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Domestic Alternative Materials a Revolution of the Imagination

Domestic Alternative Materials a Revolution of the Imagination

BANGKOK / Taking a closer look at creative industries, we think you will agree that “materials” take priority over any other matter. Hence, a project codenamed “Domestic Alternative Materials” was born to research into the innovation, introduction, and improvement of new products needed for the manufacture of goods and articles. By creating products that are original and unique, it takes design to the next level and helps reduce waste as natural raw materials become scarce and hard to come by.

Domestic Alternative Materials a Revolution of the Imagination THINKK StudioDomestic Alternative Materials a Revolution of the Imagination THINKK Studio

Domestic Alternative Materials is a nice little collab that turns everyday things into items of higher quality and value .These include empty seashells, crab shells, glass bottles, water hyacinth fibers, coconut husks, coconut shells, betel nut fibers, even fabric scraps from the garment factory. It’s amazing how a little bit of imagination can give scraps and litters new life. Together, the team transform trash into new products that the industry needs, among them faux metal bars and imitation wood that can be used as alternative materials for furniture making and light fixtures.

Domestic Alternative Materials a Revolution of the Imagination THINKK Studio Domestic Alternative Materials a Revolution of the Imagination THINKK Studio

Like the wake-up call to a growing menace to the environment, the project causes us to look back at the trail of garbage left behind by commercial and industrial activities. Hence to reduce waste, it makes perfect sense to transform those otherwise useless objects into alternative materials that can be put to good use again and in more creative ways.

Domestic Alternative Materials a Revolution of the Imagination THINKK Studio Domestic Alternative Materials a Revolution of the Imagination THINKK Studio

The works of Domestic Alternative Materials are on show as part of a greater event known as Bangkok Design Week 2021. It’s a show designed to create an awareness among the people, architects, designers and consumers about the need to reduce waste and conserve the environent. Despite disruptions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, it provides the opportunity to appreciate a revolution of the imagination that results in a stunning array of unconventional materials for the creative industries.

Domestic Alternative Materials a Revolution of the Imagination THINKK StudioDomestic Alternative Materials a Revolution of the Imagination THINKK Studio Domestic Alternative Materials a Revolution of the Imagination THINKK Studio

Fresh discoveries are only a click away. www.thinkkstudio.com
FB: thinkkstudio
Photos: THINKK Studio
Story: Wuthikorn Sut

Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel

Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel

BANGKOK / Inspired by pleasant memories of New York’s Central Park, Sarapa Vejpattarasiri converted old row houses in a bustling neighborhood off of Sukhumvit into a boutique hotel and cafe that blended the pretty looks of Tropical motifs with Modern design. Aptly named “GOOSE Living”, the stylish midtown inn was a reflection of her learning and life experiences after graduating in culinary science from the Big Apple.

Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel

It’s been a journey. Sarapa came away impressed with a vision of wild geese naturally living free against the spectacular backdrop of New York City. Hence the two adjoining row houses that had been in her family for over four decades transformed into an intimate little hideaway in the middle of a vibrant urban district.

Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel

The hotel keeps firmly to its concept – “Living a goose life (if you will forgive the pun) is about living happy, wild and free”.

GOOSE Living offers the opportunity to experience the excitement of simple yet chic living spaces. It’s a flexible form of living involving a new and innovative style. Situated on a corner plot, the hotel’s ground floor that houses a resaturant and cafe looks out over two intersecting streets. The result is a beautiful open concept entrance hall that’s warm and welcoming.

Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel

A team of architects from SIM STUDIO undertook the renovation project. Together, they took the five-story row houses out of their humdrum existence turning them into an architectural landmark that clearly enlivens the city’s Phra Khanong neighborhood. Besides the small restaurant and cafe on the ground floor, the 900-sq-m hotel offers 20 rooms and a bar on the top floor. As can be expected of a boutique hotel, each room is decorated in the style and colors that reflect the distinctive character of the wild geese of New York. Plus, all the living spaces are flexible and capable of fulfilling several functions.

Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel

The ground floor contains the hotel front desk that conveniently connects to a small restaurent and café. The interior space is divided without going full-wall, but by using different building materials from one room to the next. This applies to everything from floors to walls to ceilings. The focus of attention is the use of vertical design on the walls to imitate scenic views of trees in the forest.

Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel

To reduce the harshness of the texture of building materials, curving contours are integrated in the overall interior design. They range from curved furniture design to modular chairs that neatly wrap around dining tables. Besides increasing aesthetic appeal, mirror ceiling decor adds an exciting new dimension to the loft space that houses a restaurant and café. The restaurant itself is renowned for its menu with an Asian twist.

Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel

The erstwhile terraced houses come with design limitations, and hence two kinds of guest rooms – ones with a city view and ones without. The rooms with a view are positioned along the exterior wall. Those that stand as part of a continuous row have no access to natural light. To compensate for the shortcomings, the architects put a skylight in the roof that transforms all the back rooms with daylight and fresh air all the way from the fifth down to the second floor.

Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique HotelGoose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel

From the outside looking in, the hotel stands wrapped in a protective layer crafted of steel box tubing. The rigid structure characterized by regular lines and shapes forms a geometric design that’s easily understood. It doubles as privacy screens that make the covered area more peaceful and quiet in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city.

Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique HotelGoose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique HotelGoose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel Goose Living From Row Houses to Charming Boutique Hotel

Location: GOOSE Living
3/6-7 Sukhumvit 71, Phra Khanong Nua, Wattana District, Bangkok
Tel. +6686 978 6232
FB: Gooseliving
IG: Gooseliving
LINE: @Gooseliving

Owner: Sarapa Vejpattarasiri
Photo: PanoramicStudio
Design: SIM STUDIO
Story: Wannaleela

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

RATCHABURI / We thought you’d like this. Here’s an intimate little house on stilts amid the coconut groves of Damnoen Saduak, a country town famous for lush orchards and a vibrant floating market. Built on a budget, much of it is made of reclaimed timber in various styles. Oh, by the way there’s no need for air conditioning. It stands canopied by overhanging trees alongside water channels for crop irrigation, an ecosystem that drives natural ventilation to keep it cool all year round.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

Since its heyday in the mid 1900s, Damnoen Saduak Canal had been a major route for water transport in this part of Ratchaburi. People’s houses were built mostly along the water’s edge, while properties that lay further inland were used for agriculture. This 7-Rai piece of land was home to thriving fruit orchards for several decades. The house now in the hands of the family’s fourth generation was recently restored to all its former glory. In the process, parts of the water channels were filled to make room for a new contemporary home.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

At first what they had in mind was a little house with one bedroom. But after having consulted the architectural firm Studio Miti, they were convinced that house-on-stilts design, something slightly bigger, was the way forward. It was a prudent thing to do since the area has experienced flooding in the past. By using tall timber posts and beams, they were able to create a 112-sq-m home plan with high ceilings.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

The wooden floor is elevated on concrete poles for stability and better ventilation, while the superstructure is crafted of weathered wood that gives the home rustic and contempory décor. The exterior walls are built of a captivating mix of reclaimed timber, including Praduak (Pterocarpus soyauxii) that’s preferred for its bright orange red color, Mai Daeng or Ironwood (Xylia xylocarpa), and Mai Yang (Dipterocarpus alatus), which is light brown in color. Where appropriate, shorter wall planks are used to add the warmth and charm to interior living spaces.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

Taken as a whole, it’s an open concept house plan that’s just right for a small family’s lifestyle needs. There is no guest reception area that’s characteristic of the Western style home. Instead, the center of family life is a good-sized wooden table in the middle of the room that’s fulfilling multiple functions as living area, dining room and space for relaxing and socializing.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

The kitchen formerly at the rear of the house has been moved to the ground floor that’s made suitable for traditional Thai cooking. It’s a way to get rid of food smells fast. Only a pantry with necessary food, dishes and utensils are kept upstairs, where the focus is more on making light meals, coffee and other beverages. It’s separated from the living area by roll-away shutters that open to circulate air and give a sense of cohesiveness.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

The house has two bedrooms made especially relaxing by a monochromatic color scheme. A nexus between old world charm and a calm, clutter-free life, each room has a mattress on a wooden platform canopied by a fine net to keep mosquitoes away. Both of them are so well ventilated that there’s no need for air conditioning.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

Wood has its benefits as a building material. It doesn’t reflect or store heat very well, which results in hardwood floors not getting much hot in summer. This makes it comfortable to spend daylight hours in the shady space on the ground floor. When evening comes, a gentle wind helps cool the home down. Otherwise, simple fans will do the trick. Outside, a canopy of overhanging trees and water channels make the home environment calm and peaceful. In the rainy season, extended overhangs protect the interior from the elements.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

As timber prices continue to rise, the cost of building a home also increases at an alarming rate. Here, the architect is able to overcome the limited budget and deliver on his promise. The result is a beautiful contemporary design that relates to its intended function and purpose — an intimate little home amid the enchantment of lush coconut groves.

