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SPCS Talks vol.1 |Creating a Learning Space for Biodiversity Kaomai Estate 1955 (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

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Kaomai Estate 1955, a resort facility on a former tobacco factory site in Thailand that is being transformed into an ecological schoolhouse. Founder and project manager Chak Chen and landscape designer Patchara Khongsuphol will visit Japan to introduce their latest efforts and discuss the future of ecotourism, intervention and biodiversity restoration in once-disturbed land. The event will be held both online and offline, but if you would like to exchange opinions with the two guests and other participants, please come to FabCafe Kyoto!

Fri, February 9, 2023  UTC-05:00

17:00-19:00

FabCafe Kyoto / MTRL KYOTO | View on Google Map

20

Participation is free(However, we request that all participants order a minimum of 1 drink)

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Biodiversity is a key factor in preserving the balance of our environment. Yet the speed at which species are heading for extinction has increased since the 1970s. In merely 30 years, 68% of all species on earth have gone extinct. And today, an estimated 100 species go extinct daily. Even if we call for more conservation efforts, humans rarely change their behavior. How should we then rebuild the biodiversity in our ecosystems while fulfilling human needs and tailoring to the human ego? For that purpose, the practices we have taken for granted have to be re-evaluated, and we propose adopting a new mindset that allows nature to take its own course.

SPCS is a community that explores new ways of partnering with non-human species instead of trying to control them. Here, we introduce trailblazers who have found unique ways to approach what others would consider as ‘errors’ or ‘unruly’ in nature, or creators who are devising new methods of co-creation with nature that will still satisfy human needs.

Each session will feature speakers who are experimenting in various fields, and will be recorded and shared online in an archive. For sessions which are held offline, we also set aside time for participants to mix and interact. We hope that this will birth new collaborations among participants from diverse backgrounds.

Our first guests come from Chiang Mai, Thailand, Kaomai Estate 1955’s Director Chak Chen and landscape architect Patchara Khongsuphol.

Kaomai Estate 1955 is part of a resort facility sitting on the site of a former tobacco processing estate. Taking inspiration from the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, the estate aims to transform into a place to educate visitors on both the biodiversity of the ecosystem and the architectural heritage of the site.

The estate is an important home for a multitude of bird and other fauna species, yet also functioned for over 60 years as a tobacco processing plant. The careful restoration of the grounds manages to balance both the natural and architectural heritage. Today, in addition to the survey of the ecosystem on site, they plan to launch an educational program using AR that will allow visitors to learn from afar.

How will they continue to tie the history of the land into the ecosystem and what new environments are they creating with these new interventions? In this session, we hear more about how the Kaomai Estate 1955 team entwines modern living with our natural ecology.

Related Links

Kaomai Estate (Official Website)

Kaomai Estate AXIS Article

Chak Chen(Kaomai Estate 1955/Kaomai Lanna Resort Founder / Project Manager)

A project manager of Kaomai Estate 1955; Chak is a local Thai from Chiang Mai, Thailand, albeit with international background. With his diverse background from public and private sectors and the strong passion in the environment, biodiversity and sustainability, he is working to rejuvenate a neglected suburban area into a rich biodiversity natural area coexisted with a preserved architectural heritages supported with a sustainable business model.

Patchara Khongsuphol(Social-Environmental Landscape Architect and Arborist)

She holds a university degree in Landscape Architecture. She also studied traditional Thai medicine and nutrition, biodynamic agriculture, is an international certified arborist, and has been involved in many urban reforestation projects and landscape designs. She was involved in the Chulalongkorn Centennial Park construction project from 2014-2017, including concept design, design competition, and design development. From 2015 to present, she is the Secretary of the Board and Manager of the Urban Tree Care School Workshop and Training Program, Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University. She has been involved in Kaomai Estate 1955, a reforestation project with innovations for local educational tourism and sustainable economy, as a landscape architect and tree management specialist since the master plan development.

Former tobacco processing activity in Kaomai Estate 1955

In 2016, the grounds were transformed into an eco-resort that boasted re-purposed heritage buildings situated among multiple flora and fauna.

There have been over 120 species of trees identified in Kaomai Estate 1955. Over half of these are native species and the oldest trees are over 100 years old. Over 36 species of birds and mammals have been recorded. Kaomai Estate 1955 was awarded the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation in New Design in Heritage Contexts in 2018, the Golden Pin Design Award from Taiwan Design Research Institute, the TALA Award from the Thai Association of Landscape Architects and the Chiang Mai Design Awards in 2017. 

Today, the team has embarked on a new project to rewild 1.2 hectares of the grounds. This area will be set aside as a conservation area where wildlife will be protected, and also used as an educational tool to provide insight on sustainable living in the city. 

Almost 7 hectares (1.5 times the area of the Tokyo Dome) was once a tobacco processing plant but third-generation owner Chak Chen transformed it into a resort. The above image illustrates part of the research carried out on the ecology of the area.

FabCafe’s global team has also designed many creative learning programs for companies and schools. (The forest research at Kaomai Estate 1955 using AR is supported by FabCafe Bangkok)

Therefore, at the event, we will also introduce FabCafe’s past cases in Japan and overseas. Takeya Shida from Hidakuma, who has designed and implemented training programs for companies and universities in Japan and overseas, will also speak at the cross-talk session.

Related Case Studies
Augmented Reality Applied to Remote Prototyping

The FabCafe Tokyo/Hida team developed a remote prototyping using AR. The program involved remote co-creation between the Japanese wood processing industry and American architecture students. The results were fed back to software developers in Australia to verify the potential of using AR and 3D technology in architectural design.

