Kaeng Street Market is a vivid, energetic, and colorful twist on the traditional Thai restaurant. Inspired by the bustling streets and food carts of Thailand, I wanted to design a space and dining experience that transports the guest to a world of fresh flavors. The secret to Thai food is a balance of five flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy. Some Thai dishes have a careful blend of all these tantalizing tastes. Shying away from white linen, gold statues and calming Buddhist chants I decided to flip this food venue upside down and bring the colors, sounds, and visuals of the sidewalks inside this New York brick and mortar.
Anthony Bourdain’s view on eating a street side meal encapsulates the Kaeng aesthetic, “this is the way so many great meals in my life have been enjoyed: sitting in the street, eating something out of a bowl that I’m not exactly sure what it is, scooters going by. It’s so delicious, I feel like an animal.” Catering to a street-smart audience, ages 26 to 41, the graphics needed to convey the authentic excitement of Thai street markets. To inject this feeling into the branding system, I created a hand painted logotype inspired by street vendor signs and splashed a striking color palette throughout the space and supporting stationery. I merged traditional Thai Yak Sant tattoo designs with playful Thai comic imagery to create patterns for the packaging and swag. Scans of Thai newspapers were used to create the placemats. Every element throughout the restaurant was chosen to give a sense of energetic street fare.