Kin Kao is a 25-seat restaurant that chef Tang Phoonchai, his wife, Min, and Terrence Feng opened in Vancouver, British Columbia. They enlisted architects David and Susan Scott of local firm Scott and Scott Architects to build out a 750-square-foot space located at near an area where commercial, industrial, and residential zones meet. Scott and Scott created a minimalist space using affordable finishes—and a vivid wash of blue. "As with the menu of Thai street and homestyle dishes, the space celebrates ordinary materials and simple details which are light hearted and familiar," David says.
"There was a lot of discussion regarding mixing the comfort and street food stalls and a space that families and workers in the area would feel comfortable," David says. "It wasn't intended to be a direct reference to a food stall but the painted surfaces and galvanized wall panels are rooted in the same pragmatics of economy."
Color is deployed to grand effect in the space. The achieve the cerulean hue, the architects specified commercial acrylic paint and developed a hand-rubbing technique to control the opacity. "We're interested in common materials and creating space which is familiar and develops character and life with age," David says. "We look forward to the blue wash and soaped surfaces wearing in and the painted floor being reapplied and thickened."
The tables are soaped beech wood and the chairs are by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Hay, which are available in the Dwell Store. "We keep returning to their chairs—we have a number of the Steelwood chairs in our house and studio—for the design, feel, durability and in this case the economy if the Hay line," David says. "In this case the chairs led the material selection for lyed and soaped beech to be used for the other surfaces that people touch and the lights which we made." The pendant above the counter is crafted from a dowel.
Kin Kao is located at 903 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, Canada.
Chef Tang Phoonchai formerly lived in Bangkok and the restaurant's menu is inspired by homestyle and streetstyle Thai recipes.
While the space veers minimalist, the dinnerware features traditional flourishes.
The seating in the restaurant was designed to be flexible: the tables can be used for lunch and dinner seatings or as a long communal setting.