Ethai Cafe / Quarta & Armando

Ethai Cafe / Quarta & Armando, © Dirk Weiblen
  • Curated by 韩双羽 – HAN Shuangyu



  • Design Team:Gianmaria Quarta, Michele Armando, Shiyuan Tang, Carlin Sun
  • The Client:Shanghai Ethai Restaurant Ltd
  • City:Shanghai
  • Country:China


© Dirk Weiblen

Recommended Products

Text description provided by the architects. Tucked away in the busy commercial basement of Shanghai’s Kerry Center, Ethai Café offers a fresh take on traditional Thai cuisine, focusing on simple light dishes created from healthy ingredients. The earthy color and material palette is based on gradients reminiscent of central Thailand’s archaeological sites and lands, and its nooks and sitting areas appear to have been carved out of the rammed earth that envelops the façade.

watercolor. Image Courtesy of Quarta & Armando

Given the secluded and constrained nature of the site, we imagined a space that could provide a peaceful and transient retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. In order to achieve this, the project follows the directional concept of an enveloping geometry. Consequently, the facade is willingly designed give a slight cut to the space from the public area, through a lowered ceiling and a low wall, unfolding like a ribbon from within the restaurant and draping the exterior. An opening of the low wall, which reveals a banquette on the inside, creates an inviting entrance, naturally guiding customers into the space. These volumes are slightly offset from the site boundaries, enforcing this feeling of “space within space”.

layout. Image Courtesy of Quarta & Armando
© Dirk Weiblen

The layout gives customers a certain level of privacy, while still feeling somewhat connected to the rest of the public space. Overlooking the customers stands a dome-shaped ceiling, formed by a grid of wooden beams, in which conceals the space’s lighting. This structure defines a vaulted space that feels private yet convivial, like a contemporary interpretation of the primordial hut.

© Dirk Weiblen

The material selection further enhances this idea of quiet sobriety by deploying a palette rich in earthy tones and alternating rough and smooth textures. Welcomed by the rammed earth gradient at the entrance, the customer then notes with interest the coarse terrazzo flooring that guides them into the space. Lifting further their eye-level, they will discover a rich texture on the vertical surfaces, covered by white arched tiles. Simultaneously, the environment feels natural from the wooden surfaces on the furniture and the grid ceiling, as well as the vegetation. Finally, pieces of artwork constitute different focal points of the restaurant, bringing a traditional Thai touch and finalizing the integrality of Ethai Café.Bookmark

The Continuous Wood Ceilings Trend: Warmth and Texture Indoors and Outdoors

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The Continuous Wood Ceilings Trend: Warmth and Texture Indoors and Outdoors, Single Family Home / Indievisual AG. Image Courtesy of Prodema

Many practitioners and theorists of modern architecture favored large open plans, looming glass windows, and through both of these means, an unencumbered connection to nature. To do so, many iconic modernist buildings would use cantilevered roofs extending over glass curtainwalls, including Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #22. In the years since this trend was popularized, however, a seemingly niche yet cumbersome problem would present itself: the problem of continuous wood ceilings.

Wooden ceilings are an obvious choice for aesthetic reasons: they provide warmth and texture to most environments, nurturing a rustic, homely atmosphere that can bring comfort to any space. Especially in designs that aim to reconnect with nature, a wooden ceiling combined with glass windows can feel incredibly natural, extending the beauty of the outdoors into an interior, protected space. Yet in designs with cantilevered roofs, the wooden roofing for the interior needs to be suitable for the exterior as well if it extends past the building’s walls and into the underside of the hanging canopies.

Multi-Family Housing / Indievisual AG. Image Courtesy of Prodema

As a solution to this issue, the wood covering company Prodema has designed a new range of wood panels called Soffit Panels. Manufactured to be installed on exterior surfaces, particularly on balconies, soffits, or lower canopies, they can also be applied without problems indoors. Facilitating a new trend of continuous wood ceilings, these simultaneously durable and aesthetic panels allow architects to design for greater continuity in indoor and outdoor spaces, blurring the boundary between nature and shelter even further.

The benefits of the Soffit range are many, including easy installation, no maintenance, and, of course, heightened visual appeal. Made from real wood, the Prodema Soffit is not only naturally textured and toned, but it is more durable than traditional soffits, which typically soften and peel if not maintained properly.

Below, we consider three case studies that use the Prodema Soffit panel in beautiful and unique ways.

Single Family Home / Indievisual AG

This single-family residential design could be taken out of a modernist design handbook, with its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, cantilevered flat roof, open-plan interior, and remote location; in fact, it was directly inspired by Philip Johnson’s famous Glass House. The house uses Prodema’s Grey Eucalyptus Soffit panels on the underside of its roof, which cantilevers past the glass windows and hangs over the sides of the walls. The wood extends uninterrupted throughout both interior ceiling and exterior canopy, reaching into the surrounding forest and connecting the home to its immediate natural environment.

