THEMATIC PAVILION: Look from a different angle to create a context for beauty of steel pipes and chains from Context Studio

Design that reveals the identity of products, which is the brand’s character, intricate craftsmanship and practical functions are the signatures of Context Studio, which, for its namesake, specializes in Context.

What’s different about this studio is that it chooses an existing context to create a new context to suit the space and environment, revealing the hidden gems of the design. This makes the collaboration between Context Studio and Thaikoon Steel Group and Thai Premium Pipe, which manufacture steel pipes and chains, results in an eye-catching Thematic Pavilion.

What is the origin story of the design? Let’s hear from the designer himself, Khun Ton – Badintra Balankura, founder of Context Studio.

Connecting Spaces

The layout of the pavilion is not such a familiar sight. The Thematic Pavilion is placed in the center diagonally, encircled by exhibitors with no distinct object which separates the Exhibitor and Thematic zones.

The design which places the Thematic Pavilion in the center to act as a buffer between the exhibitors and the space arrangement to achieve an airy atmosphere where visitors can access the pavilion from many directions are to make the Thematic Pavilion itself an open space, where everyone can make use of it and for it to be shared among organizers and visitors.

By taking a good look at the model, besides the main sculpture at the center, there is also furniture specially designed as part of Thematic Pavilion for visitors to sit and relax, as well as to provide a space for organizing human library activities for visitors to listen and exchange interesting ideas with speakers.

Mission | Vision | Values

The concept of the piece, as Khun Ton recalled, was to design with the brand’s identity and vision in mind. Thaikoon and Thai Premium both wish to demonstrate that the materials which are often associated with system work can also be used as decorative materials. At the same time, Khun Ton would like to emphasize that both brands place importance on the environment and sustainability.

“Mainly, we look at the customer’s product, steel pipe for use in structural and system work, which feels rather rigid. The customer’s purpose is for the public to see pipes from a different perspective, that they can be used as decoration, and to communicate the concept of Thaikoon and Thai Premium about their priority on the environment.

With these two issues in mind, we thought we have to take straight and rigid pipes and make them feel as gentle and fluttering as much as possible, which results in this idea. The straight pipes gradually move and adjust their angle little by little to create a spiral movement. In the pavilion, we design chairs and furniture which are all made from chains and pipes. The design is a collaboration between Thaikoon and Thai Premium.

| Sustainability & Safety |

The environment and sustainability conveyed from the visions of both brands’ which drive the concept of Green industry are embedded in the details of the design that Context plans from choosing the size, installation and transportation method.

  • Factory-standard size product, which is 6 meter-long, 4 meter-wide pipe
  • All 70 steel pipes are in the same size for convenient transportation. If pipes are in different sizes, the packing needs to be separated, which increases the emission of greenhouse gases.
  • The installation uses a structural design which allows disassembling and reassembling like jigsaw puzzles. Each pipe is welded with a swivel neck joint and each point of welding has a washer to reduce the friction of the pipes when tightening together.

However, many may have questions about the safety when dealing with 6 m-long steel. Khun Ton’s response shows that every detail was thought out with the utmost care.

“The installation of the joint must be locked into 2 axes, otherwise the pipe will have force which enables it to rotate left and right. Then it will be attached to the H beam steel structure below, similar to how we put on socks and lock the screws in.”

New Challenge

Although designing a pavilion is not a new task for Context, this is more challenging to the studio than previously thought, because there are two customers, limited construction time and a format that focuses on showcasing design and architectural style.

“Personally, I have never designed a pavilion which such limited time and with this architectural outlook. It takes planning and we have to know our limits about how much our ideas can actually be executed, because everything has to be constructed and installed within 4 days. If anything goes wrong, it’ll be very easy for the whole thing to tumble down.

We also have to negotiate with several partners, and we act like a mediator and coordinate everything to make sure that the overall design is as cohesive as possible. This is also one of the challenges as well. If we see it from a positive way, the work can progress. Like the layout, at first it was separated into zones, we kept designing and designing to look like what we wanted (until we have the present layout). We face the problem head on, we don’t want to turn our backs to the problem at hand.”

“For this year’s Architect Expo, I would encourage everyone of all ages and professions to visit, because the designers pour their heart and soul into every pavilion. We design the pavilion as if it was an actual design work commissioned by a customer.

So in the design process, there are negotiations and discussions, sometimes miscommunication like in actual work process, I would like everyone to experience that.

For other booths, the topic of sustainability has been raised a lot in terms of materials that everyone can use to develop ideas and can be used at home or in personal projects. I want people to think that by visiting this event, you will be inspired, find new ideas, open up perspectives, or to meet and talk to people, especially to architects, because at several booths and locations, architects will be stationed to give information and answer everyone’s questions.”

Stop by for new experience at Architect’23 “Tum Tad: Time of Togetherness” to be held during 25- 30 April, 2023 at Challenger Hall, IMPACT Muang Thong Thani. 

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