From ancient temples to contemporary home decor, hand carved wooden furniture to naturally-dyed cotton and silk, Chiang Mai has a long history of handicrafts, art, design and culture, that is not only alive and well today, but is positively flourishing.
Nestled in the hills of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is known for being a unique place where people, place and culture are intertwined. Here you’ll still find everything from handmade baskets for everyday use, to affordable tailored blazers. You’ll also find a new wave of designers, artists and makers who are blending aspects of the old with plenty of new, and place a firm emphasis on slow living and sustainability.
This dedication to creativity is just one of the many reasons we love Chiang Mai and are proud to call it home too BeeConscious. We’re constantly surrounded by creative individuals, inspirations and ideas.
At the end of 2017, we received a Chiang Mai Design Award for Product Design from the organisation Creative Chiang Mai. These awards focus on contemporary design across six categories and are chosen by a panel of judges who are recognised designers, artists and experts.
Of course, it was an honour to be recognised by our community but what made it even more special is the fact that there are so many creative businesses and products in Chiang Mai - we’re in good company!
Some of our favourite creative businesses in Chiang Mai are also some of the most sustainable and eco-friendly around.
We have loved Studio Naenna for a long time and were very excited to collaborate with the textile dyeing and weaving studio on our popular Bee Indigo Eco Food Wrap made from locally harvested and woven organic cotton that was then hand-dyed with local indigo leaves. Dedicated to ethical fashion and eco-textiles, as well as creating a positive working environment, Studio Naenna is a community of women weavers from various ethnic groups in northern Thailand. They create incredibly beautiful, stylish, high quality and sustainable clothing and textiles.
Chiang Mai’s “cafe with a cause", Free Bird Cafe is oh so much more than just a place to eat delicious organic vegan food with a distinctly Shan flavour. The cafe directly supports a community language and arts program for Burmese refugees and serves as the heart of a variety of other passion projects, community initiatives and sustainable brands, from handmade bamboo straws to Chiang Mai's biggest and best refill and eco-goods store.
Hammocks are always cool, but the team at Flying Squirrel have upped the game by working with local female seamstresses to handcraft the hammocks in the comfort of their own homes, on their own schedule while receiving fair wages. They've also broadened their range to include some gorgeous reusable tote bags with a northern Thai feel.
Chiang Mai Life Architects and Construction builds unbelievable bamboo and earth structures that are not only gorgeous (just look at this) but sustainable and natural. The company’s philosophy is to increase the quality of life of the people interacting with the finished buildings by using natural materials combined with modern architecture.