My Design Works
Updated: Sep 22
A random selection of my industrial design works in no particular order.
Spring Lounge Chair January 2008
It took me some thoughts before deciding I will start this blog with the Spring Chair I designed back at the beginning of 2008. "Spring" is the project name of a series of home furnishing objects for SOTA Studio Collection consisted of occasional tables and this lounge chair, which I like the most. Eventually, "Spring" became the name of this lounge chair launched at October BIG+BIH Fair, 2008.
I started the project on occasional tables using a single sheet of SUS316 stainless steel sheet as structure as well as functional surfaces and went on finishing the project with this lounge chair. The concept was rather straightforward to use the material character of the 1.5mm SUS316 stainless steel sheet and the design of the welding points - on three structural points - the "foot," "seat" and the "brace" - so the chair will flex as the person shifts pose on the chair, hence the name "Spring Chair". The designated gauge 1.5mm SUS 316 stainless steel is for the needed strength as well as to control its flexes, in combination with how and where the sheet is welded, and for reasonably safe edges.
The Spring Chair has a seating angle of 11.2 degrees and stretch of 731mm, width 600mm, and comfortable 290mm leg rest. Total display length is 933mm, so even a 179cm Lithuanian model Margarita rests comfortably on the first production chair. It is still available as a made to order functional art.
Breeze Ice Bucket and Wine Cooler March 2008
Initially, a design intended for Umbra but I decided to keep it as a SOTA Collection. I designed the sand cast glass ice bucket by borrowing the realistic look of ice cubes fused in the process of casting. Sharp edges removed by gas flame to give the ice bucket and wine cooler a polished and slightly melted appearance.
The key visual communication of the ice bucket is straightforward and transparent, and hopefully it remains as a decorative sculpture even not in use, sort of an identity that I tried to establish as an industrial designer.
Pinna Wine Racks/Display March 2004
I started a series of wine rack/display designs in August 2004 with a 12-bottle wine rack made from a single solid Mango wood piece - the original Pinna 12 Wine Rack, which became one of the early Studio SOTA collections with remarkable commercial success internationally.
Additional models were added and introduced in the April BIG+BIH Show in Bangkok in 2005 with the release of Pinna 18 and Pinna L (24), which made the Pinna series of wine racks a continued success with the expanded international market. From a design standpoint, the Pinna 18 and Pinna L is a compromise to the spirit of the original Pinna, which is slim, balanced, and well proportioned.
The development background for the original Pinna 12 was accidental instead of marketing or inspirational-driven. The design started when a wood manufacturer, a friend of mine, and a subcontractor for some of SOTA wood products visited me, saying he needed to find good use of a unique mango wood raw material inventory, preferably in good sales value.
That particular wood raw material came in an average size that is good for producing objects with a diameter of approximately 200mm and a length of close to 2,000mm. My manufacturer friend is more proficient in woodworking than needing a large lamination station for production, such as furniture. It is an option to make the wood into smaller wood accessories, as the manufacturer has in regular production, but at a low margin and waste of potential value of that particular stock.
I cannot remember why I came up with the idea of a wine rack at that instant. Probably the previous night, I was at a dinner with some fine wine, regarded as a luxury item for ordinary dinners in Thailand and collection items for many affordable consumers. A niche item associated with luxury may be the clue.
I did some quick visual calculations in my mind over the meeting table, grabbed a piece of A4 paper from the Xerox machine, and quickly sketched a design. Gauging the average wine bottle dimension and finished a hand draft and asked my manufacturer friend if it was manufacturable, with a positive response. I then asked my assistant engineer to draft the sketch into a CAD drawing, which became the original Pinna 12. A week later, the first sample of the original Pinna 12 was sent to my office and made its first official launch at the October BIG+BIH Far in Bangkok a few weeks later.
The original Pinna 12 is a design based on the maximum use of material with dedicated manufacturing skills and finishing craftsmanship, which successfully contributed to good commercial rewards and made my manufacturer friend a happy man.
The later Pinna 18 and Pinna L (24-bottle version) lost the original design sharpness, which is purely a design study based on available material and heavily weighted on a result as beautiful as possible. The additional designs aimed to expand the market by increasing the number of wine bottles each unit could store. I made a design compromise to comply with the marketing strategy. The new designs did not improve anything the original Pinna 12 achieved, albeit making the Pinna a collection of products than just a designer piece.
The 2006 Pinna M (6-bottle and 3-bottle version) is my favorite that finally completed the Pinna collection, including a Pinna E introduced simultaneously. The Pinna M has a symmetrical design with the best proportion, like a sports sedan. The Pinna M no longer emphasizes the maximum use of material but is a step closer to making the Pinna M a functional art piece, which one of the importers calls them.
