UDAD Awards 2019

Honorable Mention- Happy Thai | Essajees Atelier

In Thai society elephants have played a substantial role in manual labour, war, royal iconography, and the tourism industry. For thousands of years, elephants were captured and trained to be a form of transport and heavy labour. When logging in Thailand was still legal, they hauled heavy logs through forests, which in turn gave many Thai people jobs. In recorded Thai history, during the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of Sukhothai, Thais used to hunt and trade elephants.


Honorable Mention – Urban Design & Architecture Design Awards 2019
Firm | Essajees Atelier
Category | Interior Design- Restaurant
Team | Sarah Sham
Country | India

Known for their strength and intelligence, elephants were used as war elephants since the days of Alexander the Great.They were referred to as a warm-blooded armoured-tank. Each elephant has a distinctive personality. Mostly male elephants that are aggressive yet tameable were selected to be war elephants. They were trained with lightly pricked spear on their skin in order for them to move forward. The training was conducted in a loud environment of shouting and drum sounds to accustom them to the sounds of warfare.

Branding & Logo

The logo and branding for this restaurant project started out with the idea of doing quick, simple dining which would be packaged as a smart casual eatery. The logo was based around the image of an elephant, an important symbol in asian cultures and an animal that has deep roots to Thai history.

Concept Brief

The first recorded Thai elephant was in the stone inscription of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of Sukhothai. In this inscription he mentioned being nineteen and said his elephant, Bekhpon, advanced their attack on Khun Sam Chon to protect his father,.

In our story, the happy thai elephant is the grand-daughter of a royal elephant, living carefree and happy. While she is connected to her history and comes from a great lineage, she just wants to have fun and enjoy in her natural habitat, the forest. We have assumed that Bekhphon’s grand-daughter, the happy thai elephant, has taken a walk through the jungle, and chances upon a village of friendly people. Her walk through this village is what we wanted the restaurant to feel like. We integrated cane and wood into the space, a lot of plants, and the happy thai colours of black and red. We also integrated a lot of gold accents into the space that pays homage to the royal roots of our elephant.