by Jerry ElengicalJan 09, 2023
During the Chiangmai Design Week 2019, an artistic collaboration marked the beginning of an inspiring narrative in architectural innovation. This is the story of the Moonler showroom, a creation by Thailand-based architectural studio Sher Maker, in collaboration with Moonler Chamchuri Furniture Factory, nestled in Doi Saket, Chiangmai, Thailand. The showroom not only echoes the intrinsic beauty of the Chamchuri wood (rain tree wood) but also translates the essence of craftsmanship into a tangible experience. STIR delves into this interesting fusion of Thai architecture and artisanship, where every detail speaks of a harmonious synergy between design and nature.
“Moonler set their brand direction so strong and they chose the tough way to grow in this local area, we respect this and when we got the opportunity to collaborate together, we wanted to do less to make a statement and more to draw the essence of the material that the factory spent all their resources to research and develop. We did not want our architecture to disturb the real meaning of material,” says Patcharada Inplang, lead architect at Sher maker, to STIR.
The significance of Chamchuri wood cannot be understated, especially in the context of the northern Thai landscape, which is renowned for nurturing highly skilled wood artisans. Moonler, with its specialised expertise in Chamchuri wood design and production, undertook the mission to redefine this often underestimated material. Chamchuri is a versatile wood celebrated for its durability and distinct grain. It interacts with steel and glass, crafting an ambiance that celebrates contrasts, which is a true reflection of Moonler’s commitment to blending tradition and innovation.
The architecture of the showroom was conceived with a dual purpose by the lead architects at Sher Maker. Firstly, it harmoniously melds with the rural surroundings. A simple yet elegant gabled roof design extends the showroom into an entrance court, seamlessly connecting with the terraced rice fields, a poignant reminder of the roots from which Moonler’s artistry springs. The entrance court, akin to a pavilion, channels the spirit of the space.
The architects boldly challenge the notion that every creation necessitates a source of inspiration asserting that the essence of design can be rooted in the purity of purpose. Their approach is refreshingly uncomplicated; beneath the sheltering canopy of an existing Chamchuri tree, a defined space was established.
The showroom’s interiors serve as a backdrop to the Chamchuri wood furniture and became an eloquent expression of traditional architecture and craftsmanship. The choice to use wooden columns and beams as the primary spatial dividers spoke to the simplicity and clarity of the design. The same elements that defined the space also bore witness to the artisans’ skill, mirroring their furniture-making techniques on a larger scale. Every intricate weave speaks of the craftsmanship’s technique and the wood’s inherent character. A symphony of finishing and joinery techniques borrowed from Moonler’s profound philosophy; a tribute paid in the form of silence and resonance.
“We wanted to create an unembellished and open space, a canvas free from any disruption to the furniture pieces on display. The true embodiment of craftsmanship lies within one singular element—the wooden column and beam positioned at the heart of the space. Here, we entrusted the artisans to infuse their mastery, drawing from their inherent familiarity with this material, much like the factory. We firmly believe that some designs flourish when driven solely by purpose and materiality,” says the architects on their design approach to STIR.
The showroom isn’t an imposing structure; it’s a humble coexistence with the surrounding natural landscape. The gable roof design speaks the language of the rural environment, resonating with the quiet simplicity of its setting. The studio’s disapproval of creating an obtrusive structure ensured that the space seamlessly merged with the daily lives of the local people. The designers believe in an architecture that speaks softly but profoundly, respecting the community it serves.
The strategic placement of the showroom’s windows frames breathtaking views of the emerald rice fields, lush forests, and distant mountains. These carefully curated vistas serve not only as a visual delight but also as a reminder of the interconnectedness between built environments and the land they inhabit. Recognising that the showroom will serve as a place of daily work and activity for the local community, the architects strive for humility and integration. Their intention was to ensure that the architectural presence blends into the rhythms of everyday life, softly within the tranquil atmosphere.
Within a wooden furniture showroom, where the primary function is to showcase pieces, the challenge lies in enhancing the space without overpowering the main attractions. The architects at Sher Maker recognised that for even a seemingly empty space, a subtle yet defining presence was required. Thus, the choice to utilise columns and beams to delineate areas proved inventive. Not only do these linear elements fulfill the need for spatial definition, but they also serve as a canvas for the narrative of Chamchuri wood itself.
The Moonler showroom stands as a bridge between simplicity and craftsmanship, with its unassuming exterior and thoughtful interior, the space pays homage to the Chamchuri tree’s natural beauty and the skill of local artisans. As it echoes the past while embracing the future, the showroom becomes a testament to the power of collaboration, the celebration of simplicity and the beauty that emerges when architecture, design and nature unite.
Company name: Sher Maker
Location: Doi saket,Chiangmai, Thailand
Building Type: Showroom
Completion Year: 2022
Area: 245 sq.m.
Lead Architect: Patcharada Inplang,
Design consultant: Ratthee Phaisanchotsiri
Structure Engineer: Thunyawat Chaichompoo
Builder Team: Seksan Saksri
Wooden Prefabrication: Kampanat Inprom