A Place of Hidden TalentsWritten by Jane Littlefair
Embracing the changing tide of Bangkok’s creative culture, former dancer and designer Carla Soledad Rivera created hub of culture and creativity. We step inside to take a look.
Long known as a place made up of amazing skyscrapers and and giant shopping malls, Bangkok’s landscape is seeing something of a shift. Peer in between those mega-structures, and you’ll find the green shoots of an altogether new kind of development, that of a creative scene cropping up in small scale projects with big ambitions and all under the watchful eye of the city’s burgeoning creative community.
The Home BKK (The House of Magical Epiphanies) is one such space spearheading this movement. Founded by former flamingo dancer Carla Soledad Rivera, it is a meeting place for artists who gather there to share their skills, experiment on sustainable ideas from upcycled materials and indulge in their passion for creativity and craft. For Carla, the beautiful space, “merges different cultures to embrace diversity and multiculturalism whilst supporting sustainability.” What Home BKK does is bring all the various elements of Bangkok’s budding creative scene – food, yoga, dance, artistry and more – under one roof. As Jessica Seal, the centre’s Organiser and Content Developer says, “If there is ever a bomb threat or if the world is about to end, you will be able to survive here. You will be able to make food, make clothes and continue learning.
For Carla, that Bangkok is getting on board with this sort of project is not a surprise. Having lived in Thailand for 12 years, she sees it as one of the fastest growing cities open to new ideas, especially having watched it transform itself into a multi-cultural society over the past decade. Like many an initiative, Carla’s idea started with a need. Having always worked from home, she craved a place where the creatives she was increasingly identifying with around her could come and collaborate.
That need was solved when, in 2015, she accidentally stumbled across an abandoned site and fell in love with the original features of the building. Occupied at the time by nothing but construction workers and their chickens, slowly, over a 2 year process she renovated it to make a warm, welcoming and flexible space that suits her community’s needs. Officially launched in February 2016, Home BKK has quickly grown into a hub for like-minded people looking to share and learn – and Carla hopes to help them take their visions forward. “Home BKK intends to grow organically through a sustainable equity system and the goal is to eventually create a funding program to support young talent. It is a cradle and incubator to experiment and learn in an intimate setting,” she explains.
Today, the space hosts a range of activities, from various dance classes and martial arts lessons to coaching sessions covering all sorts of areas. Slowly, the founders have grown the business organically by word of mouth, as guests bring friends along to share their new find. An example of the sort of event that helps in this way is their monthly drumming session – one that quickly evolved to bring both professionals and amateurs together, plus quite a crowd. Another popular event is their Culture Live session which focuses on celebrating tradition and innovation through live music and choreographed dances.
Up next is a focus on product and sustainability. Carla is creating an eco-friendly womenswear brand, and the centre also runs various classes dedicated to upcycling for both adults and children, as well as cooking classes for those wanting to learn something new. When it comes to Home BKK, Carla and Jessica hope their studio will create a supportive place for ambitious creators to experiment with their ideas with no boundaries or restrictions. Much more than just a space, the whole idea is that it is a movement that can celebrate creativity and accommodate the need for society to express themselves freely through the arts.
We are delighted that this year, Home BKK will be joining the Hive at the Wonderfruit Festival 2017 in the fields of Siam Country Club, in Pattaya. Along with others, they will be hosting workshops, craft events and more, giving you a place to come to learn new skills, network and collaborate, and all in a brilliant, party atmosphere. You can find details for where to get tickets here. We hope to see you there.