RABBITHOOD, A CHIANG MAI-BASED DESIGN STUDIO, BRINGS TOGETHER THE CITY’S BOOKSHOPS, RESTAURANTS AND MUSEUMS WITHIN THE PAGES OF ‘LITTLE CHIANG MAI,’ A GUIDEBOOK WITH CHARACTER DIRECTLY RELATABLE TO ITS CONTENT.
The beginnings of Little Chiang Mai was derived from a PR project promoting tourism destinations initiated by the Market Research unit of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The project’s operator contacted Rabbithood, a Chiang Mai-based design studio, to oversee the design and production of the book with the initial brief being for the team to create a map of Chiang Mai’s bookshops, restaurants and museums. Rabbithood developed the idea into a book that brings together the city’s local establishments with bicycle and running routes in Chiang Mai being added in as a bonus.
What differentiates Little Chiang Mai from most guidebooks is its subject matter, which is divided into five individual pocketbooks distributed within the one package. Each book has a character that is relatable to its content. For instance, the design of the page layout of the Gallery Museum / Collection Multi-purpose pocketbook utilizes a die cut technique creating a final presentation that looks similar to the way in which a painting is framed and exhibited in an art exhibition. ‘Ride’ is the volume that puts together 12 different cycling routes in Chiang Mai with infographics providing details for each course, making the overall series to be a bit sportier. In addition to the design, another important element behind the design is the way it views reading as an experience. The design team intends for Little Chiang Mai to have a bit of everything people can’t get online, from the feeling of unwrapping the package or how the five books come in different sizes and use different types of paper to the printing and binding techniques. These gimmicks are incorporated in to correspond with the content of each volume. Nevertheless, looking at the functionality of a traveling book that is preferably compact, resistant to wrinkles and water, Little Chiang Mai doesn’t seem to be physically strong enough for actual usage with a size that is almost as big as a magazine and rather heavy in weight, not to mention the large rubber ring used to fasten the package. The question goes back to the design team of Rabbithood as to whether this bona fide design pocketbook is for us users to use or collect.
TEXT: NAPAT CHARITBUTRA