Beautiful House on Stilts in a Coconut Grove

Story: Patsiri
Photo: Soopakorn
Stylist: Worawat
Owners: Veerapus and Nuthapak Thamrongrojanabhat
Architect: Prakij Kanha (Studio Miti)

Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An Interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, Founder of party / space / design

Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An Interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, Founder of party / space / design

BANGKOK / It’s fair to say that, without considering disruptions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, café and restaurant businesses had ranked with fast-growing industries in Thailand. They could survive the tough competition from established and new players in the marketplace. Besides good food and drinks, design has played a crucial role in business. By knowing their market niche and formulating a unique business plan, they were able to attract more consumer love to their brands.

Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, founder of p / s / d

party / space / design, or p / s / d for short, is a design studio behind the sweet smell of success of leading café and restaurants in Thailand. Led by Suparat Chinathaworn, founder and CEO, the company has drawn on years of experience in business and design in creating restaurant spaces that are not only different, but also exceptionally good. It was a pleasure to have interviewed Suparat Chinathaworn. And here are his views, goals, and experience over the past ten years.

Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, founder of p / s / d

Q: What is it that’s inspired p / s / d to make a difference?

A: “Within the past two years we have focused on making hands-on practice available to our colleagues. USB Café is in fact a Coffee Lab and training grounds where baristas exercise and perfect their skill from actually doing it instead of reading about it or seeing it being done. It’s about doing real work under real pressure and be able to meet consumer needs. We aren’t just designers. We must strive to produce outcomes that are different from everything else on the market.”

Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, founder of p / s / d

USB Café, the coffee room that’s part of the p / s / d office space, is used for smart business experiments. Test results provide the basis for a good working environment.

Q: Opening a shop isn’t the finish line, but the beginning of growth. Can you elaborate on that?

A: “I believe that consumer behavior is a very important thing you need to know in running a business. It’s a relationship based on mutual understanding. After a shop is opened, I always ask my clients if everything is going well. It’s a way to find out if the model that we’ve designed is working or not. Often we will choose a business plan that’s doable within their powers. This means that the clients have a pretty good understanding of how a restaurant works. Plus, they love doing it and are ready to give their time and resources to it. A start-up isn’t the finish line, only the beginning. They have to think long-term.”

Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, founder of p / s / d

Q: Beyond design, it’s experience. What’s your thought on that?

A: “Restaurants and cafés are public spaces. So we have to make them special or otherwise different from the place where one lives. We have to make sure that people come away impressed with what they’ve experienced and want to come back. We don’t just focus on design. Instead, we pay particular attention to the kind of experience that people get. It’s comparable to movie making, in which stories are told through a series of film footage of various events that have taken place. We’re like the movie producer who has to envisage the entirety of future events – everything from people arriving to entering by the front door, from making orders to drinking, taking photos, and checking things out on social media. You name it. We look thoughtfully at it in order to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone.”

Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, founder of p / s / d Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, founder of p / s / d

Q: What do you mean by younger yet more in-depth?

A: “Ten years had passed since we opened our office. And we felt like kids again. We went back to playing toys and enjoyed having fun. Meanwhile, we’re spending a lot of time deep in our thoughts. We’ve come to appreciate of the atmosphere of a place that’s the quintessence of Thainess. We’ve found the right balance between business owners and the general public. Our design isn’t about just being cool. Rather, it’s the quality of forming a pleasing environment and a space that’s different, unique, and easily understood.”

Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, founder of p / s / dBehind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, founder of p / s / d

Q: How do you see p / s / d ten years from now?

A: “Now we’re interested in the concept of Specialty Coffee. People say it’s a stage in the learning process of how to effectively run a restaurant business. It’s like climbing a three-step staircase, starting with Specialty Coffee before moving on to Hidden Bar, and Fine Dining. We expect the latter options will follow in the next ten years. For the future the focus of attention may switch from restaurants and cafés to consulting business. I have fun doing analyses for the purpose of presenting new ideas and new experience to people. It’s something I always enjoy doing.”

Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, founder of p / s / d Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, founder of p / s / d

Q: In your view, what does the future look like for restaurant business?

A: “In the big picture, the food and beverage industry is growing at a fast pace. Eating and drinking is the reality of life that cannot be replaced by online activities. It’s like living in two worlds where we cannot have one without the other. Thais in general treat eating and drinking as being very important and deserving attention. Many actually enjoy restaurant hopping to try out new items on the menu. It’s not about telling good restaurants apart from bad ones. Rather, it’s about discerning differences among them. Some places are preferred for their pleasant atmosphere that’s attractive in photographs, while others may be famous for good food and friendly people. This has resulted in us having to keep abreast of changes to be able to design an “experience space” that finds the right balance. All things considered, it’s an on-going development.”

