Masala Magazine Thailand

Home » In my element café is designed to make you feel happy

In my element café is designed to make you feel happy

by Masalathai Admin

Brewing happiness

By Shaan Bajaj

As someone who needs an iced latte or matcha to function, I like to keep my finger on the pulse of café openings across the city. Oftentimes, I save them for a lazy Sunday when I can visit with my friends, and we dress aesthetically for the ‘gram, or just sit and read. Thankfully, there is never a shortage of cafés, or I would have to find a new hobby. In My Element is one of the newer additions, and after visiting myself, I can vouch for its understated visuals and delicious treats.

Founder Darat ‘Praew’ Roachchanabhakdee, who manages the space with her husband, Amrik Singh Khurana, gave me insight into their design choices, and the story behind the name. The space marries brutalism and biophilic architecture styles. The former stems from the buildings in the UK around the mid-20th Century, while the later aims to tie an individual to their natural surroundings.

The café stands out to anyone passing by; on the outside, you’ll see a textured grey concrete wall with a semicircle window to give you a peek inside. To enter, head to the side of the building, where floor to ceiling windows invite you in. Around the building, green plants have been incorporated to add natural elements, along with white umbrellas to protect you from the heat. The second entrance is a tunnel-like passageway with natural light filtering in from the ceiling. The passage leads to a nook where you can sit and pose under a sign that reads, “In my element” and its meaning: “To be where I am, too happy to give a damn,” a sentiment Praew and Amrik aim to cultivate for anyone visiting the café.

Once inside, my eyes were instinctively drawn to a growing tree in the back corner. Praew tells me they wanted to keep the tree to bring greenery into the space, especially since the neighbouring plot is a gardening shop. The floors and walls are a mix of grey and glass, while the natural light makes the café feel cosy. The entire space is a creative dream, with photo opportunities at every angle.

Initially, Praew intended to open a bakery, as she has been helping her mother bake for the past 20 years. However, a café seemed more appropriate. All the desserts are baked daily by her mum and her. The menu itself offers a variety of coffee, tea, and desserts, even eggless ones. She only uses natural ingredients and fresh fruits in her recipes, and hopes to provide something unique, exemplified by their Americano pomegranate (THB 145), made with pomegranate juice.

When it came to conceptualising, Praew always liked the colour grey, and knew she wanted to create a brutalist building. She was inspired by war veterans, who would hide in concrete bunkers but found themselves happy there because they felt safe during the World Wars. To truly capture the brutalist spirit, they hired an architect who travelled to the UK to learn more about brutalism. Praew also wanted to incorporate geometric design elements and nature to provide a contrast to the harshness of concrete.

The result is a space that can be used by everyone: regular guests can come with their pet to enjoy a cup of coffee; influencers can use the space to create content; or brands can rent out the space for marketing shoots. In fact, Praew tells me, local fashion brands have had their models pose here, and they even recently held a small wedding reception. The café can accommodate small events of up to 80 people, and its unique design allows them to offer a versatile space that can be dressed up accordingly. More than anything, Praew and Amrik want people to enjoy the space any way they want to, whether it be for taking photos or just to grab a coffee and spend an afternoon catching up with a friend. The idea is to provide a happy space regardless of how your day might be going.

In My Element
Bang Kruai-Chong Thanom, Maha Sawat, Bang Kruai District, Nonthaburi 11130
Open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 9am to 6pm
Tel: 096 846 4419
Facebook: @inmyelementcafe, Instagram: @inmyelement_cafe

Related Articles