In Thailand, the sala is a simple roadside pavilion, a stopover for weary workers to rest. Transposing the idea to Pasadena, California, Saladang Song is a respite from the noise of the street and the relentless activity of the city beyond. In essence, Saladang Song is an urban retreat — a place to dine, a place to reflect.
When Thailand native, Dang Vattanatham, hired Tolkin+Byram and Associates (designer Peter Tolkin and architect John Byram) to design a second building for her popular restaurant, the Pasadena-based designers referred to Dang's cultural and religious values for inspiration. The intersection of these cultural references with modern forms and building methods creates a potent architectural expression. Such a blending of traditional and modern is especially relevant within the multicultural context of the Los Angeles metropolis.
In the spirit of the sala, a dining courtyard is located in the front, thereby establishing a relationship to the street, and inviting passersby. Vertically cantilevered concrete slabs and decorative steel screens create a protective perimeter membrane. These laser cut, metal screens are the most exotic and engaging feature of Saladang Song.
Each screen pattern is an abstraction of a traditional Thai textile and was chosen for its ability to be transformed into positive and negative space. The images are geometric or floral patterns, representations of animals, or agricultural scenes. Their specific placement creates a pleasing rhythm and subtle sense of movement along the perimeter wall. These decorative screens in combination with minimal materials of contemporary architecture, (steel, glass and concrete), create an irresistible environment in which to dine — or simply rest.
Best wishes from Pasadena,