MOST PEOPLE KNOW THEM AS THE DESIGN TEAM BEHIND COUNTLESS CONCERTS AND SHOWS, BUT THEIR CREATIVITY GOES BEYOND SPECTACLES OF LIGHT, COLOR AND SOUND OR EVEN SPECIAL TECHNIQUES, FOR BEING A ‘DUCK’ THAT CAN WALK, RUN AND SWIM MEANS THAT DUCKUNIT FOCUSES ON ITS ABILITY TO APPLY AND MAKE THE BEST OF THE MANY SETS OF SKILLS IT POSSESSES.
Stamp / 25 Hours / Palmy / Sqweez Animal / Hugo / TOE, these names are among the long list of artists that the visual design studio that goes by the name of DuckUnit has worked with over the past 13 years of its operations that range from the design of lighting, color, sound and visual effects to scene and stage design, as well as spaces and programs of countless music festivals and commercial exhibitions. Such great diversity sometimes makes us wonder, what exactly does DuckUnit do?
WE SEE OURSELVES AS JUST A STUDIO THAT ENJOYS DOING SOMETHING NEW THAT WE’VE NEVER DONE BEFORE.
“We see ourselves as just a studio that enjoys doing something new that we’ve never done before. We believe that one question can be answered in many directions so being able to get our hands on such diversity allows for us to find some new answers for the work without being constrained by what the medium has to be.” Ruengrit Santisuk, Show Director and co-founder of DuckUnit tells art4d about their working process that refuses to be limited by a specific set of skills or any particular discipline. They consider that the incorporation and adaptation of existing background knowledge to other disciplines they may have never worked within before brings a different perspective to the work.
DUCKUNIT DOESN’T BUILD ITS CHARACTER ON THE USE OF MEDIA OR TECHNIQUES, BUT THE STANDARDS OF THE PROJECTS.
For most people, DuckUnit’s most familiar works are the scene and stage designs of concerts and music festivals with Big Mountain Music Festival, White Line Concert by Thai rock bands like Blackhead, the lighting sculpture featured at The Last Fat Fest back in 2012 or Nike Air Max Laser Sneakers where they employed a laser technique to the formation of Nike’s shoes being some of their most memorable projects. Nevertheless, of all the works that make up their impressively diverse track record, the project the studio found to be the most accessible and that is among some of the most difficult work they have done since the conception of the studio was MahaNakhon Bangkok Rising, a light show for the opening of MahaNakhon, Thailand’s tallest skyscraper at the moment. The challenge lied in having to work in an entirely new space, and especially one of such height, for which neither DuckUnit nor other design studios in Thailand had ever had the experience of working with a site of such nature. The fact that it was a vertical space they had to deal with, and on top of that, with the scale of the work itself requiring a highly skilled team as well as resources, the challenge became even greater. What makes DuckUnit stand out is the diversity of the projects whose conceptions are derived from the originality of ideas, which in the meantime, become one of the reasons that make it hard for the studio to develop its own character as a design studio. “DuckUnit doesn’t build its character on the use of media or techniques, but the standards of the projects. Most of them are the stuff we have never done before, but we created them with the desire and intention to take them to a point where all the elements could come together and be executed at the final state, and we believe that is how the characters of our works are formed,” Ruengrit further explained.
With the fast pace and strength of modern-day technology that has contributed to people’s more diversified demands, Ruengrit sees both negative and positive prospects in the future of spatial design. “I believe that we will be able to produce works that can be globally accessed because of the ability of the technology that we have and will have. But because of such progress, it becomes harder for us to develop works that resonate with the environment and our own context while maintaining a distinctive character because we can’t help but see the techniques and methods before anything else.” In his view, the popularity of cross-platform practices, which has been the essence of DuckUnit’s working philosophy, will increase as different disciplines require adaptation to achieve a greater level of creativity and originality.
TEXT: NAPAT CHARITBUTRA AND PAPHOP KERDSUP