atelier nl

Nadine Sterk with
Lonny van Ryswyck


The work of Atelier NL translates the convergence of environment, history, and human experience into objects and systems that enrich everyday life. Atelier NL uses design as a method to reveal hidden informational patterns and stories that lie beneath the mundane. By researching and rearranging what already exists, Atelier NL touches on what it means to be human in an ever-evolving world. 

chiang mai vase

- part of Here and There at Chiang Mai Design Week 2016

Everyday things that most people take for granted. Details that go unnoticed. Traditions that became ordinary habits. The desire to awake consciousness for underestimated values and experiences guides Atelier NL to create objects capable to carry people away, back to their source. Nadine Sterk and Lonny van Ryswyck has an exceptional talent to emphasise the link between raw materials, their origins, and possible new functions. In their project Chiang Mai Vase they researched what materials and craft techniques found in Chiang Mai can reveal about a place and how folklore can exist in our contemporary life.

They visited several workshops and craftsmen in Chiang Mai region and asked them to make a vase inspired by the one they made in the Netherlands. By encouraging all artisans to apply their know-how and change certain attributes of the original vase, each object tells a different story about Thai skills and materials. By sharing their own experience and perspective, Atelier NL reveals how a deeper relationship with materials can improve humanity’s approach to the environment as a whole. The end result is a collection of 12 vases showcasing the talent and tradition on Northern Thailand.

Special thanks to Chiang Mai Celadon, Chatchaiwat Pottery, Wild Mild Art Studio.

Bora Hong is a Berlin based multidisciplinary designer who uses objects, installations and interior design as a tool to communicate with people. Her work is inspired by various social and personal issues to be found in different cultures. Bora's work comments and criticizes on contemporary design culture by exploring various themes, such as beauty industry or porn.

The Beauty of the Beauty Industry

- part of Here and There at Chiang Mai Design Week 2016

The billion dollar Korean beauty industry has an enormous effect not only on Korean body image and beauty rituals, but all over the world. It is the fastest growing and technically most advanced beauty industry in the world which promotes an unparalleled emphasis on looking good and having a flawless skin. Cosmetic surgeries among young women in their twenties is a common ritual, and an average Korean woman uses 10-18 products a day, not including make up. The most important component of the very narrow beauty ideal is white skin. Although Asian skin is very sensitive, there is hardly any product without whitening components, which can cause hyperpigmentation, skin cancer, thinning of the skin irritations, infections and mercury poisoning.

This blind chase of more European looking body image inspired Bora Hong to work on The Beauty of the Beauty Industry is a project, where she observes the Korean and Western influenced Thai beauty culture and compares it design culture. It examines modification of our bodies as a misguided attempt to become younger and more beautiful, to ultimately achieve a better position within society. Likewise, designers are focused on making a ‘good design’, but what ‘being better’ means is also difficult to answer. Ultimately, Hong used various methods to bleach materials and applied on ordinary Thai objects. By doing so Hong aims to open up discussion on the meaning of local beauty and healthy body image.


Margriet Craens lives and works in Eindhoven. After studying Dutch literature and Fine Art she works as an artist within the fields of art, design and cooking. Since graduation she participated in several exhibitions in the Netherlands, Belgium, New York and Switzerland. 

Lucas Maassen lives and works in Eindhoven. After studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven he started his career as an independent conceptual designer. His work has been exhibited in museums all over the world such as MoMA New York, Grand Palais Paris, Vitra Design Museum Weil am Rhein, Taiwan Design Museum Taipei and the van Abbemuseum Eindhoven. Besides his design practice Maassen teaches at the Social Design Master program at the Design Academy Eindhoven and at the Academy of Art Communication and Design in Tilburg.

The Elephant Factory

- part of Here and There at Chiang Mai Design Week 2016

The elephant has been an important figure in Thai society and a significant symbol for many centuries. Known for their strength and intelligence, elephants have played a substantial role in manual labour, war combatants, royal symbol, and the tourism industry. For thousands of years, elephants were captured and trained to be a form of transportation and heavy labour. Since the logging industry became illegal, elephants owners or mahouts have to find other ways to feed their elephants, most of them turning to the entertainment industry and tourism. Elephants in the entertainment industry are trained to follow over forty commands; they can kick soccer balls, participate in talent shows, and use their trunks to paint and lift objects.

But is it possible to employ elephants as 'local craftsmen' and set up a factory to produce souvenirs with them? The starting point of the project is a fictive story by the writer and artist Margriet Craens in which she describes a factory owned and run by the elephants. The story emphasises the intelligence and skills of the elephants and explains how they produce souvenirs for tourists, such as traditional Asian umbrellas and ceramic bowls.

For The Elephant Factory project artists Maassen and Craens set up a fictional factory and collaborated with the animals to make prototypes of the souvenirs. The aesthetics of the objects truly reflect the skills and habits of the elephants: the pressure of their weight, the movement of their tail and trunk are the tools they are specialised to use. The process of making and experimentation is just as much is part of the project as the end results. The Elephant Factory project points our the ridiculousness of expectations of humans towards the kind and unveils the visual language of craft made by elephants. The goal of the project is to open a discussion on elephant labour and raise awareness about Asian elephants.

 Special thanks to Maerim Elephant Sanctuary for allowing the designers to work at their land                and for all the help instructing the animals. 



