6 June 2024

The recently celebrated Loy Krathong festival provided the perfect opportunity for a group of designers to create an experimental lighting project that transformed an abandoned, neglected and inaccessible area in Bangkok into a usable space that showed off its full potential.

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) together with Make it Happen Lab from the Urban Ally group of the Faculty of Architecture of Silapakorn University, and the Cloud-floor-design team created a special lighting medley on the vacant area under the Phra Pok Klao Bridge during Loy Krathong festival. Using lighting equipment from L&E, the design aimed to draw attention to the country’s first-ever “garden bridge” – the Bangkok Sky Park.

The designer group believes that more action has to be taken to boost the potential of public space in the city. Despite linking to such important landmarks as Bangkok Sky Park and Khlong Ong Ang (which connects Charoen Krung and Yaowarat roads), the area under the Phra Pok Klao bridge has been largely ignored and its promise never showcased .

So, on Loy Krathong (November 19) the group demonstrated how the space could be redesigned. They turned the space into a “Secret Garden” with the colorful lighting installation.  The theme is to re-introduce existing public parks to the public by re-opening and unveiling the space to the public, hence the name “Secret Garden”. The concept of lighting is called “LIT” and is designed by the Cloud-floor group.

The Cloud-floor designers say the concept is to compare the gardens semantics to many symbols especially in the comparative speech of periods in literature. They explain that a garden is often used as a tool to create roles of characters that reflect the concept of society in each era. The garden has many roles – a place of relaxation, somewhere to build relationships or even offer a connection between a real-world and an imaginary world.

The “LIT”-themed works demonstrate that the garden is more than a green space in a big city and that often a garden has a different context for each group of people. Therefore “LIT” awakens lives and thoughts of what really happens in the garden – whether your favorite corners or conversations that took place there.

The designers hope that the work will help visitors escape into an imaginary world for even a short period of time. The idea, they say, can be used to create secret gardens in big cities like Bangkok.

In addition, the design team hopes that this project will motivate the development of other desolate and abandoned areas, turning them into spaces that can be used by the public. Although the lighting exhibition ended on Sunday evening, some of the lights, not the decoration but more the illuminated corridors, remain permanent, with BMA covering the cost of lighting and electricity.

Thanks to this group of designers and the education institution that brought us a Secret Garden, the BMA has been inspired and is looking to come up with similar ways of using space in the near future. We wait with impatience.

PHOTO BY Prasert Thepsri