Thali, Oxford, UK

A cliché-free, street-style space for a chain of Indian restaurants

Thali is the Indian food-truck concept that became a small chain of restaurants in Bristol. When the time came to expand, Thali needed to reinvigorate its subversive style. So we went to New Delhi to dine among the crowds in search of everyday culinary honesty.

The chaos, inventiveness, and unselfconscious practicality we discovered were transformative. They sparked a more flexible use of space for fast-moving diners; a quirky, make-do approach to fixtures and fittings; and a here-today, gone-tomorrow style of messaging. With hand-drawn, inexact typography and posters pasted on the walls, Thali felt as if it was reinventing itself afresh each day.

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