The Pinna M, due to its more compact size and less demanding size of raw material, expanded its production to Hainan, China, using local Acacia wood, also manufactured by a very good friend of mine, Topy Wood.
The Pinna Wine Rack range of wine racks/displays is the first product I designed to sell for hundreds of US dollars/Euros. Sometimes over a thousand US Dollars/Euros for some limited run production, and on rare occasions, fitted on private jets.
In 2015, a decade after the original Pinna M, I designed the Pinna MS6 - a limited production run of the original solid wood wine rack/display in 1.2mm oxide finished steel, giving the design a more contemporary appearance. An even smaller production run of MS3 (3-bottle version) and sold directly to collectors.
Pinna Wine Rack/Display Safe transit package
It is useless to design a product, regardless of its price and quality, if it cannot reach its destination in its original condition, disregarding the handling and means of transportation. I designed the compact package for the Pinna Wine Rack for its first delivery, which has remained standard since.
The package design uses a combination of recycled material from the double-walled corrugated carton paper, rigid paper rails glued to the carton paper's side in shipping, molded paper cushion, PE protective sheet, and a clear mounting template with soy-ink printed instruction. It is still my favorite design for safe transit and years ahead of the competition.
Madison Teakettles March 2013
The Madison series of teakettles was a range of stovetop teakettle designs requested by Lifetimes/Kamestein in 2012. I spent many months imagining what the kettle should look like with a unique function that could be worthy of a potential utility patent for maximum protection. But I did not start any CAD work until a few weeks before meeting with my client in Long Island City, New York, in March 2013.
My wife, Kanjana Chaiwatanachai, was also working on the project with me to add a female opinion from a styling, color, and finishing viewpoint that will be critical to the new kettle I envisioned. My wife is an experienced industrial designer and the key management for a team of designers and engineers working on stovetop kettles since 2000. We did numerous teakettle design developments each year and oversaw tens of millions of stainless steel and enamel steel teakettles manufactured and shipped under our management.
My original approach was to work out a feminine profile for the flagship model, which would feature a new auto pouring mechanism that would be the first in the market of such kind. I started the visual approach to design the teakettle as a lady's leather handbag and a new handle that will hide all the working mechanisms to make a teakettle a fashion statement while avoiding being techy. Our project code name during the development phase was "Iconic" reflecting our client's brief - the Kamenstein wants the new kettles to be.
The teakettle design was not complete until the night before the day of the meeting. My wife and I are already in New York City, staying at the Madison Green - a high-rise apartment situated on the corner of 22nd Street and Broadway, adjacent to Madison Square park. The lovely apartment is owned and kindly lent to us by our friend, mentor, and one of the most established names in modern teakettles Samuel Lebowitz, with whom we have cooperated for over a decade and 20-30 million pieces of teakettle manufactured under the cooperation for Wilton Industries, who owns Copco brand. That night when I finally finished the kettle CAD data and presentation material, I told my wife the teakettle should be named "Madison".
The presentation meeting next day went very well, and Peter Kamenstein, the president of the Kamenstein brand of Lifetimes, loved it and approved the design direction, and we made a schedule to meet some weeks later In Hong Kong to review a prototype mechanism I promised to build to show them the proof of the concept. Weeks later, in Hong Kong, a hand-made sample exhibiting the gliding handle grip concept presented, and we were on a mission to design the range of teakettle that will include:
Madison Luxe - the flagship
Madison Metro - a slightly more masculine version of Luxe with a simplified gliding mechanism
Madison Rapide - an in-expensive version with a traditional flipper to appeal to the middle-end bracket of the market
Madison Vivace - for the mass, the low-cost model.
We spent the next three months finishing all the design and mechanical detail, while the gliding mechanism international patent was filed and later granted - WO 2015/137935 A1 WIPO (PCT).
The gliding mechanism relies on the gravity of the teakettle mass, so the whistling spout opens automatically when pouring and closes when the teakettle returns to stationery. The Madison project was one of my favorite designs, in which not only the gliding mechanism is applied but also the first to use a stainless sling to replace the traditional trigger mechanism. The kettles from the early 2014 production I keep still work well today.
A titanium version of the Madison Luxe - Madison "TITAN": using heavier gauge 1.0mm cold-rolled steel plated with titanium with hybrid non-stick interior coating. Carbon fiber kettle top, charcoal vegetable tanned leather trims and handle wrapping the bent titanium tubing handle.