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Without relying on time or place, great ideas can occur whenever and wherever we would never expect, not even when we are about to cut a piece of Croissant apart. The final design of this exceptional stand-alone concrete café project located in Nakhon Ratchasima started from observation and experimentation of the designer team, TOUCH Architect. This project is the third branch of French Kitsch Café, and there were such faded restrictions in the brief from the owner.
Architecture that allows you to recognize the imperfection in aesthetics.
“At this location, the airflow circulation is quite acceptable, but unfortunately, the wind mainly blows from the grimy side. Because three sides of this land are all adjacent to the road, and most of the trees in the area are not quite big enough to give shade, the team decided to create an architecture that can be self-survive without being disturbed by external factors.” Said the lead architect.
French Kitsch Café sits on a rectangular land, surrounded by divided land and restaurants that run their businesses by renting these commercial spaces.
The architect told us, “We started by interpreting the name of the café.” French Kitsch Café has a strong brand identity and is well-known for its unique pink dog sculpture. For the owner, the word ‘French’ in the café name is meaningful in many ways; it started from his love for the French Bulldog breed, then later, he went abroad for a patisseries diploma in France. This personal information becomes a good material for the design team. The lead architect said, “When thinking of the word ‘French,’ the image of European architecture becomes clear, especially for the unique arch element. Moreover, the word ‘Kitsch’ also means ‘imperfect art’ itself.” These stories led to the architectural interpretation that states imperfection in aesthetics.
The inspiration for spatial carving originates from the act of cutting Croissants.
“As it is a space for the public, the way we generate ideas then have to be different from the way we usually design a residential architecture,” said the architect. To attract customers, the architects finally define their design scheme. Instead of building the European church-style arch, they adjust the curves’ degree and make it asymmetric, imitating the curves one can find in a piece of nice Croissant. In addition, the wall texture is also streaky, just like layers of Croissant dough.
Before entering the front entrance, the large pink dog sculpture waits to greet his precious customers with friendliness. The clerestory allows natural light to get through and lighten up the space.
After entering the building, a 12-meter-long counter would be the first eye-catching feature. The lead architect said, “This counter, the display area of Croissants and the brand’s famous patisseries, is the main requirement from the owner.”
“With the existence of this such large counter, we don’t want the space to look too narrow. So, we decided to create quite a wide space,” said the architect.
The lower level seating area is right next to the counter bar zone. From this spot, if users look outside, the rhythm of the awry arch from the inspiration of the Croissants’ curve is the best view they can see. This area has a slow bar separating from the main counter, and a double volume space connects the lower and upper levels. Furthermore, light and shadow generated by the tree’s shade and the unique arch on the upper level are also excellent features people can enjoy when they look up from this point.
This set of diagrams shows linear continuity that changes how users perceive the space as if they are sitting inside a giant Croissant sculpture. Giving an extra experience besides enjoying patisseries and beverages is the primary intention of the architects.
The architects purposely placed another arch at the front entrance to create a surprising perception for the customers as they transferred from outdoors to indoors.
Seats and tables fill The whole area of the upper level. From this angle, the customers can see scooped-out curves, which are not only designed to perform as an awning for the first floor but also to protect the second floor from direct sunlight and rain as well.
The Stand-Alone Concrete Café that Lets You Explore the World Inside a Scaled Croissant.
The whole building is built from cast-in-place concrete, and by using board form, the texture becomes streaky. This construction material and technique will let this piece of architecture maintain its original shape and form long enough to serve users worthwhile. It is possible to state that the artistic quality of this place is one of the critical reasons for attracting new customers to the world of French Kitsch Café.