Lamitak laminates play an important role in the design of casual halal Thai eatery Saap Saap Thai’s new outlet at Funan Mall, and we spoke to its designer Tan Wee Meng of U:Phoria Architecture and Design to find out why.
Looks, in addition to taste, have become increasingly crucial to whether a food establishment does well – and it’s not just how the food looks, but also whether customers are attracted by its interiors.
(Photo: U:Phoria Architecture and Design)
Named after a colloquial term which means delicious in northern Thailand, Saap Saap Thai’s latest outlet at Funan Mall uses fun graphics and bright modern interiors to attract young customers.
Saap Saap Thai is a three-year-old brand that already has several outlets in Singapore. For its newest addition in the youth-centric Funan mall, Jack Poon, director of the Coffee & Toast Group of which Saap Saap Thai is part of, tasked designer Wee Meng to create a fun and attractive space that would draw in younger customers. “We are a quick service establishment catering to the young crowd where customers can grab a meal for under $10. As such, I wanted to steer clear of stereotypical Thai design elements such as elephants and lanterns,” he says.
The off-kilter blue-and-white striped tile walls of the establishment help project a funky, trendy vibe for the place. (Photo: U:Phoria Architecture and Design)
Instead, Wee Meng wove threads of traditional Thai elements into the restaurant’s design scheme by interpreting them in a modern, more symbolic way. For example, using matte instead of shiny gold tones, which creates a warm welcoming ambience together with the timber-inspired tile flooring and metal-inspired Mystic Arwen laminate of the tables. Lamitak’s Fresco Blue laminate, a soft baby blue, was chosen by him as a perfect pairing with these toasty hues. Some seats have also been upholstered in leaf green to evoke the colour of the herbs used in Thai cooking. “There might be a lot of chilli used in Thai cooking but there’s no red here,” quips Wee Meng.
Portholes in the kitchen wall provide diners with a peek into the kitchen, and vice-versa.
Wee Meng and Jack both agree that laminates are a perfect choice for use in restaurant design as they are practical for high-traffic areas, durable, and easy to clean. Wee Meng works with Lamitak for our large range of designs, many of which come with matching ABS edging to bridge and protect the laminate seams. “We use laminates and tiles in our restaurants, not paint, as stains are difficult to remove from painted surfaces,” explains Jack.
Adding to the playful vibe of the restaurant is the whimisical artak Hikiri laminate used on the communal table. The base is clad with Lamitak's concrete-inspired Rico Mogollon laminate. (Photo (right): U:Phoria Architecture and Design)
Every inch of space is valuable in a retail mall, and although Wee Meng has had to fit as many tables and chairs as possible in this space of about 1,000sq ft, that does not mean sacrificing his design intent. “Restaurant design is challenging; it’s not a food court where all the tables and chairs are the same. Tables create spatial focus, and I’ve customised various types of seating here to make the space more interesting.” Besides the standard tables, Wee Meng also included a communal table with a V-shape base clad with the concrete-inspired Rico Mogollon laminate right at the front of the open-concept eatery and selected the playful (and very instagrammable) Hikiri laminate from the artäk range for its surface. “Designers also need to think of how to make the food look good on pictures” he says, alluding to how table surfaces also play a role in how good food pictures look. Located right by the self-service ordering kiosks, the table has been a hit with larger groups of diners and customers dropping in for a quick drink.
The vibrant new look for Saap Saap Thai goes hand-in-hand with its new self-ordering cashless system at Funan Mall.
Wee Meng credits Jack for being adventurous with design and letting him have free play in revamping the aesthetics for Saap Saap Thai (this look was first revealed at their Jewel Changi Airport branch). The new bright and modern design scheme goes hand-in-hand with how the company is integrating technology into its processes, with over 90% of orders now placed through the self-ordering kiosks using cashless payments.
For a closer look at the Lamitak laminates featured above, visit the Lamitak Studio at 114 Lavender Street, CT Hub 2 #01-61 Singapore 338729. For more information, contact the studio at 6592-5200 and firstname.lastname@example.org; or drop by during the opening hours below:
Monday to Thursday: 10.30am–6.30pm
Saturday: 10.30am - 4.30pm
Sunday and Public Holidays: 12.30pm – 4.30pm
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