Visit to the TCDC in Bangkok
Bangkok, Thailand -- City of Angels as it’s known in Thai, isn’t a place short of reasons to visit and yet I may have just found another one to add to my list. Past the temples and food stands, Thailand Creative and Design Center (TCDC) sits at the recently reopened Grand Postal Building on Charoenkrung road, and it is impressive.
TCDC, Established in 2003 under the supervision of the Office of Knowledge Management and Development, aims to: promote social and economic development on a basis of creativity, provide better access to information and resources in creativity and design, and contribute to human resource development of the future.
The TCDC offers five dimensions of services:
01. Business Development: creative business incubation, design thinking workshops
02. Multi-disciplinary Learning: that includes the resource center, as well as workshops, exhibitions and lectures.
03. Networking & Partnership
04. Creative District: TCDC is determined to develop Charoenkrung as a creative district in Bangkok
05. Regional access: sharing resources throughout Thailand, other regional centres include TCDC Chiang Mai and 35 other educational institutions nationwide
The building is spread over five floors each serving a different function. I came in through the front lobby, got my visitor’s pass and was advised to start on the 4th floor with an exhibition “Creativity Onwards”, then continue to the 5th floor before beginning my descent through the back building passing the Resource Centre, Maker Space and Material & Design Innovation Centre.
The exhibition “Creativity Onwards” traces the development of Thai creative industries and showcases works from the past and today. Being there gave me an insight into the development of the creative industries over time and the characteristics of Thai production methods. I also jotted down some Thai designer names to watch.
5th Floor - Cafe, Creative Space,
After the exhibition, I continued my visit to the top floor that houses the Creative Space, Creative Business Service, a Café and several Rooftop Gardens with impressive views. The Café is open to the public, but you have to be a member to access the rest of the facilities. After touring the many spaces on that floor (there are meetings room and other nooks for research) I settled in with several books in the open space observing the room as groups of students filled the tables. Most learning spaces are quiet but this one had jazz playing through the speaker.
Besides being the most complete resource centre on creativity and design I have ever been to, it also showcases a whole wall of magazines on creativity both mainstream and niche and provides access to several databases, such as fashion trends forecaster WSGN that is notoriously expensive and only targets large corporations and universities. If you are interested in fashion trends, that alone is worth a flight to Bangkok.
It comes as no surprise that I spent hours browsing books and magazines and did not get to see the Maker Space on the 3rd floor and the Material & Design Innovation Centre on the 2nd. Those are on my list for next time.
From traditional temples to contemporary creative endeavours, Bangkok’s design scene is a fascinating one. This is a nation that was never colonised. It is actively investing in design, arts and attracting both Thai and foreign talent.
Next time I’m in Bangkok I’ll make sure to visit:
- MOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art – opened by a telecommunications multimillionair it boast largest collection of art in Thailand
- BACC - Bangkok Art and Culture Centre – a state-funded art centre that is home to exhibitions, art galleries and cultural organisations, as well as bookshops and cafes.
- Soy Sauce Factory – art gallery, bar attracting a cool crowd.
- Scala Cinema, opened in 1969, inspired by tropical art deco and retains its nostalgic charms.
- The Friese-Green Club – a small private members’ club where the movies are free, you pay for drinks at the bar.
- Of course, return to TCDC and complete my tour.
-- Greta, Happy Gallivanting.
All observations my own. Descriptions about the services and facilities from their information booklets. More information on TCDC on their website https://ck.tcdc.or.th/.