Spice & Barley at Riverside – Gastro Lounge serving South East Asian Cuisine by Celebrity Chef Sam Leong, paired with exclusive craft beers imported from Belgium. In March 2020, just as the trap door closed on the country, Enter Projects Asia completed the design installation for Spice & Barley at Riverside in Bangkok. Minor International were clear on their brief : to introduce innovation and eco-awareness, giving the new brand a local context – to an International design standard.
Architizer chatted with Patrick Keane from Enter Projects Asia to learn more about this project.
Architizer: Please summarize the project brief and creative vision behind your project.
Patrick Keane: In a very tall 9m high space, Fusing 3D digital technology with traditional arts & crafts, the Enter Projects team sought to incorporate natural renewable rattan. By generating free-flowing liquid geometries, to mimic beer as it’s poured into a glass, the design aesthetic gives a strong nod to Spice & Barleys anchorage as a craft Belgium Beer destination.
What inspired the initial concept for your design?
Working with liquid geometries and crafting this space in rattan was the initial concept. Our work explores a lot of 3D geometry. “Asian fusion” a term is used in cuisine was a buzzword for us and we wanted to embrace the potential in design. We wanted to blend local arts and craft with international contemporary design.
What do you believe is the most unique or ‘standout’ component of the project?
The rattan columns and undulating ceiling. This device conceals all of the mechanics, beer lines air conditioning pipes and is the main feature of the space, so form follows function.
What was the greatest design challenge you faced during the project, and how did you navigate it?
We could not find a team to build this to our specifications to we had to form our own team. Now this team is called “Project Rattan and we deploys arts and crafts artisans from 5 generations with a host of interesting skills learnt form their villages and their ancestors.
How did the context of your project — environmental, social or cultural — influence your design?
The environmental impact of construction and material waste is catastrophic to the environment especially the use of plastics. We sought sustainable materials and local trades to do this project while revitalizing the rattan industry which is under severe threat. Through this project we were able to reopen 3 local factories. Provenance and going back to the source of manufacture is important to us. This has been left behind in modern construction. Now with a post covid society, people have more of an interest in origins of their projects.
What drove the selection of materials used in the project?
Rattan is the most sustainable material worldwide being a renewable reed and this is the main feature of the space. We wanted to make this project an example of local sustainable material use where possible. Rattan has never been used at this scale and we extensively researched the culture of weaving and basketry in South east Asia to arrive at innovative structural solutions.
What is your favorite detail in the project and why?
It has to be the woven rattan elements. They can be seen from miles away when lit at night. This project is now a feature on the skyline and a destination for the riverside eating and dining culture which is expanding along the river.
How important was sustainability as a design criteria as you worked on this project?
It was 100 percent, everything and the backbone to the project. We run a very grassroots sustainable business . Sustainable materials , local Arts and crafts skill and low waste construction fabrication. We dovetail 3d technology with international design and our projects are embracing these principles in all locations worldwide.
In what ways did you collaborate with others, and how did that add value to the project?
We have an initiative called “Project Rattan.” This was fostered in the recent lockdown and through this we have access to artisans from all over Thailand to help us realize our designs. We now work with them on every project from an airport skylounge in the US, to a private art museum in the North of Chiangmai
How have your clients responded to the finished project?
Curiosity. I think they are amazed that something like this can be built at this scale. Rattan and weaving is usually associated with furnishings and baskets not 30 ft interiors . This is where the technology and structure comes in.We blending tactility and technology. This project has generated multiple enquires and new business from existing clients and all of them are impressed and inspired to take the sustainability cause in high design seriously.
What key lesson did you learn in the process of conceiving the project?
Blending ours skills as international designers. designers with local arts an crafts communities. The combination has led to unique innovative structural solutions and a new set of aesthetics ensuring continued relevance in a world that is now aware of climate and ecological preservation
How do you believe this project represents you or your firm as a whole?
The project has helped to set us apart globally. It sends a strong message on eco sustainable initiatives by blending local arts and crafts with cutting edge designs. In addition to this key aspect, the work is innovative structurally and has become a launchpad for other adventurous designs. the research and development has set the form up for larger very ambitious projects.
Credits / Team Members
Patrick Keane , Tomas Guevara, Azul Paklain, Sergio Lissone, Wells Chen, Juliette Eve, and all of the rattan workers who are the true craftsmen.
CLIENT: Minor International ARCHITECTS: Enter Projects Asia CONSTRUCTION & INSTALLATION: Project Rattan PHOTOGRAPHY: William Barrington-Binns at https://www.wbbandco.com.
Project rattan, 3D Interiors, Pressman solutions
For more on Spice & Barley, please visit the in-depth project page on Architizer.