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boonserm premthada receives THE DESIGN PRIZE for social impact



Boonserm Premthada, who leads Bangkok Project Studio, receives the golden Madonnina statue of Milan’s THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021|22 in the category ‘Social Impact’. designboom curates the city’s annual award program since 2017, and this year, at our DAAily Bar during Milan Design Week 2022, THE DESIGN PRIZE announced the renowned Thai architect as one of its recipients.


Boonserm Premthada opens the talk with a thoughtful presentation, taking us through the making of the studio’s recent works. During the ceremony, designboom, in collaboration with the Comune di Milano’s Annibale D’Elia, director of Urban Economics, Fashion, and Design, awarded Premthada with THE DESIGN PRIZE, applauding his dedication to empowering the local community. As part of his practice, the architect involves unskilled locals, who evolve into sapient artisans and vigorously participate in his projects.


Throughout his talk, Premthada highlighted his creative process: ‘My architecture performs three functions: It preserves the culture, revives the forest, and builds a self-sustaining community.’ He also talked about a future that not only centers around humanity, but where human beings coexist harmoniously with nature and animals, fostering respect and humbleness. At the end of the presentation, he underlined his motto, ‘Local is future’, closing his storytelling with the hope of giving new perspectives and know-how that will inspire people all over the world. 

boonserm premthada receives THE DESIGN PRIZE for social impact
Artisans Ayutthaya: the Woman Restaurant

image courtesy Boonserm Premthada



architecture x elephants by Boonserm Premthada


In his practice, THE DESIGN PRIZE 2022 social impact winner is known for prioritizing the use of low-cost, sustainable materials and low-tech construction methods. Through his projects, the audience is invited to review the roles between human and environment, natural and artificial, achieving a balanced living founded on complementarity and conformity.


His studio has completed a number of projects across its home country, including ‘Elephant Museum’, a building complex made of clay bricks that hopes to educate visitors about the close connection the animal has with the people of northeast Thailand. ‘Humans live under the same roof as elephants which are regarded as children rather than pets,’ said the architect. ‘This heritage of tradition, culture, and wisdom has been passed on for generations in a rural village with the largest number of domesticated elephants in Thailand.’


‘Elephant Theater’ is another project that proves how animal waste can be upcycled into construction material, maximizing the benefits of the natural resource and revealing new potential in the architecture and art realm. For this project, the design team created the brick prototypes in partnership with ‘Mahouts’, elephant trainers or keepers, and local workers. Following the proper procedure, the handcrafted elephant dung bricks are ready to contribute to the architecture world. When their life span ends, they naturally decompose into the soil.

boonserm premthada receives THE DESIGN PRIZE for social impact
when architecture meets women’s empowerment

image courtesy Boonserm Premthada



Boonserm Premthada’s interest in supporting local communities is also evident in his community-focused ‘Artisans Ayutthaya: the Woman Restaurant’. The structure took shape in a village outside the ancient city of Ayutthaya, where most of the residents are unmarried or widowed women aged between 55 and 94. Their daily activity is to prepare food for sale in an attempt to fund the repair of a nearby temple. To complete this restaurant, the architect employed overlooked and repurposed materials. This restaurant promotes sustainable architecture, community values, and local traditions; it is proof of the women’s determination to preserve the cuisine and craft of Ayutthaya.




boonserm premthada receives THE DESIGN PRIZE for social impact
example of industrial craftsmanship where glass block construction is completed without mortar

image courtesy Boonserm Premthada


the restaurant is set in a village outside the ancient city of Ayutthaya, which is inhabited mainly by unmarried or widowed women

boonserm premthada receives THE DESIGN PRIZE for social impact
these women of the restaurant dedicate their days to preparing food that can be sold to support a nearby temple in need of repair

image courtesy Boonserm Premthada


‘cultural courtyard’ for elephants and humans

boonserm premthada receives THE DESIGN PRIZE for social impact

‘Elephant World’ is a government project that seeks to provide a source of stable income for the Kui people, an ethnic group in Surin, north-eastern Thailand, and their elephants.
image courtesy Boonserm Premthada

boonserm premthada receives THE DESIGN PRIZE for social impact
the Elephant Museum teaches people and animals to ‘coexist with love’

image courtesy Boonserm Premthada

boonserm premthada receives THE DESIGN PRIZE for social impactBoonserm Premthada at DAAily bar in MIlan
image ©designboom

boonserm premthada receives THE DESIGN PRIZE for social impact
inside the DAAily bar

image ©designboomboonserm premthada receives THE DESIGN PRIZE for social impact

the stage setting of the DAAily bar showed BarberOsgerby’s ‘Alpina‘ chairs and low table for the Italian furniture brand Magis. Anne Vitchen, Dame des Fleurs of RITZ Paris, designed the botanical installation.
image © designboom


boonserm premthada receives THE DESIGN PRIZE for social impact

‘GOLDIE’ is an exact, scaled-down replica of the Golden Madonnina, symbol of highest quality for Milan.
She sits on top of the Duomo Di Milano, but for THE DESIGN PRIZE she carries a ladder and a hammer, alluding to craftmanship and planning work in architecture, art, design and technology. GOLDIE has been ‘re-designed’ by Antonio Arico.





THE DESIGN PRIZE winners of the golden madonnina awards across 10 interdisciplinary categories:


THE DESIGN PRIZE is an annual award program that celebrates excellence on a global scale. initiated in 2017 and curated by designboom, with patronage by the city of milan, THE DESIGN PRIZE recognizes both the extraordinary achievements and little sparks of beauty and delight that have emerged over the past 12 months.


Our special thanks go to the Comune di Milano and Annibale D’elia, director of Urban Economics, Fashion, and Design for awarding THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021|22.


project info:


architect: Bangkok Project Studio
lead architect: Boonserm Premthada

event: DAAily Bar during Milan Design Week


Milan Design Week 2022 marked the entrance of the DAAily Platforms.

Our group — DesignboomArchitonic & ArchDaily — curated the DAAily bar space inside the Centro Svizzero building on the eastern edge of the Brera Design District with installations and hourly TALKS. The immersive Floral Installation by Anne Vitchen — Dame des Fleurs at the Ritz Paris — was joined by Swiss artist Douglas Mandry’s Art Curtains and a bar that created a common ground for culture enthusiasts, brought to you in partnership with BALLY and supported by Christian Fischbacher, Brunner, VibiaMAGIS, Andreu World, and ames.


Providing insights into their current work and developments, the Live Talks hosted international guests from the worlds of design, art, and architecture, including Paola AntonelliAlice RawsthornBoonserm PremthadaAnne VitchenDouglas MandryJulian BedelLaura CasalisGiovanni Moro, Edward Barber & Jay OsgerbyAlper DerinboğazStefan DiezCarlo RattiCristian ZuzunagaJakob LangeSebastian HerknerAlfredo HäberliMario CucinellaPatricia UrquiolaFabio Calvi & Paolo BrambillaBenjamin Gallegos Gabilondo, and Cazzaniga Mandelli Pagliarulo.

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bangkok project studio / boonserm premthada (18)

DAAily bar | DAAily platforms (10)

milan design week 2022 (75)


THE DESIGN PRIZE 2021-2022 (21)


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