Behind the Success of Café Business in Thailand: An interview with Suparat Chinathaworn, founder of p / s / d

Find out more about p / s / d at: www.partyspacedesign.com

Contact info:
party / space / design
34 Thonglor 20 (Chamchan) Room 23A-26A,
Sukhumvit 55, North-Klongton, Wattana,
Bangkok 10110 Thailand
Email: info@partyspacedesign.com
Story: Wuthikorn Sut
Photographs: Anupong

Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space

Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space

BANGKOK / EasternGlass Manufacturer, the city’s oldest handmade glassware company, has transformed one of its buildings into a café amid the beauty of an industrial loft space. Interestingly, it’s blessed with the power of storytelling. The new coffee destination is located just off of Phet Kasem Road inbound between Soi 76/1 and Soi 76 in Bangkhae District.

Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space

The coffee shop called EasternGlass Café nestles in the front building that formerly housed factory offices. It’s a complete makeover that strikes the right balance between the chic organic style and the rawness of industrial style décor. The coffee room is connected to a warehouse, so you can shop around for the best deal on glassware made the old-fashioned way by skilled glass masters.

Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft SpaceEasternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space

For more than 70 years, EasternGlass Manufacturer has excelled in the glassmaking industry mostly for exports to Europe including Scandinavian countries. The company now in the hands of the third generation is widely renowned for its cool and creative products ranging from glass light shades to articles for hotel, restaurant, and home décor. Suddenly faced with disruptions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, it has had to diversify into new business sooner than anticipated.

Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space

Led by Peter Chongussayakul, the company made remarkable progress by expanding into domestic markets instead, and hence a café on an industrial site where products and other paraphernalia are displayed. He said: “We have seen a new trend in consumer behavior of late. More people have taken an interest in home decorating ideas, while designers are looking for props that are great works of handicraft. So it’s time we presented our products for the Thai people to see. Since there were no new orders coming in, the company temporarily closed the factory to allow for renovation to take place.

“Parts of the factory office have been converted into an industrial style café showcasing miscellaneous tools and equipment. It’s a loft space designed to give information on the glassmaking industry. People who are interested can learn how hand blown glass products are made and what tools are used.”

Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space

The coffee shop décor includes pumps, cutting tools, tongs for holding the workpiece, blowpipes, and molds used to give shape to hot or molten glass. They are exhibited against bare concrete walls, weathered wood, and exposed building systems characteristic of industrial chic. There’s an entire wall that’s dedicated to a display of all kinds of glassmaking molds. Together, they showcase the factory history and play a part in educating the public.

Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft SpaceEasternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space

Right next to the industrial style café, a large warehouse is filled with awe-inspiring collections of artisanal articles made from glass. Every single piece is original in its own special way depending on the colors, design, and air bubbles that happen in the process. From an artistic point of view, it’s beauty in the imperfections caused by dust and air flow inside the factory that makes each one of them perfectly unique. Plus, it’s the allure of glass art that’s another determining factor in its value.

Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft SpaceEasternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft SpaceEasternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space Easternglass Café the Beauty of an Industrial Loft Space

Location:
The café is on a private road just off of Phet Kasem Road inbound between Soi 76/1 and Soi 76, Khwaeng Bangkhae Nua, Bangkhae District, Bangkok

Open daily from 08.00 to 17.00 Hrs.
Tel. 09-2240-4141
See more: https://www.facebook.com/Easternglass
Story: Phattaraphon Yodnakornjong
Photographs: Nantiya 

Container Home amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

Container Home amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

BANGKOK / Who would have thought, even in the vibrant cosmopolitan neighborhood of Thonglor, that a shipping container home would have pride of place beautifully ensconced in the lush greenery of a midtown forest garden? The area bustled with activity and dominated by highrise condominiums is home to a health-giving tropical oasis. Here, large metal boxes once used for the transportation of goods transform into a charming ensemble and family life center capable of fulfilling several functions.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

The rustic building in the garden originated as an add-on to the family’s existing home located a stone’s throw away. It was meant to be used for a limited period of time and hence a shady spot with trees thriving in the microclimate of the landscape. Later on, it was transformed into a new home for the family’s daughter engaged to be married at the time. That was when shipping containers were put in as a garden pavilion in the front yard, an art studio, and other components of the main building at the rear. The front pavilion has become the hub of family life when Mom and Dad drop in for a visit.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

