Contract - March 2013 - (Page 72)

Pitupong Chaowakul founded Supermachine Studio in 2009, and designed the student lounge at Bangkok University (page 42). PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY PITUPONG CHAOWAKUL PERSPECTIVES In the Spotlight: Pitupong Chaowakul The designer of the student lounge at Bangkok University (cover and page 42), Pitupong Chaowakul, 37, founded Supermachine Studio in 2009 in Bangkok. Born in Ubonratchathani, Thailand, he earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture at Chulalongkorn University. In 2003, he received his master’s degree in architecture from the Berlage Institute of Architecture, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, while working for NOX Architecture in Rotterdam for a year. Since starting his eight-person firm, he has designed projects ranging from education interiors to an office for Saatchi & Saatchi in Bangkok. When and how did your firm get started? In 2003, I came back to Bangkok from Rotterdam, and started up a firm called Thisdesign with five friends. After six years, everyone set up their own firms. That’s when I began Supermachine Studio. What was your firm’s first project? My first project was a stage design for a rock concert in 2003 called Paradox Circus. I collaborated with my friend who was an artist, and we built a 40-foot-by-75-foot inflatable teddy bear and projected some graphics on it. It was quite a new thing back then—large-scale motion graphic mapping. Do you have a design philosophy? How would you describe it? “Having fun by exploiting all limitation,” is my philosophy. I have not been lucky enough to have six-star–type budgets. “Cheap but good,” seems to be our clients’ first mantra during the project briefs. This has been forcing us to put extra effort into finding solutions that excite us within the limited budget. Seventy percent of our work can be considered limited budget projects, I think. It doesn’t mean we can’t do expensive projects, ok? [laughs] But at least we still have a lot of fun! How selective are you of the clients that you work with? I believe particular types of designers attract particular types of clients. It is a natural matching process. In the office, we love to work with peculiar stuff—some people try to call it “creative” but we think it is just fun. Therefore, the clients that come to us have some affection for those strange characteristics of space, too. Do you have a particular approach to dialogue with a client in a project’s early stages in order to understand what they want in the project? It’s extremely important to establish the right dialogue with the client, throughout the project. It should start up like a coffee talk, not a business talk. What interior space—anywhere in the world, designed by anyone—inspires you? Why? Oscar Niemeyer’s Oca exhibition hall in São Paulo, Brazil. I went there when I was studying at the Berlage Institute. I was so thrilled by the monumental calmness inside Niemeyer’s gigantic white dome. With the quality of light from those simple circular windows, it was really like entering a spaceship. What is unique about interior design in Bangkok compared to in the United States or Europe? Does the culture allow you to design differently in Bangkok than elsewhere in the world? Here in Bangkok, things tend to happen more quickly than in Europe or the U.S. Things happen and develop much quicker here in Asia. That is what I have experienced. It is much less organized and less controlled which, in general, is not always good but you can find positive angles in its negative nature. It is a funny platform in which sometimes things happen with strange logic, or without any logic. And that is what we find in our culture to be very interesting. What would be your dream project? A library. We almost got a chance to do one, but it is now pending. 72 MARCH 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - March 2013

Contract - March 2013
Industry News
Columnist: Gaining Projects in the Education Market
Exhibition: Cevisama
Product Focus: On the Move
Product Briefs: Education
University of Toronto Rotman School of Management
Bangkok University Imagine Lounge
Lorain County Community College iLoft
Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, Sonoma State University
Forum Overview: Contract Design Forum Looks Toward the Future
Designers Select: Education Solutions
Ad Index

Contract - March 2013