Anyone interested in art and design would surely benefit from visiting the TCDC (Thailand Creative & Design Center) in Bangkok. Although they have been around now for five years, I don’t think they are very well known which is a pity as they have many resources, as well exhibits, that should prove to be of interest to many people. The TCDC is located conveniently on the 6th floor of The Emporium shopping mall. There is easy access from the sky train station at BTS Phrom Phong. They are open every day, apart from Mondays, from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The most popular day is Saturday with the quietest being Friday. Peak time is 3-6 p.m.
This is the library which has nearly 30,000 books on design related subjects such as art history, interior design, architecture, fashion, graphic design, photography and film. The majority of the books are in English. As you can see most desks have a computer and there are plenty of power sockets for you to plug in your own laptop. WiFi is also available. In addition you can make free use of talking dictionaries and also iPods. To use this library you need to be a member, but you are allowed one free trial visit. Just bring your passport or i.d. card. In addition there is a ten day tourist pass for 200 baht. Yearly membership packages start at 1,200 baht. Non-residents have to pay a higher price for membership, however just show your work permit to get Thai price.
As well as the normal book library, there is also a section for movies and audio. There is even a multimedia room where you sit and watch movies by yourself or with a group of friends. The aim of the center is to help designers and students to develop their design skills and creativity to an international level. With this in mind, there is also this Material library where you can actually see and touch many different kinds of products and designs. Information panels inform you of what it is made from and a little about how it was made. There are over 4,500 items here so practically everything is covered. Very fascinating to learn about what things are made from.
In addition to the library, there are also exhibits which are open free of charge to the general public. So, if you have a passing interest in design then you have nothing to lose in coming to take a look. This first one is called “What is Design?” and is a permanent exhibition. It explores how ten countries: England, Germany, Italy, France, USA, Spain, Netherlands, Finland, Japan and Brazil, have each interpreted their cultural uniqueness into 20th Century industrial design classics. The exhibit also explores design in modern Thailand.
A temporary exhibition on at the moment is called “Spirits: Creativities from beyond” and it is worth coming just for this. Again, this exhibition is free but it runs only until 9th January 2011. It is a kind of a Ghost house that you might see at fun fairs. However, it is more than that as it explores the reasons for our fears and talks about the spirits and ghosts that inhabit our world. Descriptions for all of the exhibits are in English and Thai and go a long way into explaining why Thai people are so superstitious. I certainly learned a lot and intend to go back again before this exhibit finishes.