The container that serves as front yard pavilion is elevated at a distance above the ground. It’s connected to other functional spaces via a system of passages along the side of the house. The house itself is a steel frame building. The exterior wall on the second floor is made of corrugated sheet metal that blends with the exoskeletal shipping container framework. Crafted of teakwood, the house floor offers a pleasing visual combination that harmonizes with the lush foliage of the landscape. For durability, the balcony and outdoor passages are raised on a framework of steel. They are topped with steel reinforced concrete, while epoxy coatings enhance the beauty of the entire surface.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

Open concept interior design comes in handy for a rectangular house plan. The sitting room at the front easily connects to a dining area and a kitchen that’s situated at the farthest end. The shaft in which a staircase is built allows plenty of natural daylight to illuminate the center of the home while serving as engine driving air circulation.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

Into the open air, trees that had been planted some time ago were developing well. With years of landscaping experience, the architectural firm Walllasia was able to create a home and art studio that merged seamlessly with the surroundings. It’s now an ecosystem where everything is interconnected, from the sitting room up front to the balcony on the second floor, and beyond. The result is a gorgeous residence embraced by nature, one that evokes pleasant images of a home immersed among rosewood trees.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

To prepare the building site, low land was filled to bring it to road level while things that had aesthetic value remained intact. They included climbing plants that grew up arbors and trellises along the fence. Now they offer protection from the mid-afternoon sun and keep the backyard cool. Some of them even thrive on the roof and in the overhanging trees. Where necessary, steel building frames are made strong to provide nearby trees with a firm foundation. For a lightweight look, some outdoor rooms are canopied by high-tension canvas that blends with healthy green foliage.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

What’s worth mentioning is that the homeowners are avid pet lovers. Hence, the dwelling place made in a plain and simple fashion is aptly called “Mac and Ham House”, which refers to the two dogs who also live here. Unmistakably, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. It’s happiness that comes from a bond of love and understanding. Currently, plans are afoot to open an in-house art gallery devoted to painted pictures of the beloved man’s best friends.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden
From left: Alaksh, Suriporn and their daughter Jirapa.

Text: Samutcha Viraporn
Photo: Sitthisak Namkham
Owner: Jirapa Phornprapha
Architectural / Interior Design: Suriya Umpansiriratana / Walllasia Ltd.
Landscape Design: Suriya Umpansiriratana, Prawit Poolkumlung / Walllasia Ltd.

Moonler Wood Furniture Adds a New Dimension to Chiang Mai Crafts

Moonler Wood Furniture Adds a New Dimension to Chiang Mai Crafts

CHIANG MAI / From every aspect an alluring collection of raintree furniture is adding an exciting dimension to the craft landscape of Chiang Mai. Made by the homegrown brand Moonler, every piece tells stories of a pristine natural forest and the superb carpentry indigenous to northern Thailand. Plus, it features stylishness and originality that answers modern lifestyle needs.

Founded in 2008, the Moonler brand originated as a nice little collab between Phuwanat Damrongporn, a civil engineer; and Sarawut Sakthamcharoen, an artist. Together they built a small workshop at Baan Thawai, Chiang Mai, where a rich variety of wood furniture was made from the raintree. The pair of them developed a competitive edge by distinguishing their products from others in the market in both quality and appearance.

Moonler Wood Furniture: Adding a New Dimension to Chiang Mai Crafts

Now, just over a decade on, the small workshop has transformed into a furniture company that ranks among large manufacturers in Chiang Mai’s Doi Saket area. Moonler increases market share through innovation and grows its business by exporting to the global marketplace. Its success is built on experience and networking with distinguished designers both local and international.  

Moonler Wood Furniture: Adding a New Dimension to Chiang Mai Crafts

Just three years ago Ratthee Phaisanchotsiri, who won acclaim for many creative achievements, joined the company as design director. He first came into contact with Moonler through a state-sponsored cooperation initiative between business and designers. Working jointly, they succeeded in creating a collection of 10 pieces of furniture and home accessories, a move being hailed as the rebranding of Moonler’s present day production trend. Essentially, it’s about adding a new dimension to the handicraft tradition of Chiang Mai.

Moonler’s material of choice is wood from the raintree (Albizia saman) that’s admired for its beautiful colors and ornamental timber similar to that of the walnut. It’s strong yet bendable, which makes it ideal for furniture making. It can be used as a substitute for teakwood that has become increasingly rare nowadays. Plus, it’s easy to find the right width for a project, as opposed to planks from the lumber yard, which are only available in standard sizes. Given that, raintree timber offers a competitive advantage that gives the artist and designer the power of imagination to explore new possibilityies like never before.

