Interview Designer - Ek-Sarran Youkongdee
Many people may seeEk-Sarran Youkongdee as your average product designer. But in reality, he’s an artist in his own right — winning world renowned awards for his works. Since he was young, he dreamed of working in the arts. Now, he’s gone beyond his dreams — creating masterpieces in many forms, as well as launching his own brand SARRAN which is sold throughout Thailand and abroad.
“Actually, I may not be considered as a full-on designer. That’s because I studied to be a fine artist. Being a designer, you have to create and design for the customers’ needs, but as an artist, you do things to reflect and communicate your feelings on social issues, culture, and other stories through art. I consider myself half an artist and half a designer. When I work in halves like this, I don’t only talk about my own interests, but I also talk about the environment around me — like what’s happening in the society and culture at the moment. I have to see what will be able to cause a change in society, or to let people see what problems exists in society. This is the responsibility of being both an artist and a designer.”
“I was responsible for the pearls from Phuket in this Project. Before, I viewed pearls as a very difficult material to work with artistically. But once I started working with them, I had a change of mind. This is because there are stories attached to the material that makes working with them much more exciting. Phuket pearls are selected for their quality — especially for their spherical shape, their shine, and their color tone. They need the pearls to look perfect — as if witnessing a woman who is completely flawless.”
“But I looked at them from another angle. I picked out pearls that weren’t perfect — something that Westerners, especially Europeans, would call ‘baroque’. These are pearls that are not symmetrical, which aren’t even in tone. I used to collect these types of pearls, actually, because I liked their texture.”
“So, in this project with GIT, I gave myself a question — ‘is it really necessary to use these perfect, flawless pearls?’. I didn’t want to market to the same clientele. I was interested in new buyers who aren’t your average pearl enthusiasts. They might see flawless pearls and aren’t receptive to them, but they might find uniqueness, newness, and a touch of personalization in the imperfect pearls.”
“I tried to choose pearls which had the most flaws. I put them together in order to create more value to them. I want people to see this art piece or jewelry piece as something that Mother Nature created — that something deformed and broken is actually rare and one of a kind.”
“The collection is called ‘Spirit’, because I believe that everything nature has created has a soul. I’m trying to tell the story of nature within this collection: about trees, flowers, and climate change. Can you imagine a blooming peony field in the snow would look like? Some would see it as something beautiful, but looking at it from another angle, we’re seeing the side effects of climate change on our world.It’s like looking at the jewelry piece in my collection. People may think that it is pretty, but at the same time the story behind is about protecting the earth. It really depends on how the client looks at it in the end.”
“I like working on things that are different. Things keep changing, and that’s the fun part of creating jewelry. Thais are extremely talented in creating craftwork, and of course each craftwork is unique. This is what stands out about us, and I wanted to highlight this aspect in my work.”
EventhoughSarran claims that working with discarded asymmetrical pearls are a challenge, he manages to make the imperfect perfect.