The project idea was to bring the core of a distant and unknown land with different cultures, customs and religions and shape it into a design to achieve a friendly space, with architectural forms and proportions to generate intense sensory emotions in the audience.
LAH! excites the visitor who is surprised to find a venue without the typical features of a Chinese or a Japanese restaurant. To achieve this aim, we offer an unusual spatial distribution, thought as a continuous fragmentation of the main space, where vertical wood panels hung from the ceiling are opposed to those fastened to the floor and those lent against the walls. These panels recall advertisements based on old images of Asian cities where the apparent disorder generates in our mind the perception of a harmonious space through the use of a fluid architectural language with a strong personality.
Beyond all doubt, these segmentations assure a pleasant experience in a comfortable environment composed of intimate spaces, which are both welcoming and stimulating to those using them.
Entering this restaurant, the customer realizes that LAH! is different from the rest!
Ilmiodesign have used South-East Asian writing forms, merging them in the project in an informal way. Their use represents the soul of the restaurant, creating ‘transparency games' in the wood panels, where silhouettes have been carved.
We can find Thai, Cambodian and Jawi words (the latter is the ancient alphabet used in Malaysia and Indonesia) that are distinguishable for their huge aesthetic power.
During the design stage, designers Andrea Spada and Michele Corbani used only those materials that could be found in nature, including recyclable materials to develop a distinct architectural awareness and to be consistent with the project.
The space is enriched by particular decorative elements originated from the interpretation of traditional items. For instance, the lamp in the entrance is composed by typical Asian hats painted in various colours; bells, which are usually found in the Buddhist temple, are located in the entrance to welcome the customers, and benches are inspired by the typical Thai pillows in their forms and colours.
The harmonious combination of decorative elements, which resemble traditional items, and cosmopolitan components, creates a sort of interplay between simplicity and strong personality. This fusion aims at fulfilling the expectations of the costumer, who will remember this place for its uniqueness.
The outcome of all these ideas is a cosmopolitan, authentic, welcoming, informal and natural place, which combines refinement with the oriental culture of the South-East Asia in a huge modern city like Madrid.