17:00-17:45 Case Study「Kaomai Estate 1955」

  • Chak Chen(Kaomai Estate 1955 Director)
  • Patchara Khongsuphol(Landscape Architect)
  • Intervening in the disused environment

    • Human intervention and Accepting Nature’s Design
    • Thinking about native and non-native species
  • Tobacco Processing to Resort to Ecological Education
    • Who is this education for?
    • AR program
  • Q&A

17:45-18:00 Designing a Learning Program for Biodiversity

  • Urano Nami(FabCafe Kyoto SPCS)

18:00-18:30 Cross-talk

  • Chak Chen(Kaomai Estate 1955 Director)
  • Patchara Khongsuphol(Landscape Architect)
  • Shida Takeya(Hidakuma Forest・Local Exchange Producer)
  • Nami Urano(FabCafe Kyoto SPCS)

18:30-19:00 Mixer

  • Those involved in eco-tourism and local tourism and related infrastructure.
  • Those involved in education and looking for programs for biodiversity and ecosystems.
  • Architects and developers interested in incorporating biophilic design into city planning and landscape design
  • Researchers and artists interested in plants, insects and microscopic organisms
  • Researchers interested in circular design and planning

Date
10th February 2023(Friday)17:00-19:00


Participants

20

Admission Fee

Participation is free(However, we request that all participants order a minimum of 1 drink) ※ Online viewing post-event will be free

Location

FabCafe Kyoto(京都府京都市下京区本塩竈町554)

Organizer

FabCafe Kyoto / Loftwork Kyoto

To note 

  • If there are too many sign-ups, there may be a possibility that we choose participants through a raffle. We ask for your understanding on this matter.
  • Photos of participants and the event may be uploaded to the FabCafe Kyoto/Loftwork.com website at a later date
  • We reserve the right to change this program with no prior notice.

Microbiomes, radiation, viruses, bacteria – these uncontrollable forces of nature are often dismissed as errors or dangerous. However, can we reclaim the view of this uncontrollable biodiversity and propose a new positive way of creatively designing for and with these ‘errors’? That is the purpose of the community SPCS.

SPCS is a program that explores new ways of co-creation with nature through prototyping. “In what ways can we work with the uncontrollable power of nature and design systems that promote creativity?” Is our guiding question. Each season, we invite lecturers from different fields to carry out practical workshops. Instead of manipulating nature for our human needs, we explore a co-creationary approach. We encourage a speculative output formed by each participant’s curiosity towards biological mechanisms. 

Activity Concepts / Past activities >>
SPCS|A Community Exploring Biological Design

Cross talk speakers

  • Takeya Shida

    Hidakuma Producer

    Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1991. After graduating from the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of the Ryukyus, he was assigned to the Republic of Peru as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), where he worked in environmental education at the National Secretariat for the Management of National Nature Reserves (SERNANP) Piura office. After working as a reporter for a distribution trade newspaper and reporting on the salmon aquaculture industry in the Republic of Chile, he joined Hidakuma in June 2020. He is in charge of marketing and planning/managing residency programs. He is also active in the local fishery association. He has been conducting fieldwork on mountain stream fish in the Takahara River basin, which originates from the Northern Alps and surrounding areas.

    Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1991. After graduating from the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of the Ryukyus, he was assigned to the Republic of Peru as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), where he worked in environmental education at the National Secretariat for the Management of National Nature Reserves (SERNANP) Piura office. After working as a reporter for a distribution trade newspaper and reporting on the salmon aquaculture industry in the Republic of Chile, he joined Hidakuma in June 2020. He is in charge of marketing and planning/managing residency programs. He is also active in the local fishery association. He has been conducting fieldwork on mountain stream fish in the Takahara River basin, which originates from the Northern Alps and surrounding areas.

  • Nami Urano

    Loftwork Inc. / FabCafe Kyoto Marketing Div.

    After graduating from university, Nami began her work at the creative company, Loftwork, where she was in charge of planning and managing business events and community management. At this time, her focus was on encouraging industry and university collaboration, specifically between Japanese companies and international universities. In 2018, Nami moved to Loftwork in Kyoto where she is in charge of PR, marketing, and recruitment. In 2020, Nami was involved in the launch and management of FabCafe Kyoto’s project-in-residency program, COUNTER POINT. From 2022, Nami launched SPCS (“Species”), a community that explores the uncontrollability of nature. Nami is interested in creating chaos in place, taking inspiration from her personal experiences of living in Folkehøjskole, Denmark, experiencing a kibbutz in Israel, and the fermentation club activities she co-hosted with chef Momoyo Morimoto.

    After graduating from university, Nami began her work at the creative company, Loftwork, where she was in charge of planning and managing business events and community management. At this time, her focus was on encouraging industry and university collaboration, specifically between Japanese companies and international universities. In 2018, Nami moved to Loftwork in Kyoto where she is in charge of PR, marketing, and recruitment. In 2020, Nami was involved in the launch and management of FabCafe Kyoto’s project-in-residency program, COUNTER POINT. From 2022, Nami launched SPCS (“Species”), a community that explores the uncontrollability of nature. Nami is interested in creating chaos in place, taking inspiration from her personal experiences of living in Folkehøjskole, Denmark, experiencing a kibbutz in Israel, and the fermentation club activities she co-hosted with chef Momoyo Morimoto.

Information

Date & Time

Fri, February 9, 2023 17:00-19:00 UTC-05:00

Venue

FabCafe Kyoto / MTRL KYOTO
Motoshiogamacho 554, Kyoto Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, 600-8119, Japan
* No parking is available.
View on Google Map

Fee

Participation is free(However, we request that all participants order a minimum of 1 drink)

Capacity

20

Organizers & Sponsors

Organizer: FabCafe Kyoto / Loftwork Kyoto

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