Moonler is networking with a new generation of designers in a bid to create products that bespeak contemporary Thainess. This can lead to new meaning being expressed through the visible shape, familiar culture, and the creative works of highly skilled craftsmen. At the end of the day, it’s the aura of specialness in the product that satisfies consumer expectations.

Besides the main manufacturing facility in Chiang Mai, Moonler also has a showroom in Phuket and is planning to open another one in Bangkok soon. Find out more about Moonler products and what’s the latest collection at: www.moonler.com.

Here’s a glimpse into the latest in Moonler products.

Moonler Wood Furniture: Adding a New Dimension to Chiang Mai Crafts

PHAKA by Ratthee

An ideal relationship in shape, size and proportion, PHAKA is a wooden chair that’s easy on the eyes and convenient to use. It mirrors the rebranding of Moonler products that make the most effective use of clean and simple design. From the seat to the backrest, every part of it is put together seamlessly with no apparent gab between one piece and the next. Plus, it’s access to
quality wood products that give Moonler its competitive advantage.

Moonler Wood Furniture: Adding a New Dimension to Chiang Mai Crafts

PANNA by Ratthee

It’s a table and workbench in one. Like a huge crack on the cliff face, the tabletop is made by joining two flat pieces of timber. By design, the uneven outer parts of the tree trunk are placed against each other to create a gap in the middle that’s used for the installation of electric wiring. PANNA is knock down furniture that’s easy to assemble.

Moonler Wood Furniture: Adding a New Dimension to Chiang Mai Crafts

PEBBLE by Atelier2+

PEBBLE is a wood stool that rests on three legs machined to resemble a natural rock formation. What appears to be work done without method or conscious decision is, in fact, a testament to the power of imagination of a master craftsman. The result is a work of outstanding artistry.

Moonler Wood Furniture: Adding a New Dimension to Chiang Mai Crafts

SALMON by o-d-a

It’s a bench seat made by cutting the entire length of a log into parts. Two pieces are joined lengthwise to make a long seat, while another 8 pieces make the legs. The work gets its inspiration from clean, simple design and the beauty of symmetry. Aptly named SALMON, it’s a robust precision system that combines beautiful wood grain with superb craftsmanship. It’s comparable to the work of a sushi chef who uses a razer-sharp knife to cut raw fish and rolls of cooked rice.

Moonler Wood Furniture: Adding a New Dimension to Chiang Mai Crafts

MESA by Ratthee

MESA is a center table inspired by functional sculpture, in this case a three-dimensional abstract form that doubles as a piece of furniture. The asymmetrical relationship between the members that join together adds an exciting new dimension to the work and conveys a message that nothing in nature is perfect. It’s a flexible form that’s easily modified to respond to different circumstances.

DARAKORN by Ratthee

The first piece created by Ratthee Phaisanchotsiri for Moonler is a freestanding shelving unit designed to showase the beauty of natural wood. The rigid structure enclosing the storage space acts like a picture frame giving special importance to the large wood slap that appears to move away from the vertical axis line.

Company founders: Phuwanat Damrongporn, and Sarawut Sakthamcharoen
Design Director: Ratthee Phaisanchotsiri
Point of contact:
Chiang Mai Factory & Showroom
51 Moo 1, Sumranrath Doi Saket, Mueang Chiang Mai, Thailand 50220
Phuket Showroom
Bypass Biz Town, 156/65 Ratsada, Mueang Phuket, Thailand 83000
email: contact@moonler.com

Story: MNSD
Photographs courtesy of Moonler

A Modern Home That’s Quintessentially Thai

A Modern Home That’s Quintessentially Thai

BANGKOK / The cube shape and flat roof lends a modern air to this white house on the outskirts of Bangkok. Designed for a hot, humid climate, it’s gently calming and comfortable to live without air conditioning. Its contemporary style belies the traditional Thai way of life that’s central to its existence and character. Plus, it shows great attention to detail that makes the house feel warm and welcoming.

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Amazing as it may seem, the cube shaped home sits on a narrow lot that’s only 5 meters wide. There’s a small waterway and public walk along the left side of the land. In such situation, the homeowner has to forfeit 3 meters of land along the waterfront to make room for public access as required by law.

The result is a piece of land with a narrow frontage to the street as it is now. And that’s where the design team came in to create a place that’s light and airy yet relying little on air conditioning. The homeowner lives with her elderly mother; hence the new house comes in handy to answer their specific lifestyle needs. For the most part, wood is the building material of choice. Despite its ultramodern architecture, the house plan is the quintessence of the Thai way.

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The side of the house that looks out over the public walk gets plenty of fresh air and natural daylight. But it’s also facing west, which means the afternoon sun is much harsher and brighter.

