The Farm Foodcraft Boasts A Unique Design To Complement Its Garden-To-Plate Mission
Farm to table is not a new concept in F&B but you won't find many of these restaurants in a mall especially if they require a farm on site. An exception is The Farm Foodcraft located in The Sphere, Bangsar South. Consisting of farmers and horticulturists who already owned a few smaller cafes, the Bangsar South location presented a unique opportunity to marry both the farming world and F&B.
Spanning a sprawling 2000 sq ft, with a soaring double volume height of 5.2m, The Farm Foodcraft was also allowed to lease the front of the site for alfresco dining and use the existing planters adjacent the site. A mezzanine was built to take advantage of the high ceilings which houses a hydroponic farm and private dining area named the Curious Gardener.
The plants are undeniably the “star” of the show as reflected by the centrepiece in the dining area—a custom chandelier featuring three steel rings with greenery growing out of them. The second smaller space in the annexe features a suspended large driftwood log festooned with ferns.
Beyond this, the designers also had to create a suitable internal environment that would be comfortable for diners while ensuring the welfare of the plants. Thankfully, there was sufficient natural light in the site and watering and fertilisers could be managed mechanically; the major challenge was for ventilation and cooling.
Part of this solution was installing huge semi-transparent roller blinds to trap the cool air from within the restaurant and industrial fans to provide sufficient air movement and circulation. Sensors were also placed around the restaurant to monitor the environment. This was linked to a mobile app to collect data so that tweaks could be made if plants in certain areas were not doing so well.
Overall, the fit out was done in mild steel for light, flexible and easy installation. An earthy colour palette complements the plants comprising of green tinted inlay in the coffee coloured concrete floor. and rattan weave cladding for the carpentry. Wicker furniture and light fittings complete the look.
The clients had plans to sell the surplus produce—vegetables, fruits and herbs—grown on-site but since they’ve opened, demand has been so good that all the produce has been used up for the food served.
Another interesting thing to note is that during Malaysia’s first lockdown in 2020 and supply from produce wholesalers were drastically affected, other F&B outlets in the immediate area came to The Farm Foodcraft to purchase the fresh vegetables harvested on site. A compelling argument to justify and promote decentralised urban farms, not to mention a testament of how Seshan Design and the client have created a working productive farm.
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