Excerpt: Early BKK by Space + Craft, is a small two-storey building in the corner of the road. The entrance at the corner is a small double space courtyard with a big tree and pet parking area. The cafe is based on a green and sustainable concept being an inspiring showcase of how interesting upcycling and waste materials can finally be transformed into something impactful. The elements like the 600 used beer bottles placed in the metal rings structure facade create stunning effects of lights and shadow in the cafe space.
[Text as submitted by architect] Early BKK started with the strong intention and passion of Kaytita Chaisuksiri, to create a community café with a truly green and sustainable concept in the neighborhood. She found a site location with a strong living community in Bangkok. This community had big families with multiple pets and Early BKK aimed to be one such tangible place that could be accessed by all.
Early BKK thought about introducing recycling and green concepts and lifestyles to the visitors and neighbors and less as a profit-making establishment. With the arising problems with waste management, upcycling the often overlooked materials are included as important parts in the design. With a clear brief, Space + Craft started with the research about upcycling materials and trash around the neighborhood, and found that the most familiar trash that can be recycled or reused are containers, milk cartons and glass bottles and later decided to use them as the main materials throughout the design, from architectural façade to interior finishing and furniture.
Space + Craft collaborated with a local factory to produce a ‘re-board’ made entirely from small cut pieces of used milk cartons. Re-board was employed the most in the interior elements being doors, ceiling, chairs and tables. Overall color scheme was monitored carefully by selecting the waste and cartons of specific warm tones of orange to be able to maintaintain a cohesion with the brick-paved floor.
Beer bottles are another main reused material we used in many different ways in this project. Obviously on the facade, around 600 used beer bottles were placed in the metal rings structure of the building. They created stunning effects of lights and shadow during days into an interior space, as well as telling a good story of Early BKK’s objective from the exterior appearance.
Some used beer bottles are broken down into pieces, and used as the main component of terrazzo counter working top and toilet floor. Some walls are made by bumping bottles into concrete walls, creating interesting wall patterns and texture. We called this “Bottles fossil” since the production and final look is similar to the fossil by leaving traces on the wall. Moreover, we added some small details by using trash such as a galvanized iron oil tank as a basin counter , and used glass bottles as a door knob.
Early BKK is a small 2-storey building in the corner of the road. The entrance at the corner is a small double space courtyard with a big tree and pet parking area, offering a welcoming and friendly vibe. The 1st floor is a main coffee bar including coffee machines and slow bar, with few seats. Retails shelves for refill products, home coffee equipment, pet products and some second-hand clothes are in the back of the coffee bar area. The 2nd floor is all seating area, designed with a large window on both sides for ventilation. This room is designed for multipurpose uses that can be transformed into a workshop room.
The management of the cafe is completely based on a green and sustainable concept. For example, “no straws”, “no plastic cup” , “bringing your mugs get discount”, and waste separation. Solar cells panels were installed on the roof as the main energy source. Early BKK aimed to create less waste and was responsible for whatever carbon footprint we created and encouraged everyone to join this effort.
In the end, Early BKK are an inspiring showcase of how interesting upcycling and waste materials can finally be created. People might come here for a coffee, but will definitely go back with some changes of their mindset about waste and recycle concept. Believing in small intentions can make the world a better place, Early BKK prospected to be a small part of creating some changes in the society.