Chiang Mai’s cutting-age Miaiam Museum of Contemporary Art wins the best Leading Cultural Destinations Award, dubbed the “Oscar” of museums. Photo courtesy of Maiiam
Chiang Mai’s cutting-age Miaiam Museum of Contemporary Art wins the best Leading Cultural Destinations Award, dubbed the “Oscar” of museums. Photo courtesy of Maiiam

Chiang Mai’s Maiiam wins the Oscar of museums

Breaking News October 08, 2017 13:46

By Phatarawadee Phataranawik
The Nation

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The Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai has become the first Thai art museum to win the Best New Museum of Asia Pacific award at the prestigious Leading Cultural Destinations Awards, dubbed the “Oscars” for museums.



Announced by LCD Awards founder Florian Wupperfeld in London, the cutting-edge Maiiam pipped Shanghai’s Fosun Foundation by leading architect David Foster & Partners and Heatherwick Studio, as well as Nanjing’s Jiangsu Art Museum, designed by German architect studio KSP Jurgen Engel Architekten.

Judged by nine established cultural gurus from around the world, the prestigious awards honour the world’s most visionary art institutions and emerging cultural hotspots.

“We are so honoured and excited. The award is to be shared with the architects, contractors, curatorial teams, artists, members of the press and especially the people of Chiang Mai, who have welcomed us with open arms,” co-founder Eric Bunnag Booth told The Nation.

There were 16 categories in total, with nominations from around the world.

London’s Design Museum was the overall winner of the “The Leading Culture Destination 2017” award.

Thailand’s Maiiam is a private museum founded by Eric Bunnag Booth of the Jim Thompson silk firm and his stepfather Jean Michel Beurdeley. The 3,000-square-metre museum showcases more than 600 works that they and Eric’s late mother Patsri Bunnag have amassed over the last 25 years.

It is located in the town of Baan Ton Pao, a 15-minute drive from the city centre. The dramatic architecture of the ultra-modern two-storey structure is an amazing story of transformation of an abandoned warehouse over the course of 18 months. 

The firm all(zone), led by Rachaporn Choochuey, conceived the design, which includes a dazzling array of mirrored tiles on the exterior facade. The mirror mosaic, found in a Lanna temple, adds to the museum’s modern appearance but also lends a traditional touch. 

Other major award winners were:

Museum Architecture of the Year: Lisbon’s Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology 

Box office exhibition of the Year: Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC

The organisation also introduced the new Climate Smart Awards, which was given for climate control, to Manchester Museum in Manchester, England, while the award for Best Museum Late-Night Experience went to New York’s Rubin Museum of Art.

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