Saan is a restaurant made to reflect head Chef Lek’s childhood family memory, and the traditional home cooked Northern Thai food. Together we wrote a brief. We sought to deliver a space that is hand crafted to reflect tradition. We sought to make lots of furniture instead of big commercial cabinetry to resemble a domesitc scale. We sought to design every aspect of the restaurant ourselves, from the light fittings to the menu so nothing in the space is left un-touched.

Everything is bespoke in the restaurant, the only thing we bought were the raw bentwood chairs and we finished them ourselves. We worked closely with local craftsmen, both stepped into a unfamiliar territory in order to test and archive the desired finish, for example we tested numerus plaster wall samples for it to subtly crack, bleaching all the timber parts in restaurant, then re-stain the colour back to have them all in different tones, modelling all the light fittings down to millimetres and made in collaboration with a Thai ceramic maker, dying the upholstery fabric ourselves to get the colour right, designed all the sofa and stool then made them together with a local furniture maker.

Walking into the restaurant is like discovering an old photo from an album that has been slightly sun-worn over time, the light clam tones and handcrafted nature makes the space worn but not necessarily historical, imperfect and welcoming. Seeing photographs of a young Lek on the menu, and stepping on the softly undulating floor to the dappled sunlight falling through woven wickerwork, they add up to something unfamiliar and transportative.