designed by architecture firm onion, samyan co-op is a non-profit organization for education that is situated inside a commercial mall in bangkok, thailand. commissioned by property developer goldenland, the project is envisioned to give back to the local community by offering a 500-seat reading and working space that is free to the public and open 24 hours a day.
onion began by studying existing places that provide a similar function to samyan co-op, including libraries, co-working spaces, learning centers, public areas in university buildings and cafes. by also asking a series of questions to the public, the team deduced that potential users desired a space where they could change the atmosphere of where they read and work. as individuals have different ways of working, the architects therefore chose to design a number of varied interiors to suit everyone’s style.
after carrying out initial research, onion decided to create 5 separate ‘buildings’ within the mall that still afford visual connection between them. they placed a silent building in the center of the space and enveloped it with transparent glass. due to samyan co-op being a free place for anyone to come in at anytime, day and night, the intention of the design was to build informal spaces that welcome everyone.
the architects placed the prominent blue cafe next to the entrance, with round tables and chairs that spill out into the lobby. the scheme also focuses on the circulation elements between each building to create lively spaces full of movement and social interaction.