Role: Architect & Interior Designer
The brief for Naamyaa was to create a new casual dining “Café” environment that would encompass an Eastern style menu to trade from breakfast through to night time diner service. The design had to be bright, modern and accessible . The design responds to three initiatives. The expression of the kitchen was to be a central part of the experience, that a degree of research and grasp of traditional Thai detailing and decoration was to be evident and that the design would be developed in close collaboration with the commissioning client, Alan Yau and graphic design team North.
Within the Café the space is laid out creating an apparent inversion of a traditional dining room. The kitchen and bar are combined within a glazed cube occupying the centre of the café’s floor plate. This dominates the space and the activity of the bar tenders and chefs become a focal point of the diner’s experience both from the bar stools which directly address the bar and the surrounding “horseshoe” of banquettes and tables that benefit from oblique views through the cooking range and across the cafe.
The selected Thai materials and pattern are expressed within the surface decoration. The back wall or “proscenium” from which the kitchen emerges is built with bricks, imported from Thailand and laid in a deep bond staggered in section. The nature of the wall is rich in both its colour and texture and its 3 dimensional form is exaggerated in its upper section forming the continual display of hundreds of golden deities in a staggered formation.
The graphic content of the design is expressed in the two side containing walls , traditional Thai narrative paintings of scenes of happiness have been worked into a “toile de jouy” and printed onto large format glazed ceramic tiles. These large scale decorative surfaces play with the glazed screens and highly polished surfaces within the space creating sudden and unexpected reflections of pattern across the cafe. The most emphatic graphic impact is within the bathrooms , here traditional pattern is abstracted into a continuous and disorientating graphic creating an intense shock within a diminutive space.