Single Family Home / Indievisual AG. Image Courtesy of Prodema
Single Family Home / Indievisual AG
Single Family Home / Indievisual AG

Multi-Family Housing / Indievisual AG

This multi-family housing structure continues the typology of floor-to-ceiling glass windows and cantilevered roofs, yet it does so across multiple floors accommodating multiple groups of residents. Again, the Soffit panels—this time in the White American Oak finish—continue across both interior and exterior, on the underside of the above balconies. The highly textured finish of the panels complements the building’s overall simplicity in design.

Multi-Family Housing / Indievisual AG. Image Courtesy of Prodema
Multi-Family Housing / Indievisual AG
Multi-Family Housing / Indievisual AG

Cultural Centre / Indievisual AG

This cultural building draws design inspiration from the Bauhaus Collection in Alvaro Siza’s Chinese Museum of Design. Creating an immense, geometric stone mass in light, warm colors, the center uses Prodema’s Grey Ayous wood soffit to clad the ceiling of an outdoor covered public square.

Cultural Centre / Indievisual AG. Image Courtesy of Prodema
Cultural Centre / Indievisual AG
Cultural Centre / Indievisual AG

Read more on Prodema’s Soffit panel series here.

Cooling Interiors Will be the Architectural Challenge of the Future

Cooling Interiors Will be the Architectural Challenge of the Future, GB House / Renato D’Ettorre Architects. Image © Justin Alexander

According to the UN, more than 7000 extreme weather events have been recorded since 2000. Just this year, wildfires raged across Australia and the west coast of the U.S.; Siberia charted 

record high temperatures, reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit before Dallas or Houston; and globally, this September was the world’s hottest September on record. As the effects of the climate crisis manifest in these increasingly dire ways, it is the prerogative of the building industry – currently responsible for 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions – to do its part by committing to genuine and sweeping change in its approach to sustainability.

One of the most challenging aspects of this change will be to meet mounting cooling demands in an eco-friendly way. Cooling is innately more difficult than heating: any form of energy can become heat, and our bodies and machines naturally generate heat even in the absence of active heating systems. Cooling does not benefit equally from spontaneous generation, making it often more difficult, more costly, or less efficient to implement. Global warming and its very tangible heating effects only exacerbate this reality, intensifying an already accelerating demand for artificial cooling systems. As it stands, many of these systems require large amounts of electricity and rely heavily on fossil fuels to function. The buildings sector must find ways to meet mounting demand for cooling that simultaneously elides these unsustainable effects.

Haus Flora / Alexis Dornier. Image © KIE

Thankfully, many solutions already exist. Architects and engineers must contribute to the effort by using and adapting them to new and existing builds. Below, we enumerate several of these strategies, solutions, and products that help cool architectural interiors in eco-friendly ways.

Roughly, cooling solutions can be divided into two categories: passive and active. Passive cooling refers to strategies that regulate heat gain and dissipation with little or no energy consumption. These strategies are typically facilitated through natural environmental effects and passive architectural designs rather than active mechanical systems. Within passive cooling, architects can use preventive techniques or heat dissipation techniques: the former prevents heat gain through site and building design or insulation; the latter dissipates heat once it has already accumulated, whether through ventilation, evaporative cooling, or other similar options. ArchDaily has covered some of these strategies in the past, focusing specifically on materials conducive to passive cooling and natural ventilation techniques such as cross ventilation.

Ternion Villas / Studio Toggle. Image © Gijo Paul George
Cantilevered House / eneseis Arquitectura. Image © David Frutos

To effectively design a passive house, designers must consider a complex matrix of interrelated conditions, ranging from orientation to window placement to external shading. The Darmstadt Kranichstein Passive House is both a useful example and case study for passive cooling systems at work. In an analysis by Passipedia, “The Passive House Resource,” each of the aforementioned passive cooling conditions and their effects on average room temperature are investigated in meticulous detail. Simply by tilting windows, and thereby facilitating air flow, an “excellent indoor climate prevails,” and may even be more successful at regulating temperatures than mechanical ventilation systems – depending on the context. Likewise, balconies or roof overhangs can decrease the frequency of overheating events significantly. As Passipedia itself acknowledges, each of these valuations depends heavily on climate, time of year, and the details of each architectural system or element: for example, overhangs that are too large can increase annual heating demand significantly, even as they decrease the likelihood of overheating in summer. Orientation epitomizes this issue of context: in the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, a northern orientation decreases overheating frequencies; at other times of the year, however, it increases heating demand; the opposite is roughly true in the Southern Hemisphere. North of the equator, a southern orientation is generally considered ideal, but specific climates and locations might affect this axiom drastically. The case study recognizes some of these limitations, and remains a generally useful manual for passive cooling strategies in northern regions.

