To commemorate an interior magazine’s tenth anniversary in Thailand, JARKEN group of companies created a pop-up project that is part cafe and part installation art, fusing design and artisanship in fun and playful ways, writes Olha Romaniuk.
A unique installation in the heart of Bangkok’s Central World shopping complex, the pop-up cafe for the interior magazine is a creative hybrid between an eatery and an exhibition space, showcasing visual arts and design to its visitors in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. Conceptualised by the design team comprising Sasivimol Sinthawanarong, design principal of JARKEN group of companies, and designer Attapon Wiboonyanon, the 200 square metre cafe seamlessly integrates its 60-seat dining area with niche spaces designed to feel like parts of a home, allowing visitors to explore the colourful and quirky design features at their own pace.
Having worked on various F&B and interior projects in the past, the design team for the project readily admits that the pop-up cafe was their first project of its kind. “What interested us were the creativity and the freedom of design that the client gave us. What challenged us was the idea of creating a space where all arts/decorative works must blend into one single exhibition,” says Sinthawanarong.
As a design solution for the installation, the JARKEN team created a series of spaces under a concept of “Seamless Insertion”, illustrating nine distinct ambiances while connecting one space to the next via a floor plan laid out using a golden section or “phi” ratio. The nine zones, Pattern Play, Art Effects, The New Tradition, Modern Art, Pretty in Pink, My Favorite Icon, Fantastic Classic, Jungle Fever and Library, intermix vintage and one-of-a-kind objects, furniture and design fixtures with playful elements inspired by quotes from famous personalities like Robert de Niro and Piet Mondrian.
“The idea was to blend art to and within living space. An art Installation concept seemed to be the solution. “Seamless Insertion” is the design platform that connects art in the similar way to how life flows freely within a well-designed living space,” comments Sinthawanarong.
Facing a demanding deadline of just two weeks to conceptualise and design the pop-up space and two more weeks to work with sub-contractors to bring the project to fruition, Sasivimol Sinthawanarong and Attapon Wiboonyanon also had to work with more than 10 artists that included textile designers, stylists, painters, sculptors and graphic designers to pull together nine completely different looks for the spaces within the pop-up cafe. Additionally, in each of the thematic spaces in the cafe, the design team incorporated vintage furnishings and decorative elements that were featured in various issues of the interior magazine throughout its ten years of existence and were picked out by the magazine’s contributors for the publication’s anniversary.
Sinthawanarong elaborates on the eclectic selection: “The decor elements were set up to help facilitate an ambience and to create unique living spaces. Our intention when designing such displays was to create visually appealing ‘vignettes’ presented in a functional form and appealing colour and texture combinations similar to those that people may choose for their own personal living spaces.”