To solve this problem, the design team puts in a perforated metal façade that doubles as an outer shell that helps keep the house cool during daylight hours. The outer shell crafted of steel is painted white to harmonize in color and texture with the nearby boundary fence. It’s a simple yet effective way to overcome a challenge on site.

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By design, the house is well ventilated thanks to open concept floor plans both in front and at the rear of the building. There’s nothing to block the winds from the north or the south. Wood stairs with no risers not only allow fresh air to enter and circulate in the interior. They also illuminate the stairwell and nearby areas with natural daylight. The structure is a hybrid of steel beams and joists supported by concrete piles and arranged in an orderly way like traditional Thai architecture in former times. Plus, solid hardwood flooring looks very nice and makes the interior cooler in the summer.

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To create warm, beautiful environments, the house floor is made of hardwood on all three levels. As a natural building material, wood evokes positive responses. Plus, it has a substantial impact on the wellbeing of humans in ways that tiles and concrete floors cannot. Meantime, pieces of furniture from the old house are given a new lease on life. They are adapted for use in a different purpose and given a fresh coat of paint that proves a perfect complement to white home decorating ideas.

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Showing great attention to detail, the design team ensures the house plan is right for the elderly mother who lives here. To make it easy for her to walk up a flight of stairs, each riser is reduced to just 15 cm (from the average 17 to 18 cm). As a precaution against slip and fall accidents, each stair tread is made deeper than average, thanks to angled risers that provide extra space.

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The house fence is made of air bricks painted white. They have holes in them to create an air flow between the property and the public walkway on the other side. The masonry wall has no see-through gaps in it, which offers privacy and protection from unwanted prying eyes. It’s an oasis of calm on the outskirts of the city, thanks to additional green spaces along the fence line adorned with shrubs that thrive in the understory of tall trees.

The farthest end leads to a vegetable garden where Mom spends most of her free time preparing the soil, planting a crop, and nurturing the plants. Backyard vegetable gardening is an ingenious way to live a salubrious life. It not only puts fresh food on the table, but also speaks volumes for their determination to preserve the Thai way of life

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Text: Samutcha Viraporn
Photos: Anupong, Hatairat Deenuanpanao
Stylist: Vorawat
Owner: Nopphamas Houbjaruen
Design: Chalermpon Sombutyanuchit (Office Architect9Kampanad)

Basic Space Coffee: Old Shop Renovated as a Home Style Café

Basic Space Coffee: Old Shop Renovated as a Home Style Café

AYUTTHAYA / An old grocery-cum-bistro in the historic city of Ayutthaya has been tastefully renovated as a home style café. Aptly named “Basic Space Coffee”, it’s located at the corner of Bang Ian and Liab Khlong Makham Riang roads. Intended to better meet customer needs, the makeover project was undertaken by BodinChapa Architects, who were responsible for both design and construction supervision.

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The design team has kept firmly to its original concept. Since the business owner works here all day, it makes perfect sense for the café to feel like a home. To ensure customers feel comfortable and at ease, the designers think it wise to turn back to basics.

Parts of the 100 sq. m. building that are not impaired in any way are kept intact. They include the old corrugated roofing sheets and flooring materials with a simplicity and charm typical of the countryside.

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Old ceiling panels are removed to make the interior spacious and well ventilated. The bar counter and custom cabinetry that form an integral part of the structure remain where they’ve always been since old times. Together, they prove a perfect complement to the building façade made of a hybrid of wood, brickwork, concrete. 

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Door casing, panels and the bar counter are made of solid wood, such as Makha (Afzelia xylocarpa) and Teng (Shorea obtuse). Where appropriate, plywood is used on parts of the interior walls, while furniture brings a degree of uniqueness to a peaceful country setting. This include tables with cabriole legs that have been adapted for use in a different purpose supporting the bar counter. Just like old times, rustic wooden tables with cabriole legs adorn semi-open spaces that remain at the ready for spontaneous meetings.

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BodinChapa Architects / Phitchapa Lothong (Left) and Bodin Mueanglue
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Basic Space Coffee Crew / From left: Supatip (Nim) Onbuakhao, co-founder of Basic Space Coffee, Putthipong Wanichsuwan the owner, and Man the barista.

Basic Space Coffee is open Tuesday through Sunday from 07.30 to 16.00. Tel: 09-1871-2028.

