Design Ideas: August 2014

 |  August 1, 2014

Launched in 2012, the Chiang Mai Creative City Design Awards(CDA) aim to promote creativity through design. Focusing on contemporary innovation rather than traditional arts and crafts, CDA aims to showcase some of Chiang Mai’s less publicised talent.

This year, the awards will be bigger than ever, and supported by more than 20 voluntary judges – many of whom are well recognised designers, lecturers and professionals in design. Here, we showcase just a few of the unique shortlisted applicants currently vying for the prize.

Stay tuned! The finalists will be announced soon at

Khagee Cafe

As one customer put it on a note she left written on one of the cafe’s napkins, “this place could be totally at home on Brunswick Street in Sydney!” With a very strong Japanese vibe in terms of simplicity and earthy tones, combined with a down to earth, American style cafe feel, Khagee feels comfy and wholesome. Think piles of fresh baguettes and coffee served in Mason jars. It’s set on the ground floor of an old teak house whose wall is falling down, but even this adds to the elegance, charm and coolness.

29-30 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Rd

082 975 7774

The Giant 

This new and hip cafe and boutique hotel is actually inside a huge tree, tucked deep in the mountains behind Doi Saket. The aesthetic is cosy yet minimalist, with teak walls, floors, ceiling and furniture that blend perfectly with the massive boddhi tree trunk. Even the bed sheets, a pastel green, mimic the leaves outside the window.  Sit in the cafe with a cup of tea and bask in leafy green tranquility.

Facebook: The Giant Chiang Mai Thailand

053 317 677

Suriyan Chandra

If we had to describe this store in one word, that word would be “eclectic.” It’s as if the owner has filled it with everything he likes best, be it famous works of art or on-the-brink-of-kitsch sculptures of fat, sexy ladies. But it works. Entering the store feels much like entering a charming cottage, welcoming and homey. You might even forget that everything you see is for sale.

7 Sirimankalajarn Road Soi 11

053 212 777


This lifestyle shop, art gallery and coffee bar is earthy and electic, brimming with stylish tchotchkes and art the owner has collected. The influence of pop art is evidenced by neon pink pig sculptures and plants in shiny tin cans. Order a latte and take your time browsing; there is something for everyone and plenty of whimsy to boot!

158-160 Charoenrat Road

Facebook: Khumpoon Chiangmai

052 089 209


Tucked into the heart of Nimman, this unique hotel is a true Chiang Mai gem. Its clean, white modernity blends well with an overall feeling of carefree fun and flawless design. Old style electrical light switches make their home next to harmoniously selected tiles like the ones in grandma’s house. It’s a dusted-off, simplified reincarnation of art nouveau, and even includes a white slide so you can quickly get from your room to the cool little bakery and cafe on the first floor.

40 Nimmanhaemin Road, Soi 13

081 594 6233

Sleep Box

This hotel is slick. Really slick. Minimalist, Bauhausian architecture meets post-industrial eco-design with a bit of primitivism, as evidenced by the dry bamboo along the polished steel sign of the hotel. It feels like a New York art gallery packed itself up into shipping containers, got lost at sea and washed up in Chiang Mai, where it dusted itself off and became a cosy haven for travellers and stay-cationers alike!

133/20/2 Rattanakosin Road

053 234 747