A large riverside Chinese community in Bangkok’s Samphanthawong district, Talad Noi (literally meaning “small market”) is rich with cultural heritage from the early Rattanakosin period. Its shophouses, shrines, mansions and living culture reflect historical, architectural, economic, social and spiritual values of the neighbourhood.
Today, the heritage of Talad Noi is in slow decay. Working in collaboration with Arsom Silp Institute of the Arts our task was to renovate this historic part of the city while preserving its cultural identity.
Our primary focus was a way-finding system. Naris style typeface was heavily influenced by Chinese calligraphy. It was originally made in the early days of Bangkok and was hand painted onto shops signs, road signs, and buildings. Modernising this typeface was a challenge as we wanted to respect the community and history of the district.
We developed a modular system for the street signage so that it can be easily adapted to the environment. The octagon shape is a symbol of a perfect universe in Chinese culture. As the streets of bangkok are already hectic, we decided to keep the signage simple. Red is an appropriate colour to use as it represents Chinese culture and is very visible. For the pictograms, we adapted each icon to complement the typefeace and signage by cutting the corners of the icons to 45 degrees.