• Keen as ever to get people thinking more about helping the planet, Pipat
  • O brand
  • The brand A Piece(s) of Paper makes perforated reusable wraps for notepads and phones.
  • Thinkk Studio has contrived a kinder way to make lampshades and the results are always unique. /Courtesy of Thinkk Studio

Get some green going

Art March 19, 2017 01:00

By
Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The Sunday Nation

‘Mr Eco’ Top Pipat shows in an e-guide how you too can help save the world



THE LATEST effort to help the planet by Thailand’s “Mr Eco” takes the form of a free new e-book full of advice on how to change your daily habits and do less harm to Mother Nature.

Actor-turned-designer Pipat “Top” Apiruktanakorn has spent more than a decade trying to make a difference with his earth-friendly products and to motivate people to change their ways. 

He’s just recently closed his Eco Shop Common at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. It too will be taken online – a place to learn about ecology, find the right tools to use and buy the right kind of stuff.

In the meantime there’s “Eco Design Thai Thai”, available right now for free download. 

Keen as ever to get people thinking more about helping the planet, Pipat “Top” Apiruktanakorn is offering his ebook “Eco Design Thai Thai” for free download. 

“Public awareness is growing steadily about the need to conserve resources,” says Top, “but a lot of people still just don’t know how to start, so here I’ve compiled what I learned about the green business. I hope it motivates more young designers to build good things for our world.”

Top studied product design at Srinakharinwiroj University before he began acting and hosting TV shows. His master’s-degree research on the latest trends in buying eco-design furniture led him to architect Singh Intrachooto, who makes amazing house wares for the Osisu brand out of stuff usually regarded as junk.

Singh became Top’s thesis adviser, and Top ended up designing a rather neat chair for Osisu called “Need”.

Top says the e-book took about a year to complete. “It’s in Thai and English and explains some topics with infographics and even embedded video clips.”

On offer are tips on starting your own eco-business and then adding value to your products and the services. Several prominent people are interviewed in videos, including ML Kathathong Thongyai, the driving force behind the government’s Department of International Trade Promotion; ML Dispanadda Diskul of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation; and Tanasak Sakariganon of Siam Cement Group. 

Among the success stories profiled are the Lemon Farm shop selling organic agricultural produce, and the Akha Ama coffee company – a hilltribe endeavour in Chiang Rai. Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is featured for its affordable DIY products.

O brand’s rear bike reflector used recycled polypropylene.

“Starting a business like this can be tough because you have to convince people of the product’s advantages,” says Top. “In the long term, though, it’s sustainable. Lots of people see it as a niche market with big potential. 

“I’ve been able to make a profit selling my products. Defining whether you might ‘get rich’ or not is subjective. But in my case, I’m able to pay and give bonuses to the seven 

employees of my company, KidKid, still leaving my wife Noon [actress Siraphun Wattanajinda] and I enough money to live happily. 

“What’s most important, though, is that I feel good about being in this kind of business.”

The “0.4921” notebook saves paper by increasing the number of ruled lines on the page. 

Top’s brand “O” covers a range of stylish items. His 160-page notebook called “0.4921” earned a Commerce Ministry Eco Award in 2013 by cleverly boosting the number of ruled lines on each page, thus saving paper.

“Most products on the market can be made smaller, thinner, narrower or lighter and use sustainable and renewable materials without diminishing their functionality,” Top points out.

Just as tree-friendly is his prototype ukulele, the “ecolele”, which is a teak neck with four strings attached. It sounds just like a normal uke despite having no body, and no body translates into a 70-per-cent saving on wood.

For all the cyclists now on Thai roads, there are O-brand cycling accessories made with “leftovers”. The “88” leather straps made from factory discards hold a water bottle, umbrella and other items against the bike frame. A power-saving rear reflector fashioned from recycled polypropylene won the 2013 Design Excellence Award (DEmark) from the Commerce Ministry.

Helping the government’s Public-Private Collaboration Project to add value to Thai crafts, Top designed “Civillight” floor and table lamps with lampshades of chequered pha khao ma fabric from the Northeast, coated so it doesn’t catch fire.

“I’m also working on a plastic-bag dispenser and working with the Mae Fah Luang Foundation to develop the packaging for hilltribe products,” he says.

Top’s e-book makes space for his designer friends who’ve come up with their own conscientious home decor, furniture, food and skincare items.

Thinkk Studio has contrived a kinder way to make lampshades and the results are always unique. / Courtesy of Thinkk Studio

Decha Archjananun and Ploypan Theerachai’s Thinkk Studio shows people how to make a lampshade using no electricity. You instead use their all-wood “Lanna Factory”, whose five spindles each hold a different-coloured thread. The yarn is fed through glue and wraps around a spinning PVC foam mould that comes in several shapes. You can control the direction and colours, for an almost infinite number of designs. 

Actor Thanavate “Gap” Siriwatanagul has a brand called A Piece(s) of Paper that includes reusable wraps perforated to tear easily and turned into notepads and notebook covers. 

This iPad case at Good/Rak is made with durable, recyclable kraft paper. / Courtesy of Good/Rak

At Good/Rak, Kittiphat Sukamol- son makes phone cases, wallets and coin purses out of the recyclable kraft paper commonly used for jean labels because it’s so durable and can be sewn in place. He strengthens the “paper” further with woollen felt to guard against tears.

Dialysis pouches keep on being useful as Kiddee Project handbags and totes./ Courtesy of Kiddee Project

You’d think dialysis bags would have already served their noble purpose once used, but Vipavat Darapongsataporn and Kavita Srisan’s Kiddee Project turns them into funky handbags and totes. And the proceeds from sales help buy equipment for hospitals. 

Bamboo Braid incorporates bamboo and brass in its bracelets and earrings. / Courtesy of Bamboo Braid

Piyanuch Saechan of Bamboo Braid incorporates bamboo and brass when she hand-braids bracelets and earrings, and Supawadee Kaewkum of Mazmoizelle uses lightweight cork in her briefcases, handbags, shoulder bags, backpacks, clutches and wallets.

 

PLENTY OF GREAT IDEAS

The e-book “Eco Design Thai Thai” can be downloaded for free this month at https://goo.gl/LM9tml. 

For more details, visit the “Ecoshop Common” page on Facebook.