BACK TO THE START

PRACTICAL DESIGN STUDIO CELEBRATES THEIR 12 YEARS OF DESIGN EXPERIENCES IN STYLE BY REWINDING TO THE NEXT.

Whenever the term design exhibition is brought up, it’s perfectly conceivable for one to imagine content that highlights the role communication will play. But that is not the only goal REWIND TO THE NEXT (held at The Jam Factory from 2nd June to 3rd July 2016), exhibition by Practical Design Studio for its 12-year anniversary in the discipline, is aiming for.  It strives to sort out new possibilities by going back to fundamental two-dimensional elements such as ‘dot’ and ‘line’ with the ‘design of design methodology’ being the task.

 

48 Possibilities, Image © Practical Design Studio

48 Possibilities, Image © Practical Design Studio

The wish to design a system that encompasses beyond ‘individuality’ is materialized into 40 pieces of two-dimensional creations. All designers in the studio were asked to take part in the making of this special design jam session, where the size of the space was indicated and the Golden Ratio brought in to avoid the commonly used iso system. On a piece of A4 paper and regardless of aesthetic quality, each designer was assigned the task of designing pretty much anything. The process gave way to the final result of grid structures with obscure forms that were later used and reconciled in the next stage of the design. These primary designs were then superimposed into ‘Emptiness to Nothingness,’ the work we see on the exhibition’s poster.

The sketches were presented in the first section of the exhibition’s space. They function similarly to the captions that describe the concept of the process Practical refers to as the ‘search for possibilities.’ In a nutshell, such process of experimentation is ramified into six different directions: space subdivision, drawing a line to the center, finding the section/indicating the section/dragging through the section, drawing a line without lifting the pencil, creation of eye line and formation of a spatially conceived curved line.

 

In the second stage of the design, the six types of grids generated by the primary experimentation were utilized as the structures of four categories of works (drawing, illustration, photography, typography). This is the stage where the aesthetics of each work’s finished image is realized and content formulated. What Practical proposes is the interpretation of ‘grid’ as the ‘fundament’ of thoughts that affect the final stage of a work. Such concept can be found in World (2016) and Thai-Land (2016), but is most pronounced in Thailands (2016) where 16 configurations of the country’s map connotatively elaborate how the same thing (constituted Thai identity) is interpreted (designed) using different notions (grids) allowing for drastically contrasting results. Equally interesting is the series of eight portraits that objectively discuss the modern era’s reproduction and control of facial beauty through tools such as mobile make-up applications or plastic surgery.

Gesture-Align-2016

While many of the works contain social references, a good number of typography and photography pieces are more design oriented. A work of photography, ‘Gesture’ (2016) is a rarely seen collaboration between two disciplines (graphic design: Practical and ballet: Bangkok City Ballet). The work was contrived from an observation of the impacts that ‘grid’ has on human’s emotions. The idea was then further investigated by the insertion of the human body into a grid system using the technique of photography that later evolved into a performance piece on the opening day. Works in the typography category, which are seemingly experimental formations of type and fonts, engage the exhibition’s main content with functionality as important keywords such as system, possibility, practice, and relativity explain and encapsulate Practical’s design character.

 

REWIND TO THE NEXT is solid and legitimate in its principle and rationale. Each work is valuable for its own process of conception and requires no further interpretation. But such strength can be the weakness, as the studio’s complicated design thinking and process cannot be presented in its entirety. Consequentially, additional explanations from the creators such as Practical’s designers have to be provided. The strong and highly concentrated concept pushes viewers to the position of listeners and spectators who ask questions while substantial exchange of opinions and dialogues is limited. This is probably the reason why Practical’s designers take turns being at the gallery to play the role of mediators who facilitate communication between the works and their audience. It also explains why a workshop was held to stimulate dialogues and interactions between viewers-designers-exhibited works.

Rewind to the Next Exhibition, Photo by Ketsiree Wongwan

Rewind to the Next Exhibition, Photo by Ketsiree Wongwan

 

Rewind to the Next Exhibition, Photo by Ketsiree Wongwan

Rewind to the Next Exhibition, Photo by Ketsiree Wongwan

TEXT: NAPAT CHARITBUTRA

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