Nature & Environment Learning Centre / Bureau SLA . Image © Filip Dujardin
Transformation The Hinge / Niels Olivier Architect. Image © Arne Olivier Fotografie

To help synthesize these disparate considerations, the Isover Multi-Comfort House delineates a series of useful design principles. For cooling specifically, its brochure on hot climates enumerates five main passive strategies: 1) compact building design and favorable orientation; 2) thermal insulation and an airtight envelope; 3) energy efficient windows combining Solar control Glass and/or outside shading; 4) ventilation systems with heat recovery, and 5) natural night ventilation. It also mentions that internal heat loads like domestic appliances, heating systems, domestic water systems, air-handling units, and more all need proper thermal insulation to keep cool as well. The brochure offers specific guidelines addressing these requirements that provide precise tools of measurement: exterior insulation should achieve an average U-value of 0.15-0.45 W/(m^2K); windows should have a solar heat-gain coefficient below 40%; etcetera. The suggested strategies are also often highly specific, including a meticulous explication of how to avoid thermal bridges through drawings and structural interventions. To access the rest of these guidelines, and to read the referenced guidelines in more detail, designers should consult the manual itself.

Fitted House / Bahtera Associates. Image © Pandji Adidjojo
Casa Hilo / Zeller & Moye. Image © Jaime Navarro

Several products on the market fulfill these criteria. One example is Saint-Gobain’s COOL-LITE SKN, a type of solar control glass that simultaneously provides high daylight transmission and good energy performance while maintaining a ‘neutral’ aesthetic. COOL-LITE SKN 183 (II) in particular provides the highest daylight income without compromising energy performance, offering 75% light transmission with thermal insulation as well as high transparency and low reflection.

La Leroteca / Lacaja Arquitectos. Image © Rodrigo Davila

Notably, architects can also combine passive cooling solutions with active mechanical systems, using the latter as a supplement to the former as needed and thereby still reducing energy use and emissions. When these mechanical systems are themselves environmentally conscious, the benefits increase further. Recently, this past April, the thermoelectric company Phononic released its new cooling platform Oacis, a semiconductor technology that transfers thermal energy without the use of environmentally harmful refrigerants (the current standard in HVAC systems). Though the product is still new, it has the potential to transform active cooling and displace the norm of unsustainable air conditioning.

Suhrkamp Ensemble Offices / Bundschuh Architekten. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Another notable product is Climaver, an insulated air-conditioning duct that provides fresh air without sacrificing thermal protection or noise control. Using glasswool to reduce thermal losses along the ducts, and designed to minimize air leakage, this product is advocated for in the Isover Multi-Comfort House manual as optimizing ventilation and air-conditioning as sustainably as possible.

House Dezoito / Casa100 Arquitetura. Image © Maira Acayaba

As global temperatures continue to rise and extreme weather events highlight the escalating problem of overheating, passive and environmentally-conscious active cooling have the potential to both accommodate for these negative effects and reduce the conditions that gave rise to them. This dual necessity renders the reformation of industry cooling standards one of the most daunting challenges for architects today. With these strategies, solutions, and products, designers might begin to tackle these issues, paving the way for widespread industry reform in how we approach architectural cooling of the future.

MVRDV-designed lingerie store in Paris uses transparent glass floor for a more “revealing” design approach

Photos by Ossip van Duivenbode.

MVRDV has completed a new flagship store in Paris for French lingerie brand Etam, renovating a 19th-century Haussmann building by removing its internal barriers and adding a glass floor to allow light to fill the interior.

The project sits at a corner site on Boulevard Haussmann, in one of the prime shopping locations in Paris near the Opera Garnier. MVRDV cut back the exterior of the building to highlight its classical appearance whilst allowing natural light to enter the store at both ends.

This “stripped down” approach moves to the interior, where the design reveals the original stone structure through the removal of interior walls and part of the mezzanine floor above. At ground level, a glass floor stretches as one of the project’s defining features. It allows light to enter the basement level and connects visitors at the ground level to the level below and vice versa.

The floor is treated with a special film that makes it transparent when viewed at an angle, but clouded when viewed directly above or below, MVRDV said in a statement. This is intended to provide privacy and prevent vertigo for those standing on the floor.

Mezzanine level
Ground level
Basement level

“‘Unravelling beauty’ is almost a generic and eternal value that can be learned somehow from the world of lingerie. The revealing – but directional – glassification of the store allows for a delicate balance between transparency and privacy, for intimacy and distance, unravelling the beauty of Haussmann and Etam’s products, users, and visitors,” said MVRDV Founding Partner Winy Maas in a statement. “In the stores we design, we often like to try new, unexpected materials and love to play with different types of glass. The Etam flagship store is the first time we have brought these approaches to a building where so much of the existing structure must be maintained.”