Nanu Youttananukorn is a designer & maker. His work rooted in the relationship between systematic thinking, improvised action & nature of material. He is a versatile practitioner who believes in the object's potential to deliver a more conscious experience to the user. 

Pavilion 330

- part of Here and There at Chiang Mai Design Week 2016

As a part of Here and There program, Nanu Youttananukorn filled the space within the Chiang Mai's iconic Thapae East red steel park with a temporary bamboo pavilion. This parasitic structure is co-designed by Pantang Studio & Nanu and offers a new perspective on the bare red skeleton by letting people to walk around on the unfinished steel structure. The pavilion emphasises the importance of public space and set to be a meeting point, a discussion space and open air cinema during Chiang Mai Design Week 2016.

Made mainly from locally sourced bamboo, the raised platform is using the Nanu x Bamboo joinery system which allows designers, makers, builders & architects with little to no experience to build freely relying on simple tools such as drill, saw & spanner. The connections between poles are angle variable and when combined together the user are able to create their own structures for various purposes. Nanu x Bamboo system aims to untapped potential of bamboo as construction material previously demanding in terms of skill & cost.    

Special thanks to Thapae East for all their support.


Thonik is a design studio founded by Thomas Widdershoven and Nikki Gonnissen in 1993. With fifteen employees the design studio collaborates with clients and creatives in design, e-culture, architecture, art, film and advertising. Recent clients include Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Venice Architecture Biennale and the Dutch broadcasting company VPRO. The work of Thonik gets much recognition. Thonik has had solo exhibitions at the Shanghai Art Museum, the Venice Architecture Biennale 2008, MOTI Breda, Spiral Art Center Tokyo, Sfera Kyoto, Institute Néerlandais Paris and Galerie Anatome Paris. The design studio has monographs published in English, Chinese and Japanese. Thonik has won many awards, including the Rotterdam Design Prize and the Gouden Loeki, an award for the best Dutch television commercial.

Education is a passion of Thomas Widdershoven. Almost immediately after graduating as a designer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, he became a teacher of graphic design at the Hogeschool van de Kunst Arnhem (1995-2000). He later left that position for a lectureship at the Rietveld Academy where he taught at the designLAB (3d design, 2001-2005). Thomas gives workshops and lectures in the Netherlands and abroad, he has been the creative director of Design Academy Eindhoven between 2013-2016.

'SENSE NONSENSe' lecture at cmdw conference

- part of Here and There at Chiang Mai Design Week 2016

'Sense Nonsense' is the title of an exhibition initiated by Thomas Widdershoven at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. It reflects an ongoing research into the value and relevance of an artistic design approach. Sense Nonsense argues that there is no rational path to innovation. We should embrace speculation, fiction, art, serious hobbies and improvised survival strategies to achieve the seemingly impossible, to have an impact on the world and to motivate real-world change.



Nicole Driessens with
Ivo van den Baar


Visual artists Nicole Driessens & Ivo van den Baar have developed a wide range of artworks that have arised from subjects in their direct surroundings in Rotterdam Charlois: their house and family, their street, their neighbourhood and their city. These personal themes, in which they research the visual meaning and power of their ideas, are strongly connected to a large group of artists, designers and craftsmen in the area of the studio who are connected in the production and presentation of the works. Both artists are skilled in handcraft, shown in techniques with textile, painting and photography. The process of research and making in the studio is essential for their work. Since 1999 all the works have been developed together.


in collaboration with Jim Thompson
research and project development by Anouck Hus

- part of Here and There at Chiang Mai Design Week 2016

"You feel at home where you grow your own plants." Why do people live where they live and how do they make the place their home? Wars, suppression, hope for economic growth, change in personal relations are the most common reasons why people decide to leave their birthplace to start a new life somewhere else in the world. Either planned or sudden decision, it takes time to become familiar with the new environment and to develop new habits. But what are the signs that they settle down and plan to stay for longer time? If people succeed to adapt to the new place, they will decorate their house to make it their new home. Furniture, textiles, family portraits, religious signs, flowers and plants will be the most distinct visual elements, and the more time passes, the more personal the house becomes. Being a harbour city, Rotterdam has welcomed many ethnicity from Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe as refugees from war, forced to leave due to political problems or natural disasters, all of them looking for a new place to stay and to make a living.

For Chiang Mai Design Week 2016 WANDSCHAPPEN has developed a project which combines Thai silk from the world famous Jim Thompson Silk Company and Holland wool felt. By combining these two local fabrics, designers reflect on the high mobility of societies and the constant cultural exchange of our current times. WANDSCHAPPEN created a series of silk-wool plants based on the Orange Trumpet (Puang Sad), a typical plant in Thai landscape. The installation consist of various sizes of these plants, which combines the wool felt on the outside and the silk material inside. All elements of the installation have been hand dyed with natural colours and sewed by local craftsmen. The Silk-Wool Plant Collection project shows an ultimate collaboration and symbiosis of ideas, techniques and materials from the Netherlands and Thailand.

Apart from the gorgeous flower installation, designers paid respect for the Late King Rama IX who recently passed after 70 years of reigning Thailand. A reversible textile vase stands for the mourning process, starting from all black fabric and slowly turning into a colourful object as time passes.

Special thanks to Jim Thompson Silk Company, Punsiri Sakulwirote and Nararat Rakchang.