Penguin Ghetto in Chiang Mai

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And it had nothing to do with penguins. Well, maybe a little bit. But it had everything to do with our two favorite things: good coffee/tea and good design.

Last month we spent most of our time indoors. Which is ridiculous considering we’re in Thailand. We were working  in our Chiang Mai apartment. Every couple of days we would crawl out of our apartment and work someplace else.

Our go-to-place to work was Penguin Ghetto. Coolest name in the world to be honest. It’s a small coffee place in the north of Chiang Mai, and it’s run by an architectural bureau, NOTDS (none other than design studio). NOTDS had some space left in their office building and they turned it into Penguin Ghetto. The first time we had coffee at Penguin Ghetto, we had no idea it was part of NOTDS and we were amazed by a place this cool at this location. We were admiring the design of the building as much as our coffee.

The interior of Penguin Ghetto is black and white (like a penguin!). The whole outside of the building has been covered with a layer of recycled pallets, giving it an organic look. Penguin Ghetto uses chairs, stools and tables by local designers. They also display work from two designers that live across the street from them. They even have their own coffee, another reason these guys are awesome.

NOTDS is composed of five architects, all in their early thirties. We’ve met Ekaphap Duangkaew, one of the architects. He told us how they came up with Penguin Ghetto and how it was created. It was a cafe that functioned as a waiting room for their clients. The cafe quickly gained popularity among local students, and is now often busy. This could be because of the awesome name, the damn fine coffee (I liked the ‘ghetto coffee’) or the incredible building. Or all of the above.

Right across the road from Penguin Ghetto is linnil‘s studio. She sells some of her notebooks at Penguin Ghetto, which is how we found out about her. We liked her stuff right away. She also happens to be super nice and a super talented designer.

Linnil makes notebooks, bags, and loads more stuff. We absolutely loved all of her notebooks and wish we bought more of them. You can check out her work on her Facebook page! She’s also selling her products in Bangkok’s Art and Culture Center, which is worth a visit if you’re around. She shares her workplace with her boyfriend, who has his own design studio: 3.2.6. Studio. They work and live together, making super cool pieces of art. If you’re ever around, please go say hi and check out the nice stuff they create!