Finnish Design in Bangkok: rug design

As a part of my Bangkok experience, I discovered a collection of interior mats, sold in design shops all over the city. Those mats were attractive in their graphical simplicity. Furthermore, to my surprise, their design belonged to young Finnish artist, Sini Henttonen. Later on, I got to know the full story of the rug collection. Additionally, I learned the specifics of the Thailand design from the perspective of a Scandinavian professional.

Textile artist, designer and illustrator, Sini Henttonen
Textile artist, designer and illustrator, Sini Henttonen

THE ARTIST

Sini Henttonen has graduated from Aalto School of Arts in 2013, as a Master of Arts in Textile Art and Design. Later, she has acquired design, production and selling experience in the field of floor textiles in Finland, Estonia and Thailand.

THE PRODUCT

The story of the mat collection for the growing PDM brand has started in 2012. During one of her trips to Thailand Sini noticed the absences of rugs in Thai homes, mainly,  due to practical reasons. However, further on, a founder of the of PDM Brand, Mr Doonyapol Srichan, introduced Sini to the traditional Thai mat. Typically, this type of mat is woven industrially in local villages from colorful plastic stripes.

Inevitably, as a passionate textile designer Sini Henttonen together with Doonyapol Srichan saw an opportunity.

Bold Scandinavian graphics and variety of practical application, interior mats collection, PDM brand, Bangkok
Bold Scandinavian graphics and variety of practical application, interior mats collection, PDM brand, Bangkok

THE GOAL

Mainly, the goal for the developed collection was to update the perception of a traditional polypropylene mat and merge the practical component with bold Scandinavian aesthetics. According to Sini, today’s interiors, furniture, and architecture in Thailand is very contemporary. Unfortunately, in the field of textile production the sense of design has not yet reached the same level, therefore mismatching the modern environments. Thus, PDM brand rugs collection aimed to fill in this gap in the markets.

DESIGN SPECIFICS

Thailand vs Nordic Approach

Apart from the process of carpets’ design I could not resist inquiring from Sini, as a Helsinki-raised designer, what is it like to work in Thailand, and what, in her opinion, are the biggest difference between the Scandinavian and Asian approaches. As Sini kindly explained, the most noticeable points are the following:

  1. Big strokes. In Thailand, professionals focus mainly on the large picture, omitting imperfections. Meanwhile, in Finland, careful thoughtful approach with high attention to details is more common.
  2. High efficiency. It is well known that the pace of work and delivering speed is very high in Asian countries.
  3. Strong self-belief. Local professionals in the design field know what they want and go bravely after it. Ideas are easily expressed, shared and developed into businesses. Running a small local company is comparatively easier and much more common here, than in an inert Finland.

In general, according to Sini, Thailand opens enormous possibilities for designers. The country provides high affordability and diversity of materials, labor and craftsmanship for the design production. Merged with Scandinavian values like sustainability, timelessness, and functionality local efficiency could take the design to a totally new level. Therefore, we strongly recommend to art students from Nordic countries to get an internship or an exchange in the concrete jungles of Bangkok!

A huge Thailand fan myself,
yours sincerely, Smirnova Marina,
on behalf of Capture Design