House Becomes Café

Basic Space Coffee is among 17 cafés being featured in “House Becomes Café”, a guide to home remodeling that’s part of the “room Books” series. It’s a nexus of ideas to transform single homes, townhouses, and row houses into business spaces giving a feeling of comfort, warmth and relaxation. It’s a rich source of strategies and techniques that can be done in real life, plus knowledge of safety inspections, café restaurant systems and procedures, and laws you need to know.

“House Becomes Café” is available in paperback, 4-color-process printing, dimensions 20 x 25 cm. Total 184 pages. Pre-order now until 31 May 2021 to receive a special introductory offer of 360 Baht (a 425 Baht value), plus 50 Baht shipping in Thailand for a total of 411 Baht. Place your order at: https://www.naiin.com/product/detail/526784 or Inbox Page: m.me/roomfan

Story: Nawapat Dusdul
Photographs: Nantiya B., Mhee Rattanachai

Hippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitory; A Place to Reconnect with Nature

Hippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitory; A Place to Reconnect with Nature

DONG NAI PROVINCE, VIETNAM / The Ho Chi Minh City-based design firm T3 ARCHITECTS has built a bioclimatic dormitory that’s part of a green classroom program in Vietnam. It’s made of locally sourced building materials, thereby reducing negative impacts on the climate and natural environment.

Hippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitory; A Place to Reconnect with NatureHippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitory; A Place to Reconnect with Nature

Aptly called “The Hippo Farm”, the 218-sq-m building is designed for students and families looking to just be surrounded by bountiful nature, gain experience with permaculture, go horseback riding, and learn more about sustainable construction.
 
Basically, it’s about getting involved in activities that reconnect with the true essence of education. Plus, it furthers the progress of team spirit and the opportunity for friends and family to share happy moments amid natural surroundings.
 
By design, the Hippo Farm is bioclimatic, a performance-based approach that pays particular attention to the relationship between living organisms and the weather conditions prevailing in an area.
 
To create a comfortable microclimate, T3 ARCHITECTS, or T3, first determined how the location and orientation of the site would affect the building’s energy profile. In so doing, the design team conducted a careful investigation of wind direction both during the dry season (to get the maximum benefits of natural air flow), and the rainy season (to protect the façade from water infiltration).
 
 

Hippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitory; A Place to Reconnect with NatureHippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitory; A Place to Reconnect with Nature Hippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitory; A Place to Reconnect with Nature

Next, they decided to elevate the building site above flood level by covering it with soil and debris from old horse stables that had fallen into disrepair and subsequently knocked down. This improvement in the landscape had beneficial effects on wildlife and provided the natural home for insects that are useful at the other end of the food chain.
 
Reusing existing materials is part of a frugal approach to do more with less. The new building has a simple steel structure tailor-made near the site. The walls are built of local bricks covered with lime plastering mixed with red sand occurring naturally in the area. Roof insulation is made of Vietnamese rice husk mixed with diatomaceous earth, which helps protect against insects.
 
Formed from hard materials including silica and lignin, rice husk is humidity resistant, which makes it a suitable building material for Tropical climate. Plus, it’s inexpensive and biodegradable. The doors and windows are crafted of solid wood indigenous to Vietnam combined with woven bamboo paneling. Both are easily obtained and able to build on a budget. They are water repellent and serve as engine that drives natural ventilation. 
 
 

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To save water, dry toilet systems are used. The toilet seat is made of OSB, a type of engineered wood, with a stainless steel toilet tank underneath and a lid designed for easy operation. Without using water in the toilet systems, waste matter can be added to soil to help build and improve the upper layer of earth in which plants grow. The sink or washbasin is controlled by a push button to teach kids about the importance of water conservation.
 
Handrails and pergolas are made of Melaleuca wood indigenous to southern Vietnam. It stands up extremely well to water. Solar powered water heaters are installed on the roof facing south where sunlight exposure is the highest. The surrounding landscape showcases the gorgeous range of native perennials that have evolved naturally in the region. They provide excellent shade for the building and require very low maintenance. All things considered, it’s a creative design that values frugality and simplicity emblematic of the Tropical countryside.

Hippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitory; A Place to Reconnect with NatureHippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitory; A Place to Reconnect with NatureHippo Farm Bioclimatic Dormitory; A Place to Reconnect with Nature

Design: T3 ARCHITECTS | http://www.t3architects.com
Lead Architects: Charles GALLAVARDIN, Tereza GALLAVARDIN and Rafael LIRA
Design Team: Ta Quang Hai (Architect) and Huy NGUYEN (Interior Designer)
Contractor: Harmonie
Story: T3 ARCHITECTS / Living ASEAN
Photo: Herve GOUBAND (ALISA Production) | http://alisa-production.com

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