Vivarium Restaurant

Vivarium, a restaurant designed by a young Thai design agency, Hypothesis, won this year’s INSIDE award in the bars and restaurants category. Announced at the INSIDE World Festival of Interiors in Singapore, the converted industrial warehouse in Bangkok demonstrates the firm’s novel technique of adaptive reuse as a strategy to preserve the project’s contextual history, to create dialectics between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’, and to minimize the project’s construction cost.

Old vs. New

In order to highlight the former industrial characteristics of the warehouse, the majority of the existing structure was kept unchanged but delineated from the new addition through the differentiation of finishing colors – the old parts were kept in their original white color whereas the new additions were painted with red rust protection primer – accentuating the contrast between the old and the new. To minimize the renovation budget, Hypothesis employed found objects from around the site – iron doors, steel pipes, dead branches, and tree roots – as decorative interior elements, as well as using scaffolding structures, inspired by the ones previously existed on the site, as decorative shelves within the restaurant space.

Vivarium as a Concept

With the aim to inject life and energy into the warehouse for the new restaurant program, the design team thought of a terrarium as a concept for the interior. A lush green-scape of hanging plants populates the upper volume of the double height space. Placed around the restaurant are ceramic follies designed by Yarnnakarn Art and Craft Studio, adding to the intricacy and lushness of the interior landscape – counterbalancing the rustic industrial setting.  The design theme was then reflected in the name of the restaurant, Vivarium – a container of life.

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