23 May 2024

After months of being unusually quiet, Bangkok’s biggest flower market Pak Khlong Talad is ready to welcome shoppers today, Saturday, with a flower installation called Form of Feeling @ Flower Market” on the mezzanine floor of the Yodpiman River Walk that runs through December 6.

Despite the fame of Pak Khlong Talad, the mezzanine floor has always been an under-visited area. Supported by shop owners at the market, the flower installation is a collaboration between the Faculty of Architecture, Silpakorn University, HUI Team Design and Saturate Designs and is designed to show how flowers evokedifferent emotions in all of us.

Divided into four concepts, the installation portrays happiness, fear, sadness, and calm.

“I didn’t plan to make it a grand comeback after the pandemic. But this is a good opportunity to use an underused space in the market to draw people back,” said Asst Prof Supitcha Tovivich, lecturer at Faculty of Architecture, Silpakorn University, who is behind the project.

The installation is presented in an abstract style. For example, Happiness is built from small pieces of objects formed into a larger piece. It represents how life can be better with many small pieces of happiness. ‘Fear’ portrays such positive elements as roses, to show how the flower so popular on St Valentine’s Day also has thorns that create fear.

This is not the first time Supitcha has tried to draw people to Pak Khlong Talad. In October last year, she used different gimmicks, including human stories and augmented reality (AR) to successfully lure visitors to the market in “Pak Khlong Strikes Back!”

Since 2016, she’s been visiting the flower market for an architectural project that led to the Humans of Flower Market Facebook page, which recounts the lives of people at the market, as well as the website www.flowerhub.space that pins all the flower shops in the market, with photos and short descriptions, on its map.

The country’s largest flower market, already less busy since the launch of the clean-up campaign by City Hall in 2015, became idle during the pandemic and has remained quiet over the last two years.

Supitcha and her team wished to use their expertise in design to bring about a change and help the small business owners.

Pak Khlong Talad is the space where hard-working and small people live and earn a living, Supitcha says. It’s where both formal and informal businesses share the space.

I don’t expect every visitor to buy flowers when they come to Pak Khlong Talad. But vendors at this market are no different from others. They struggle to surviveand no more so than during the Covid-19 pandemic.With the lockdowns eased, this is the opportunity for them to restart their business.

These vendors are being realistic. They want customers. But during these tough times, window shoppers are also welcome to make the place more lively,” said Supitcha.

The purpose of the event is to organize creative activities in the Pak Khlong Talat area to highlight the potential of hidden spaces including the mezzanine floor of the market that many dont know exists. Theflower market has the potential to move society along in the future with contemporary arrangements that are pleasing to the eye.

Theres no entrance fee but visitors are encouraged to buy flowers from one of the shops at the market and present them as “tickets” at the entrance. And theflowers can also be left as a part of the installation for other visitors to enjoy.

“Form of Feeling @ Flower Market” is being held onthe mezzanine floor of Yodpiman River Walk until December 6. Admission is free.

To get there: Take MRT Blue Line and get off at SanamChai station.

PHOTO Courtesy of “Form of Feeling @ Flower Market” organiser