I first found Thitirat and Pattaprong seated in a quaint café across Rama 9, just one of Bangkok’s latest giant developments outside of the main city area. The magic-hour light trimmed the edge of their industrial silhouettes, lighting up a slight excitement in their eyes. Over lattes I found out that Pana Objects was an extremely new brand, part of what I’d call the new wave of Thai Designers - graduates of the Internet generation armed with maker mindsets and online press know-hows, coupled with the access to materials and building facilities.
I understood every bit of their honest enthusiasm when they finally showed me their products. Seated on the edge of her seat, Thitirat removed the careful packaging, bringing to life their proud creation we’re now so familiar with - the playful Frank Lamp. Pattaprong was eager to show how the wood grains lined together, explaining how the studio took extra care in selection and process. “See how the wood grains line up and the colour matches?” These products are meant to make you smile.
Who is behind Pana Objects?
There are 7 of us, and we met each other almost 9 years ago as friends who graduated from industrial design from the same design college in Thailand.
What makes Pana Objects interesting is our diverse background. Before we created the brand we were working in different branches of design, ranging from industrial design consultancy, graphic, branding, furniture, and even as a manufacturing supervisor. The mixture becomes really helpful when developing a product and more so a brand. On top of being friends, our chemistry is strengthened through a shared passion for woodcrafts.
What inspires the brand?
We had discussed this very early on, when were first conceptualizing the idea behind Pana Objects. What kickstarted us was our observation that everyday lives have been dominated by synthetic objects. You’ve got almost the same soulless mobile phone make from plastic pallets fitted in the same factory, put together by workers in China. We wanted to offer something else, things that carried meaning beyond fads or trends, and of course synthetic objects. So that’s why we gave birth to our brand, Pana Object, which means “things from the forest” (Pana is the Thai word for forest). Our goal with Pana Objects is to put the emotion back to everyday life and make it more meaningful by using woodcraft to create products that will timelessly accompany people’s lives both aesthetically and functionally.
Your products have a very consistent look. What is your approach, and what are you thinking when you design?
Before releasing our pilot product line we spent almost a year fine-tuning our brand characteristics and branding strategy. This was a crucial first step, following which we use the brand DNA to set criteria for our projects and scope down our ideas.
Our diverse backgrounds also allow us to analyze our work from different angles. When we start sketching or prototyping our design we’re not afraid to criticize each other if something seems odds or looks out of the way. This intensive criticism seems hard to cope with at first but when you get used to it it’s very helpful in preventing you from falling in love with your work but instead seeks a way to improve it and make it as perfect as possible.
How much of Thailand is in your products, or are you focused on building an international brand?
Right at the beginning we agreed that our brand would not be restricted to Thailand, so we focused on interpreting our Thai-way of thinking into modernized objects with character and fine details. Take Frank Lamp for example, its playfulness is very Thai but its aesthetic interpretation is very modern and timelessly beautiful to a global audience.
Since then, we’ve received good attention from the Thai market as well. We recently got featured in a couple of local design shops and departmental stores, which is a very big leap for a young brand like us.
What’s next up for Pana Objects?
We are currently planning our new collection for this year. We’re only a year old and we plan to design a new collection annually so stick with us for more news and goodies!