The complex geometries of a sculpted wood interior for Raw Restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan required the services of a boat builder .

Architect Camiel Weijenberg and his team said, "It was important to create a space that served as a sanctuary from the hectic Taipei scene, evoked by the use of natural materials and soft finishing. The unique feature of the design is the continuous natural wooden structure, which runs throughout the restaurant without obvious columns and structural elements holding it up."

Weijenberg entered the A' Design Award and Competition, and won., with his concept:

RAW Restaurant

"The restaurant design takes diners on a journey as they step into the eatery across a wooden path entering a tranquil lounge area, gently transitioning away from the bustling streets of Taipei. A soft angled, organically sculptured wooden structure invites and greets guests as they move into the main restaurant space. When at the dining area customers are seated at tailor made tables. The lighting creates a stage for the food, which draws customers in creating an intimate and peaceful haven."

Completed in November 2014, Weijenberg had some challenges finding woodworkers and craftsmen to tackle the project.

"The main wooden structure was built in the South of Taiwan by a boat builders company familiar with complex geometries. The finish and the materials used were new to the contractor, which created several challenges. For example, we wanted the 'path' of the machining to be visible in the wooden structure, as if it were a digital fingerprint. Also, the use of several pieces of wood, pre-cut using computer-technology, to create the wooden structure created a very complex construction process."

Weijenberg's office likes the idea "Crafting the Traditional,"  using local craft and techniques as precedents for its projects, and adapting them to other aspects of projects.

"For instance, the main wooden structure was built in the South of Taiwan by a team of local carpenters. By using local techniques and re-applying them with their input and knowledge, we hope that this translates into the intersection between modernity and tradition."

But the main challenge was the construction of the wooden structure, Weijenberg says. 

"We had to find a contractor who was willing to take on a project with a high level of complexity along with having a digital know-how and understanding of such a delicate structure." Another challenge  was that no straight lines were to be used in the construction of the piece. "Finally, we found a contractor in Southern Taiwan who had been dealing with complex geometries as a boat builder," Weijenberg says. 

Weijenberg and team members Sharon Guzman, Syahirah Saripin Sketch and Siti Zubaidah worked on RAW. Weijenberg PTE was founded by Camiel Weijenberg, a Dutch-registered architect from the Netherlands now based in Singapore. Camiel graduated from the Architecture Association in London with a distinction in technical studies. His final year thesis 'The Inter-Relationship between Structural Engineering and Architecture' was presented to the British Engineering Institute.

IMAGE CREDITS:  Photographer MW Photo INC., RAW Restaurant Taipei, 2014


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