‘There are custom traditional Thai folk style murals throughout the restaurant’, Einstein & Associates

‘There are custom traditional Thai folk style murals throughout the restaurant’, Einstein & Associates

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Nam Thai Kitchen, Pik Avenue – Jakarta – Indonesia, Einstein & Associates

Jakarta is no stranger to Thai Cuisines. There are plenty of Thai Restaurants on every corner of this metropolitan city. Not counting the quality of the food, there are typical similarities between these restaurants. We can see similar designs; with a lot of statues, paintings and accessories. These stereotypes of a Thai Restaurant push the designer to dig deeper, exploring hidden potentials of a restaurant from a country that is so rich in culture and values, amounting to hopefully more than just mere statues and paintings.

Nam Thai Kitchen, Pik Avenue – Jakarta – Indonesia, Einstein & Associates

Nam Thai Kitchen, Pik Avenue – Jakarta – Indonesia, Einstein & Associates
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Nam Thai Kitchen, Pik Avenue – Jakarta – Indonesia, Einstein & Associates
photographs: Einstein & Associates


The concept of the design is the reinterpretation of a traditional house in Thailand, to combine contrasting aspects to complement each other.The name of the restaurant is “Nam”, meaning “Water” in Thai; while the logo is a simplified shape of an orchid, a famous flower in Thailand that symbolizes timelessness and luxury. The design revolves around Thailand; whether it is the weather that is tropical, the atmosphere, the shapes, the colour purple from the orchid that represent respect, power and loyalty or the style of the finishing materials that is mostly used in tropical style design. The location is in a new shopping mall in North Jakarta that is designed to have lots of outdoor space and windows with a lot of curves. This location inspires the designer design the place to be very open, just like a porch. 

The whole restaurant acts as one big porch of a new interpretation of a Thai traditional house; where people can hang around, enjoying the outside view, the tropical atmosphere and overseeing the garden. People can enter from the front or the back of the restaurant from the outside with windows surrounding it to give the illusion of an open space. Just as people are entering the space, whether it is the front or the back; they are welcomed by the lion statues and can instantly notice the bar, accented with shapes of Thai houses symbolizing the façade of a Thai traditional house that the porch belongs to. The other elements that people immediately notice after entering is the modern geometrical shape of the ceiling; mimicking the shape of an umbrella, protecting people below from the heat or rain, just like a porch. People can also feel the transition of the space, from the indoor to the outdoor at the back of the restaurant where there is a square with four benches at each side of the square. There is a stunning crystal chandelier resembling a waterfall over the center of the square as another focal point and symbol of water, the meaning behind the name of the restaurant. While the indoor area of the restaurant simulates the porch; the outdoor area simulates the garden and the transition area connects the two, combining it so that people can adjust immediately between the two.

The indoor area or the porch is filled with casual and modern furniture with brass accent at the edge of the tables. The message of the design tries to convey the atmosphere of a very laid back porch, with plants at the corners of the space to still connect with the outdoor and subtle Thai elements infused in little details, like the custom outdoor lights in the shape of Thai traditional house, the embroidered pillows with the orchid logo; the tropical flowers. There are also custom traditional Thai folk style murals throughout the restaurant, with a particular style that pictures contrasting Thai Traditional society and the today’s Thai public society as a story or a journey. Although there are two areas divided by doors, the outdoor area is not meant as a separate area. It is designed to still feel connected to the indoor area, just like a porch and the garden in front of it. The doors and windows merely act as an opening. The big columns of the existing condition from the location are hidden as they are covered with wood and traditional Thai patterns.

The finishing materials used in the design are rich in color. Purple textured paint in the shape of Thai traditional roof is used to portray the elegance and calmness of the porch, terracotta, cement tiles, herringbone patterned basalt stone and rustic recycled wood are used all throughout the restaurant with brass accent as the details. The interaction of the colors has a purpose to draw people in, adding the fact that the space is very open and can be seen from around it with pivoting partition and windows, resulting in maximized exposure to people who walks by. As the space is very open, there are a lot of natural light during the day and as the sun goes down. The restaurant lights up so beautifully, enticing people to come in.

Using the concept that the restaurant is a modern porch of a Thai traditional house, the designer uses a lot of contrasting details to invent a new style, to picture the modern while still embracing the traditional aspect of it all. The design explore the traditional aspect of Thailand then incorporating it into the design in a modern way. There are several contrasting elements in Nam, like the traditional house shape at the bar combined with mosaic and brass accents to not look too outdated, the folk style story in the form of murals, the custom outdoor light in the shape of traditional houses, the Thai’s temple brass bells repurposed as hanging lights and the use of recycled wood to be more sensitive to the awareness of our today’s environment. In conclusion, the designer hopes that this design can give a new interpretation of a Thai restaurant, not too modern that the beautiful element of Thailand disappear, and too traditional that it is only full with accessories. In this case, maybe it’s best to combine the best of both aspects.

fact sheet

  • project : Nam Thai Kitchen
  • location : Pik Avenue – Jakarta – Indonesia
  • design firm : Einstein & Associates
  • designer : Leo Einstein Franciscus
  • area : 450-sq.m
  • dt of completion : November 2016
  • photographs: Einstein & Associates