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Tanoon Mai

August 15, 2013

Vie Studio uses bold colour and graphics to produce a lively design for this Thai restaurant in Westfield Chatswood.

Tanoon Mai is a hawker-style restaurant inspired by the integration of urban Thai street food culture and European colonial architecture. Vie Studio experimented with basic architectural elements and familiar domestic fittings such as windows and fences to create the illusion of alfresco dining within a shopping centre.

At the entrance, a modest food cart displaying local produce greets patrons and evokes a street-vending setting common in Thailand. Cobblestone tiles pave the floor in a parody of a tarmac road. Lining the two long walls of the dining hall are panels of windows, which have been made from FSC certified plywood and individually hand-painted in the exuberant colours seen on colonial buildings on the streets of Thailand. These multifunctional windows serve as a display for Thai produce and traditional ornaments while also concealing a waiter station. Hanging from the ceiling is a modern interpretation of the ordinary picket fence. The fence is inverted to push the boundary of perception of a regular ceiling and window.

Thai and western emblems and motifs embodying richness and depth are injected into the graphics, while the intense colour scheme adds energy to the interior. The elegant fabric used on the seat cushions is a reminder to visitors of a country legendary for its exquisite Thai silk and textiles.

Lighting plays a significant role in creating the stylish ambiance in Tanoon Mai. In the centre of the space, Thai lampshades and LEDs highlight the laser-cut ceiling. Specially selected traditional decorative wall lights further enriches the urban street concept.

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