May 2010: For the design of our food retail project, we commissioned people living in the nearby Klong Toey slum to build a wooden installation for Tessa Cafe, a gourmet food shop in the upscale K-Village shopping complex in Bangkok.
Searching for alternatives to standard techniques for interior fit-outs and construction, we approached a community of carpenters working near the shopping mall. These carpenters work on squatted land along two sides of an active railway track. They make their living producing various small items from wood salvaged from the nearby Klong Toey port.
We sought their input and consultation, which resulted in the design of a simple modular box made from wooden cargo pallets. Over 200 “Klong Toey Boxes” were then fabricated and installed within the modest space of the shop. The boxes simultaneously serve as product displays, seating, lighting fixtures and signage.
In addition to implementing the final outcomes, we were interested in demonstrating not only the existing condition of migrant and temporary labor practices but possibilities on how they can influence design, materials and construction in more meaningful ways.
This project was recently published by Inhabitat.
Project Summary:Name: Tessa Cafe
Function: Cafe and food shop
Scope: Interior Design
Building area: 36 square meters
Project team: Peerwin Sawattanawanit, Vichayuth Meenaphant, Graham Brindle, Arnon Tungthavorn, Jariyawadee Lekawatana, Luke Yeung
Location: K Village, Sukhumvit 26, Bangkok, Thailand