Interior door Filomuro: tinteggiabile a soffitto rovere tabacco


Type: interior

Opening: systemswing

Material: wooden

Glazing: without glazing

Other characteristics: full-height, flush


Flush-fit, clean lines, pure linear continuity. The choice of a Filomuro door may be dictated by various furnishing needs: keeping the minimal aesthetics of a space unaltered; making passageways to secondary rooms, like pantries or storage closets, less visible; allowing special decorative motifs on large surfaces to continue on door element to complete the interior decor.

Removable partition K EVO


for offices
Other characteristics


The K EVO partition wall is a single glass system with single hollow profiles with variable adjustments, able ​to absorb dimensional wall tolerance. K EVO glass walls are stratified and can be transparent, etched, serigraphed or decorated with adhesive film. Stratified glass guarantees a better sound isolation. All spaces visually connect each other through the glasses that define the surrounding spaces. The K evo partition wall is a single glazed system with single hollow profiles and variable adjustment to absorb the dimensional wall tolerance.

Hanging lighting profile B-LINER : 65 P630 DIM1


Light source
Other characteristics
home, for public spaces


FixationCeiling Suspended Recessed depthn.a. Thickness of mounting surfacen.a. InformationDOWN-UP INCL.LED CLUSTER DOWN 32W / CRI>80 / 3000K / 3920lm INCL.LED CLUSTER UP 16W / CRI>80 / 3000K / 1960lm INCL.LED POWER SUPPLY DIM1 INCL.2 x PC SBL INCL.2 x CABLE SUSPENSION SINGLE AUTO. 1.6m CABLING 2 CIRCUITS INCL.1 x CABLE 5 x 0.75mm² INCL.1 x CABLE 2 x 0.75mm² DOWN DIMMABLE BY 1-10V CONTROL CRICRI 80 Colour tempWarm White (+3000K) LED Technics (light source)5880 lm // 48 W // 122 lm/W LED Technics (luminaire)5090 lm // 55 W // 92 lm/W Electrical220-240V / 50-60Hz ClassClass I Nett weight2.5 Kg

Interior Thermowood | Lunawood

  • Use

  • Applications

    Interior cladding, saunas, spas
  • Characteristics

    Dimensional stability, antibacterial, non-toxic, resin-free, thermal insulation
  • Sizes

Luna STP: 15×92, Luna TGV: 17×188, Luna SHP sauna: 26×92, Luna HLL: 26×92, Luna HLL/L: 26×118
  • Certification

    PEFC certification label, TMT certification label (The International ThermoWood Association), International KOMO certification, BRE label (Building Research Establishment Limited

More about this product

Lunawood interior products are elegant and pleasant to touch thanks to their rich tone and smooth and warm surface. It is highly suitable for paneling and flooring; creating a cozy atmosphere in any interior. The boards are light, easy to cut, shape and install. In addition to its attractive appearance, the thermal modification of wood eliminates the risk of harmful emissions such as formaldehyde. This makes the wood pure, safe and hygienic for indoor use even for those prone to wood-related reactions. Thermowood has antibacterial properties, which makes it outstanding material for public spaces.

Lunawood - Interior Thermowood

Thermowood is a beautiful, sustainable wood material produced using natural methods; heat and steam. It is dimensionally stable, resistant to decay and non-toxic. Lunawood produces Thermowood from Scandinavian PEFC-certified pine and spruce from Finland. It can be used indoors or outdoors, in any climate. Lunawood is an eco-friendly natural product that is easy to machine and install.


The lower thermal conductivity and improved stability of thermally modified wood make Lunawood an excellent product in hot and humid environments. Furthermore, it is a hygienic material without resin and this broadens the variety of end uses and applications. Thermowood is one of the most used materials in saunas and is excellent for spa interiors.


Lunawood Type Main feature Application Average tangential swelling EN 113 Class
LunaThermo-D Durability Exterior 5-6% durable (class 2)
LunaThermo-S Stability Interior 6-8% Relatively durable (class 3)


removable partition


  • Type:


  • Material:

    glazed, double-glazed, aluminum

  • Applications:


  • Other characteristics:

    acoustic, frameless, custom, transparent


We offer two kind of partitions with double panel and 82mm thickness; Master Series, and Neo Series. Both partitions assure high level of confort on workplaces.
Master Series partition has a classical and hard aspect, and Neo Series partition has reduced the presence of aluminium for a minimalistic appearance and better transparency of glazed walls.

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