On the buzzing part of outer Ladprow area, amid noisy street-food stands and old-school dad-and-mum-styled shop-houses, lies a gem rooted in the past and yet a beacon to the future. It is possibly the last place anyone would expect to find a modern ‘goldsmith design studio’. Behind the deceptive outdated store signage ‘Mongkon 108’, is the studio that has masterminded some unorthodox amulet framing designs of our era.
Over the past years, this low-key goldsmith shop has become a destination store for avid Thai amulet collectors from Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. They frequent the place because of its modern design approach for amulet settings. Here the designer and clients work together as co-designers. They make decisions collectively on all details from materials to the type of craftsmanship.
Audible conversation can be heard debating how to blend modernity into these iconic amulets; from the likes of 200 year-old Buddha bronze coin to the rarest age-old sacred extraordinary items from legendary monks. With an aim to create a new outlook for these priceless antiques. Giving them a refresh of sorts that is befitting the modern living realm.
The founder and designer extraordinaire is Pichanan Sinsap. Despite not having any formal training from design school, he has boldly presented a new vision in the realm of this niche culture. There is a subtle matrimony of old and new world realms in his design. Pichanan bridges the classical Siamese convention with modernistic esthetics, yet maintains both at the right balance.
“Our approach in my studio is to create a design that complements and enhances the authentic beauty of these sacred items. These days with conspicuous trends, it is very easy to get carried away and overdesign it all and sadly, overshadow the beauty of these iconic amulets. We don’t just flood our design with a lot of thick gold and big diamonds. Our designs are always subtle, honest and modest.”
Pichanan explains: The first design process and most important step in designing anything for an amulet is understanding the amulet itself. Go deep and know every intricate detail of the century-old items. Meticulously study the shapes including its imperfection and the way they age. Next and equally as important, we need to understand the colour of the items in different lightings. These are the checklists we must understand before we can start sketching a design.
Small Buddha amulets have been part of the Thai culture for centuries. They are normally worn on the neck for their sacred blessing powers. This is why we always co-design the frames with the amulet owners so the final amulet would be the right balance of respectful religious belief and modern esthetics.
I think it is a great thing that Thai temple architectures have been kept intact since the Ayutthaya era, with no evolution or serious modernization, he enthused further. He sources inspiration from these transcending architectures.
The Siamese tradition on jewelry design, from royal tiaras to court jewelries, including amulets, never ran short of evolutions. King Rama V at one point had his paraphernalia commissioned from Maison de Cartier, to use in mix and match style. This was the pivotal moment in the height of Siamese haute culture. Today I think it is important to modernize and update the way we wear these amulets. They are the token of a sacred culture. We must do our part before they start to be too irrelevant in the eyes of the modern, young generation.
A hybrid of old and new world is the way forward, or may I add, it is a sacred world’s version of the new normal – wise words from the master himself, Khun Pichanan Sinsap.
For further information about Mongkon 108 store, please visit
For appointments, do call 0967895529