Dr. Pornthip is Thai coroner and a fascinating Thai woman. She’s the first person in Thailand to successfully use DNA evidence to convict a killer. When she was identifying victims of the tsunami, other volunteers admired her so much they began emulating her punk style. She’s apparently atypical of Thai women in her choice of profession, and in her direct communication style. The doctor is something of a Thai celebrity and we frequently see her image on the covers of magazines and newspaper style sections. Perhaps the popularity of CSI-type shows blazed the way for a celebrity coroner. It’s great to see such a unique and progressive person get this kind of media attention.
In addition to being in the design district, we’re also in the wedding district. We must have seen twenty shops dedicated to wedding dresses, banquets, flowers, photography, etc. as a package deal. I’ve also seen this kind of setup (one-stop-wedding-shops) in NY’s Chinatown and in Istanbul And I love this building with its voluptuous poured concrete forms. It’s like sensuous tulip-like water towers.
Wandering around today, we realized our guesthouse is in a trendy, expensive part of Bangkok, on Thonglor Street. And we happen to be staying in Bangkok’s interior design district, with Cassini showrooms, Alessi tchotchkes, lighting shops, etc. We discovered a large, fashionable lifestyle store which has two restaurants, a magazine shop, housewares, clothing and books. Affluent, fashionable Thais hang out here and eat lunch at New York prices. It’s a pretty nicely designed space, with good curation of products. But all in all, we saw the usual brands of designer goods — Custo clothing, a book by Karim Rashid, even marked up IKEA key cabinets. We were a bit disappointed to find there were no products we hadn’t seen before, and that the menus were predominantly western. I guess these are effects of globalisation, and that perhaps design-savvy culture is about the same everywhere. It makes me wonder how products can differentiate themselves now and in the future with all this cheap manufacture and easy distribution. Perhaps products that are limited edition, or handmade and difficult to produce will be at even more of a premium. Local materials and methods are becoming more interesting.