Wonderfruit cultural festival designed to “minimise environmental impact”

Ab Rogers Design carried out the structural design work for the festival, staying true to local craft methods.

London-based studio Ab Rogers Design has created the on-site structures for Wonderfruit, a cultural festival in Thailand.

The festival consists of workshops and events that seek to connect people with nature, through art, music and rituals. According to the studio’s creative director Ab Rogers, Wonderfruit’s key philosophy is “to minimise the environmental impact” of the event.

*All photographs are from previous years of Wonderfruit Festival. Wonderfruit 2022 will take place in December, so structures are still in the building process

In line with this thinking, Rogers says that all the structures are designed to be “sympathetic to their environment”. Techniques used by the studio were “inspired by local craft” and its chosen materials were “locally sourced and reversible”, he adds.

This is the third year in a row that Ab Rogers Design has worked on the festival, each year taking new inspiration and a different design route.

This year’s Ethos Pavillion design sketch

After the festival is over, the structures can be reused and recycled, which will minimise the amount of waste generated by the event. Rogers explains that the colour scheme is also inspired by “the greens of the fecund wilderness” and also features “bright red hues”, which were chosen to stand out against the rest of the palette.

Upon entering the fields, visitors will be greeted by “a series of theatrical canvases” designed to look like an optical illusion and also to shield visitors from seeing what is inside the festival, says Rogers. At the heart of the festival is the Ethos Pavilion, “a giant tensile shade made from reclaimed parachutes and set within a perimeter of bamboo” that Rogers says will protect festival goers from the sun.

The Bath Houses: Wonderfruit 2018/19

Another structure that uses bamboo is the Theatre of Feasts, which Rogers describes as “a giant bamboo tent”. Inside the tent are five ring shaped tables that surround a central kitchen.

From the natural bathing and swimming pools – the Bath Houses – Rogers says that visitors will see “a series of flying saucers levitating over a network of floating platforms made from Eucalyptus wood”. This structure is separate from the main island platform, so people must use floating pod rafts to cross the lake and access these facilities.

Wonderfruit 2022 bath house sketches

Centred around one of the biggest stages is “the living villages”. The design of these structures is inspired by “sensory parts of the body”, like the hand, ear and eye. Different events focussed around making, eating and dancing will take place here.

Within a field of flowers, Ab Rogers Design crafted a mirrored infinity tube with a screen at its centre, playing a film by Katsuma.

Festival fields at night: Wonderfruit 2018/19

“All of the structures are intriguing, organic, dynamic and provocative”, says Rogers. They attempt to provoke questions and “celebrate the curiosity, generosity and open mindedness at the heart of the festival”, he adds.

Wonderfruit 2022 poster and branding

Wonderfest 2022 will take place in December, so the structures for this year’s festival are yet to be completed.

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