The Creative Generation, a collective of artists, educators, researchers, storytellers, and activists, has unveiled “Under the Canopy 2”, an initiative to bolster the creativity and skill development of young Cambodian individuals within the design and arts sphere.

“Under the Canopy 2” champions sustainable design, building on the success of its predecessor. The project’s first phase showcased the work of budding architect, Nuon Songty, under the guidance of David Cole. Songty’s design was installed at the Friends Futures Factory (F3) in Phnom Penh in 2022.

Dana Langlois, co-founder and artistic director of the Creative Generation forum, explained to The Post how “Under the Canopy” seeks to nourish young Cambodian talent in design and art. She said in the second iteration of the project this year, an anticipated announcement of the winners on June 24th will follow a successful first phase.

Langlois revealed the winners of “Under the Canopy 2” will have their designs exhibited and installed at F3, replacing the previous installation.

“The Creative Generation invites shortlisted candidates, friends, and partners to join us in announcing the winners of ‘Under the Canopy 2’. The three shortlisted candidates will present their final plans submitted for competition. Only one group will emerge victorious, their design to be constructed at F3 during November’s dry season,” she disclosed.

According to a press release, the forum emphasises the importance of the canopy’s suitability for the F3 space. It should utilise the existing site, offer shade and comfort to visitors, and be able to host public events and large gatherings.

Announcements from the Creative Generation forum identified three shortlisted groups for the final round. The first group, comprising May Sokunlanita and Sophonn Davy, proposed “Le Romduol” inspired by Cambodia’s national flower. They plan to use sustainable bamboo, reed, and rattan, incorporating traditional Cambodian craftsmanship.

The second group, Dok Techlong, Pan Liden and Main Nika, focused around the large tree in the F3 courtyard. Their concept, drawing from the Cambodian tradition of “Ka Bonbous Dermcher”, underscores the need to protect natural resources. The design is a symbolic reminder of the significance of trees and our duty to preserve them.

The final shortlisted candidates, Sou Oudom and Try Sokha Raksmey, suggest a design utilising fabric discarded by monks. Mimicking a tree’s leaf and branch canopy, the fabric will move in the wind. As a project finale, the fabric will be repurposed into toys for children, a traditional practice in Cambodia.

“We have shortlisted some great options for ‘Under the Canopy 2’, excluding those who prefer not to publicise their designs. Although we admire all submitted works, not all are suitable for our purpose. By showcasing these works, we hope the public will appreciate their inspiring designs”, Langlois said.

According to Langlois, the Creative Generation Forum is committed to showcasing the works of new artists and providing creative inspiration, thereby fostering a strong artistic perspective among participants.