Academic Profile : No longer with NTU

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Dr Chalit Kongsuwan
Lecturer, School of Art, Design and Media
Controlled Keywords
Current position: a full time lecturer in Product Design (School of Art, Design & Media)

• Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Visual Arts & Crafts, the University of Tasmania, Australia (2008 – 2012);
• completed selected competencies from the Diploma of Mechanical Engineering, TAFE Metal Trades, Bender Drive, Tasmania, Australia (2007);
• Master of Fine Art and Design (MFAD) in Furniture Design with a high distinction, the University of Tasmania, Australia (2005 – 2007);
• The 3rd Grade of Dharma Study Curriculum with the 1st prize in a subject of The Buddha’s life, Wat Bowonniwet Vihara, Bangkok, Thailand (1999 – 2001);
• Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Product Design, Rangsit University, Thailand (1992 – 1997).

Chalit was born on the 4th of September 1974 in Thailand. He got a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Rangsit University, Thailand, in the field of Product Design in 1997 and then worked as a product designer for a number of industrial furniture factories in Thailand. Due to intense commercial and industrial conditions in South East Asian market, he shifted his direction from an industrial designer to a furniture designer and maker.

This radical change led him to the Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart, Australia where he spent nearly two years (July 2005 - March 2007) for completing Master of Fine Art and Design. Then he went to TAFE Metal Trades, Bender Drive, Tasmania to learn ARC, MIG and TIG welding.

In 2008, he was offered two scholarships from 'Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship' (EIPRS) and IDP Student Mobility Scholarship'. This allowed him to undertake further study towards a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Tasmania from February 2008 until April 2012.

Professional achievements:
During his time stay in Australia, Chalit has shortlisted and won a number of major design competitions.
These include:
- notable mentions from Georg Jensen Design Awards in product design category in 2009;
- The premier prize of the Tasmanian Wood Design Collection in 2008;
- The environment prize from the Claudio Alcorso Foundation in 2007;
- The inaugural Accommodation Services Acquisitive Art Prize in 2007;
- Highly Commended Award from Clarence Prize 2007 for excellence in furniture.

He has also had numerous group exhibitions and four invited solo exhibitions in Australia. Recently, a great number of his objects have been collected by both the Design Centre Tasmania Australia and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) as one of permanent collections since 2008 and 2012 respectively.

Design perspective:
Chalit believes that the relative importance between creative mind, discerning eyes and skilful hands is a fundamental key to keep the pace of traditional design heritage with the continuous change of innovative technology. He makes a metaphor that those designers who can perform the role of thinker, designer and maker simultaneously can be compared to an autonomous musician who can compose, conduct and play freely on the stage.

Dr Chalit Kongsuwan (PhD)
School of Art, Design and Media
81 Nanyang Drive, Level 4, Room 4, Singapore 637458
Tel: +65 6513 8234 Fax: +65 6795 3140 Mobile: +65 9654 0570
There are three main research topics that I am interested in.
1. Ascetic design inspired by the everyday objects of Buddhist Thai monks who practice in remote areas.

This research will explore how eloquent objects are designed and made without the use of high technology and natural deterioration. The research and design outcomes would illustrate and promote sustainable methods of utilising locally available materials, simple tools and hands-on skills for utilitarian purpose and austere aesthetics. This primitive approach may have a power to resurrect self-sufficiency, self-fulfillment and selflessness which are rare to find from today designers.

2. Fluid design influenced by riparian cultures.

This research will aim to investigate the fluid connection and contradiction between Western and Eastern designs which are influenced by riverine culture. The outcome of this research would suggest new ways of conveying nostalgic, dynamic and floating qualities through functional objects and residential space. References would be drawn from ceremonial barges, boats and riparian architectures. The principle of Feng-Shui (wind and water) may be referred to.

3. Improvisational design drawn by the improvisational performance of arts and crafts

This research will examine the simultaneity between design (creative action) and making (physical action). This can be compared to traditional Indian music (Tabla & Sitar) and contemporary Jazz which are performed by heart. The result of this research would stimulate and liberate those white-collar designers who are currently dictated by a contrived format of design methodologies, Computer – Aided Design (CAD) and digital technologies such as 3D printers and CNC machines (Computer Numerical Control). Relative references would include the improvisation of throwing clay pots and turning wooden bowls.