Since the first Choui Fong Tea Cafe began operation in 2015, Choui Fong plantation has gained plenty of tourists’ attention and became one of the most famous tourist attractions in Chiang Rai. Due to such an excess of visitors in the first cafe, Choui Fong Tea Cafe 2 was established in order to serve the need.
The second phase is located on the plantation hill near the first cafe. The project consists of a dining area with 250 seats, a large souvenir shop and the exhibition area where staffs demonstrate tea making and the histories are displayed. The significant concern in this project is the universal design because after the first cafe has been operated for years, it is found that family groups with elders are the major clients of the cafe.
The designers proposed the building floor to be in rectangular shape that allows most areas to have the view. Unlike the first cafe that the building was pushed down into the land allowing visitors to get the panoramic view on the top, the Choui Fong Tea Cafe 2 stands on the hill because of its massive usable area and to be aside of the existing factory.
The main concept of the design is to provide visitors with a panoramic plantation view and close to the natural surroundings without inconveniences for elders and disabled people. Thus, the design should support these conditions simultaneously efficiently. To widen the scenery in the slope area, the dining area is split into several steps following the land contour. This allows all customers from every table to have a view with different eye level. Moreover, to prevent the dining area from heavy rain, the extended eaves is added to cover the dining area. Under the eaves, the ramp is provided surrounding the dining area, and this allows the wheelchair to access all platforms.
According to the owner’s requirements to have a large usable area in one storey building, so the floor plane has an enormous size which usually followed with the lack of light within the space. To solve the issue, instead of having huge glass planes with exposed unpleasant joint and structure, the small scattering skylights are used. These skylights were designed to extrude in a cone shape which benefits to diffuse the light sufficiently for the entire dining area as well as provide volume for the tree courtyard underneath. Externally, the skylight forms are covered with stone and arranged harmoniously with the surrounding mountains.
The entrance hallway acts like the wind tunnel that the visitors may face the wind blow as a welcome greeting. During moving through this tunnel, the dim atmosphere is gradually brightened along the way to the dining area. The materials of this recent project are harmonious with the first phase by using pinewood, steel, glass and, additionally, mountain stone. These materials represent Choui Fong’s philosophy of organic plantation.
Mr. Jeravej Hongsakul received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang in 1998 and has been practicing in architectural field since 2000. His design philosophy is to merge the ‘natures’, with the architectural aesthetic by analyzing and prioritizing the different needs and requirements of each project. In which ‘natures’ is defined as ecology surroundings, urban context and also personalities of users. To express this philosophy, IDIN architects- Integrating Design Into Nature, was established in 2004.