Written by Sara Ulloa, Librarian from Peru.
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The Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC) has been one of my best discoveries in the Library world this year so far. This place is a resource and information center especially for designers and innovators, who want to launch their imagination into action. That does not mean if you have a different vocation cannot go. If you are a poet, for example, and need a comfortable place to sit down and put your ideas on a paper, why not use this place? — you are creating too. However, you will not find a literature collection here. This place was created for people who want to transform ideas into objects, things that you can touch and feel, having information as one initial step to get inspiration. TCDC is located in the Grand Postal Building on Charoen Krung Road, a building from 1940 in Bangkok, which has a pretty nice rooftop where you can see the buildings of downtown.
TCDC has five levels. The journey starts on the fifth floor, where there is a reception that give you access to what they call the creative services, which means: the Library, the Maker Space, the Material & Design Innovation Center and the Exhibition Gallery. You need to be a member to access them all. If you are just a visitor, you can get a one Day Pass for the cost of US$3.
Once you are on the fifth floor, the Info Guru will give you a day pass card, and there you will find a cafeteria, a design shop, an area for new books and magazines arrivals, a co-working space, phone booths, meeting rooms and a media room. The meeting rooms are perfect if you are doing a project with your friends. And, when you need to take a break, you can go to the Refreshing Area to buy some snacks, have a drink, play table football or connect with other people who are there for creating too.
On the 4th floor, there is the Library which is one of the Asia’s largest design and creativity resource centers. It houses over 50,000 learning resources, including books, periodicals, publications and multimedia. It is a nice space with a high ceiling full of lights. The main subjects are architecture, film and video, fashion, performing arts, music, broadcasting, software, advertisement, publishing, visual art, design and craft.
On the 3rd floor, there is a Maker Space which is a well-equipped workshop room with an expert who is there to help you transform your creative ideas into a prototype. You can create products here, digital or physical. There you will find the 3D printers.
Finally, on the 1st floor is the Gallery Room which has temporary exhibitions. I visited the one called “Yes, plastic! Things to Rethink: When Plastics Must Think New”. The proposal of this exhibition was to show the ability to transform the manufacturing industry for the masses reusing plastic in different areas such as art, medicine, transportation, etc. The exhibition made us think of what man can do with the use of plastic not only for a moment like plastic bag, but in a long-lasting way. For instance, how about reusing plastic to do roads, art statues, or artificial organs.
If there is one thing that should characterize all libraries is its comfortableness. TCDC honors this with its tastefully designed couches, sofas, chairs and tables. Ideas and creativity can appear anyplace, but there is a point where we need a comfortable space to think, grow and expand them. It is like looking for a comfortable place to start reading.
The best news is TCDC was created by the Government of Thailand through their Creative and Economy Agency. Its vision consists of promoting creativity as a key strategy for their country development and grow, and, I would add, common welfare as well. For this Agency, fostering creativity in their citizens is giving them greater access to knowledge for imagination and inspiration which will be reflected in the Thai economy. The surprising thing is they founded this place fifteen years ago and it keeps growing. Now, they have a network; there is one TCDC in Chiang Mai and another in Khon Kaen, besides 35 mini TCDC all over the country and two TCDC Commons. Beautiful.