Written by Gastronomer Lifestyle
March issue ‘Fine Dining’, 2023
Gastronomer Lifestyle talks to “Tap” Vorathit Kruavanichkit, the chief creative officer of one of Thailand’s most prominent design firms that brought us experiences like Hotel Art Fair.
In 2005, whilst completing his MBA, graphic design graduate Vorathit “Tap” Kruavanichkit, founded his Bangkok-based design consultancy, Farmgroup, offering services ranging from branding and logo design to interior design and physical brand experiences. Nearly two decades later, Tap’s design agency has amassed an impressive list of clients who have wanted to get in on that Farmgroup magic—a number of them from the food and beverage industry. We catch up with the design veteran to talk about his work for F&B businesses and how he measures success.
Could you tell us a little bit about some of your F&B design projects?
Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to work on numerous F&B projects, including Holy Moly, 100 Mahaseth, Gourmet Eats, Aesop’s, Giglio, and Cetera. While most of these projects revolved around branding and brand identity, we also had the privilege to design the interiors for Giglio and Cetera.
What are some criteria you find essential or crucial when designing a restaurant?
Collaboration with the owner or decision-maker is crucial in almost every creative and design project. We see design as a process, rather than just an end result, and having a passionate and collaborative client is every designer’s dream.
Time is also critical to achieving great design.
As a designer, what advice would you give to restaurant or bar owners?
Investing in creating the right atmosphere and vibe is crucial for any food and beverage business. In today’s market, simply having great food and drinks is not always enough to stand out and succeed. Customers are looking for an overall experience that is memorable and unique, and creating the right atmosphere plays a big part in that.
What is your personal relationship with F&B?
My culinary background is primarily as an amateur chef for my family on some nights, though I did work as a teppanyaki chef in a Japanese restaurant in the States during my college years. That, plus all the time I spend in my current work collaborating with F&B businesses to bring their creative concepts to life.
Since Farmgroup is famous for it, could you talk a little bit about Hotel Art Fair: how did it start, how has it grown, and what do you appreciate most about this project?
Hotel Art Fair began with a client who approached us in 2012, seeking to enhance their reputation through an activation campaign. Our collaboration resulted in the creation of an art fair within the hotel rooms, which proved to be an instant hit. People were already inquiring about the next event before the first one had concluded. As a result, we continued to improve and strategically revamp the fair, building on its competitive advantage. Today, it has become one of Thailand’s most outstanding art and lifestyle events, contributing significantly to the local economy by supporting local artists, gallerists, designers, curators, and art students.
When it comes to the Hotel Art Fair, I simply adore everything about it. It has a way of bringing people together through incredible content, atmosphere, community, and cultural offerings.
How do you measure the success of a design project?
Client satisfaction is usually the primary indicator of success, and we strive to achieve it in every project we undertake. However, there are situations where the client may be happy with the results, but we may not feel the same way. In such cases, we consider the project to be less successful from our perspective.
What kinds of design projects do you love personally?
I used to be drawn to working with luxury and boutique brands, but as I’ve grown and gained more experience, I now find that I’m most fulfilled working with clients who are truly passionate about their products or brands, regardless of their size or financial resources. These days, I’m most interested in designing for the masses, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life for all members of our planet, country, city, society, or community. If a project has the potential to make a positive impact, count me in.
As a designer, what advice do you have for our readers in terms of decorating their home or designing their personal space?
Your personal space should reflect your true self. Therefore, designing one should be done for your own enjoyment and not to impress others. Investing in timeless design pieces, particularly chairs, is also a wise choice.
To see more of Farmgroup’s design works, visit farmgroup.co.th.
In the inaugural issue, we examine the question, ‘What even is Fine Dining? ’. Chefs Pichaya ‘Pam’ Utharntharm and Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn, our cover stars, share their insights into Thai gastronomy and how they are reinventing the local culinary landscape.
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