Design Creative Of The Week: Saran Yen Panya [Industrial/Product/Interiors]

Design Creative Of The Week: Saran Yen Panya [Industrial/Product/Interiors]

The hottest new talent of the week brought to you by PSFK x Arts Thread. This week, a designer who uses inexpensive materials but high-end styling.

Dory Carr-Harris, PSFK
  • 17 february 2013

Cheap Ass Elites, Saran Yen Panya

PSFK’s creative of the week, chosen from the ARTS THREAD online portfolios, is designer and storyteller Saran Yen Panya, a recent Masters graduate from Konstfack, University of Art, Craft, and Design in Stockholm.

Why we like Saran Yen Panya’s work: we like the juxtaposition of inexpensive materials with classic high-end styling to create new hybrids that would work across many levels of price and values.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and inspirations

Originally from Thailand, I’ve just recently graduated from my Master’s degree at Konstfack, University of Art, Craft and Design in Stockholm. The program I attended was called Storytelling and since I’m interested in various aspects of design, I have endeavored to explore all kinds of works, ranging from printed textile, animation, motion graphic to installation and set deign. In short I can say that I like to manipulate all kinds of materials. I am currently co-running a design studio called 56th Studio.

Cheap Ass Elites, Saran Yen Panya

Cheap Ass Elites, Saran Yen Panya

Talk us through the pieces on your ARTS THREAD portfolio

Cheap Ass Elites is initially an installation design, focusing on creating an object that tells a story. It, however, ended up being a critic on what is considered “high” and “low” in both sociological aspect and design. Combining mass-produced household objects and plastic items with rich elements, the Cheap Ass Elites series sarcastically illustrates and questions what society’s indoctrination is really built on.

Cheap Ass Elites, Saran Yen Panya

Cheap Ass Elites, Saran Yen Panya

For this project, the chair is a perfect object in aspects of both function and communication. The object itself represents different hierarchies and tastes clearly in its usage and aesthetic. Therefore, the designs are a blunt and sarcastic juxtaposition between rich and classical elements such as the Louis armchair, Ottoman chair, or the styles of William Morris, with low-taste elements such as mass-produced plastic appliances, common household items, working-class objects etc. The clash of classes is simply shown, yet portrays the idealistic society where the rich and poor merge.

Cheap Ass Elites, Saran Yen Panya

Cheap Ass Elites, Saran Yen Panya

The chairs are comprised of ‘low’ common household plastic objects – storage and laundry baskets – as the seating (back, base and arms), the lower part of the chair a simplified version of those stereotypical upper-class chairs 
made out of wood.

What are you currently working on?

I am now organizing a group of promising Thai design studios, artists and designers called ‘Siam Collective’ to be launched next year. It will be an inspirational space for creators to share, sell and promote their limited pieces on an international scale.

How can people get in contact with you? What work are you looking for?

They can always email me at or My ideal work includes everything creatively demanding and challenging.

Saran Yen Panya


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