PRIORITIZING USER EXPERIENCE OVER THE PHYSICALITY OF THE END PRODUCT IS THE KIND OF THOUGHT PROCESS THAT TURNS VERY KIND INVENTION, A STUDIO WHO BELIEVES IN THE OMNIPRESENCE OF DESIGN, INTO A DESIGNER OF SPACES AND FACILITATOR OF EXPERIENCES.
The beginning of Very Kind Invention can be traced back to Coconut Project in 2010. It was the first collaboration where Attanon Wongluang, Petchpisut Assarasakorn and Thiyaporn Panikbutr, who would later become the founders of the design studio, shared their ideas and common interests. Compared to other studios, the distinctive characteristic of Very Kind Invention lies in the element of contrast found in their works such as the perfect combination between old and new, the cheap and the expensive, the kitsch and the cool, all are done to challenge users to think and question the visuals and physicality of what they see and what it should and could really be.
While ‘fun’ is one of the elements of Very Kind Invention’s body of work, which ranges from concerts and product launching events to exhibitions, the diversity of their design repertoire can be best encapsulated with the term ‘experience design.’ “We don’t limit the end product and what it has to be, perhaps it’s just a graphic for viewers to read, perhaps it’s some sort of a structure that users can play with. In some cases, there’s no need for any physical form to be constructed, as a sound or smell does the job in facilitating certain feelings or emotions. Therefore, we have always enjoyed designing these methods to challenge users to act or to feel something that’s new and original including the way their ideas can be materialized from participating in an experience we create.”
THE DIVERSITY OF THEIR DESIGN REPERTOIRE CAN BE BEST ENCAPSULATED WITH THE TERM ‘EXPERIENCE DESIGN.’
‘Sansiri Presents KHUN’s DNA Exploratorium’ is one of the most significant examples of the diversity of experience design. Collaborating with Bampas & Parr, a renowned experience design studio famed for its brilliant infusion of food that has given birth to countless imaginative experiences, Very Kind Invention designs a space and other elements to best complement the activities going on in the program. The first official work of the studio, however, was ‘Film on the Rock’ where they worked as the event’s main design team. The project, which took place in 2012, had two prominent figures of the world’s independent cinema such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Tilda Swinton as the curators. It has become another climax in the studio’s history as they learned a great deal from the collaboration with a great number of artists and designers while the work itself earned them the wider recognition they deserve.
With the word ‘kind’ in Very Kind Invention referring to the intention to create works that have a positive impact on the society, the ideas and the works themselves must not hurt or intend to do any harm to anyone. ‘The Hidden Capital’ exemplifies this very intent. The interpretation of a series of Buddhist teachings ‘Jitnakhon’ or ‘City of the Mind’ composed by The Supreme Patriarch into the content of the exhibition is extremely challenging. The aspect of faith and religious belief are portrayed into a space where one learns the workings of the mind and the true essence of the teachings with interactive design acting as a tool. The work was highly successful as it inspires the interests of the younger generation in Buddhism and has brought overwhelming feedback from a wider ranging audience, consequentially making it one of the most memorable projects of the studio.
THERE’S A GREAT POSSIBILITY THAT MORE COMMUNITY SPACES WILL EMERGE AND WHOEVER IS ABLE TO DEVELOP AND SERVE THIS RISING DEMAND WILL BENEFIT THE MOST.
While most of Very Kind Invention’s works are collaborations with the private enterprises and sector, their view on the social aspects of the future and trends of spatial design are very insightful. “We see the future of the more community-based design, which emphasizes interactions. There’s a great possibility that more community spaces will emerge and whoever is able to develop and serve this rising demand will benefit the most. In terms of the general trend in design, we feel that the notion of locality, people returning to their cultural roots, is being appreciated by a younger crowd. It’s a great thing that young people are now beginning to recognize and acknowledge the coolness of their hometowns and are driven to be an active part of the development of local products and services.