costs were very low. Many investments from overseas were the shift of the manufacturing base from Europe, the United States and Japan bringing with them modern machinery. Laborers from all over the country gathered in the industrial zones. With industrial efficiency, the rate of consumption of local materials such as teak increased manifold. This increase deteriorated the country's teak supply which was, and still is, the country's most valuable raw material. It also contributed to the eventual deforestation in Thailand . 

The lack of forestry management during the period of original equipment manu- facturing (1970-2000) took a heavy toll on the natural environment. 

Environmental management first appeared in the early 1990s. The impact of pollution from industries on communities created public awareness on environmental issues. Moreover, environmental concerns were raised as major issues in the country's sustainable development policy. Resulting in, the launch of several environmental protection campaigns to further promote public awareness. 

To help preserve Thailand’s natural forests, the government started collaborating with the Thai Furniture Association and other related industries to find a sustainable 

wood alternative. To improve and sustain the environment, replacement materials, such as rubber wood, was first introduced to local manufacturers. Now, the furniture industry has shifted to different industrial alternatives in order to conserve teak forestry. 

In 1996, the massive economic downturn impacted heavily on the country's economy. Designers and architects who were laid off in that period, gathered as a group with the support of the Department of International Trade Promotion. Their aim was to seek potential products for export led by design. The members of the Design and Objects association came together and presented an export design product collection that has its own identity in design. Many alternative materials, that consumed less of the environment, such as water hyacinth, vines and etc, were introduced to both the local and international public. The collection also reflected local wisdom in handicrafts and unique dimensions in design and production. 

After the dawn of the era of design, the use of alternative materials was opened to other local manufacturers. Design not only opened up the choices of materials, but also revived local wisdom in crafts techniques. The birth of industrial craft was initiated by the development of the design era. Although environmental concerns have become a part of the manufacturing planning process, requirements from the global market are the key force in strengthening local environmental laws on manufacturing and production. 


Slow Hand Design 2015 : Demark


Design Excellence Award was established in 2008 in order to give recognition to outstanding product design. It is awarded in conjunction with the Prime Minister's Export Award (PM’s Export Award) which is presented annually by the Prime Minister under the auspices of Thailand Institute of Design and Innovation Promotion, Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, Royal Thai Government. The winning product receives the DEmark logo for outstanding design, which can be used to promote well-designed Thai products in the international market. It is hoped that this award will help promote development of domestic products, which will in turn better the quality of life of both domestic and international consumers. 

The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) receives cooperation from The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP) in determining the judging criteria for DEmark Award of Thailand, inviting experts to be judges in this contest and also help promote the DEmark Award to be widely accepted in the international arena.