Monumental Waves of Flowing Rattan Transform an Art Gallery in Thailand

Rattan Architecture by Patrick Keane

Challenged by a private art collector to upgrade the art displays in his gallery, Enter Projects Asia has created a dynamic, fluid space using rattan. The Thai firm is known for its use of this local, sustainable material that grows in abundance. And in order to transform the Chiang Mai gallery as the owner requested, the studio created a warm, immersive experience that is quite different than a typical white box gallery.

As the art gallery has several different pavilions enclosed by intricate gardens, the firm explored ways to tie the entire space together. By blending 3D geometries with traditional Thai craftsmanship, the result is a sumptuous, sculptural form that weaves its way through the gallery. Visitors are able to get a different perspective on the space depending on their position within the gallery, as the form is always shifting and moving.

To create the design, Enter Projects Asia used special software that simulated the movement of clouds and steam. These ribbons and clouds of rattan then weave their way seamlessly through different zones, culminating in a series of pod structures that serve as armatures for the new collection.

Rattan Architecture at Chiang Mai Gallery

By using rattan, Enter Projects Asia is giving a nod to the cultural heritage of Thailand and helping revive the local economy while also remaining sustainable.

“Rattan is an ideal choice; it is one of the fastest growing plants in the world so it's incredibly sustainable,” the firm's director Patrick Keane tells My Modern Met. “It's also flexible and can be used for many purposes and spaces. It is a reference to South East Asian culture and years of rattan craftsmanship, warm in color with great tactility and durability.”

“We also wish to revive the declining rattan industry, so many rattan workers are put out of business by the importation of inferior plastic products, catastrophic to the industry as well as the environment.”

To that end, the firm has created Project Rattan, which produces bespoke furniture, lighting designs, and architectural projects. In doing so, they hope that more people will see the benefits of using rattan.

“It is not hard to be sustainable in construction if we adapt to our environment,” shares Keane. “Why would we use synthetic, toxic plastics when we have all the noble materials we need at our fingertips?”

A Thai architecture firm used rattan to transform a private collector's Chiang Mai art gallery.

Rattan Architecture by Patrick KeaneRattan Architecture at Chiang Mai Gallery

Using forms based on clouds and trails of steam, the sculptural rattan joins together different pavilions.

Rattan Architecture by Enter Projects Asia

Visitors get a different perspective on the space when viewing the work from different angles.

Rattan Architecture by Enter Projects AsiaRattan Architecture at Chiang Mai Gallery

Enter Projects Asia often uses rattan in their work, as this sustainable material grows in abundance in South East Asia.

Rattan Architecture by Patrick KeaneRattan Architecture by Patrick Keane

“Why would we use synthetic, toxic plastics when we have all the noble materials we need at our fingertips?”

Rattan Architecture by Enter Projects AsiaRattan Architecture at Chiang Mai GalleryEnter Projects Asia: Website | Instagram

All images via William Barrington-Binns. My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Enter Projects Asia.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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