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Amid the mountains and forests surrounding the city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, a freewheeling community of fabricators is thriving. Sher Maker, founded by Patcharada Inplang and Thongchai Chansamak, has flourished here, taking advantage of the abundant access to talent and resources.

Long Goy.
Long Goy.

Long Goy (1, 2, and top of page)
This building houses a sewing workshop and exhibition hall for a Chiang Mai fashion company. Long goy means “try it” in the Lanna dialect of northern Thailand and expresses the brand’s experimental approach. The simple steel-frame structure echoes the proportions of the rice barn that had been on the site and is wrapped in blue-dyed planks accented by vertical battens that have been dyed red. Photos © Rungkit Charoenwat, click to enlarge.

In a world awash in renderings, Sher Maker captivates with simple forms and pared-down materials that are taken one step beyond their already substantial beauty—in the Wood & Mountain Cabin (2021), a tall and narrow box, charred-wood panels are arranged in a subtle vertical gradient, or, at Long Goy, dyed wood planks render the top-heavy fashion house in alternating shades of cerulean and crimson as one ambles around it. The resulting architecture is immediately accessible. “We want to make buildings that can be read like a book but not one that is difficult to understand,” Inplang says. Rather, their projects point to a philosophy emphasizing the “delicate relationship between human and nature, and nature and architecture.”

Wood and Mountain Cabin.
Wood and Mountain Cabin.

Wood & Mountain Cabin (3 & 4)
Wood & Mountain Cabin Inspired by vernacular construction, this 1,100-square-foot cabin employs the same wood-frame and wall system commonly found in Chiang Mai. For the building envelope, Sher Maker salvaged wood planks from the area and charred them by hand. The raised structure is wrapped on three sides by the charred wood, but a mostly glazed facade on the fourth side offers views to the site. Photos © Rungkit Charoenwat

The “Maker” label in the firm’s name reflects the fundamental role of craftsmanship and material experimentation at play, as well as the backgrounds of its principals. Inplang, 34, previously worked as an architect at an incubator for makers in Bangkok; after returning to her hometown of Chiang Mai in 2018, she met Chansamak, now 41, an architect with a serious handicraft hobby (he was building bamboo bicycles at the time). Together, the two realized an open-air studio and workshop under an expansive roof—with plenty of space for public lectures, demonstrations, and social activities—that is shared by roughly equal numbers of architects and fabricators, the latter “in residence” to use the firm’s tools.


Moonler (5 - 7)
A 2,600-square-foot showroom for a local company that designs and produces furniture made from chamchuri wood, this project expresses the brand’s commitment to craftsmanship and environmental stewardship. Wood columns and beams are exposed in the interior spaces, while the building connects on the outside to its rural landscape. Photos © Ratthee Phaisanchotsiri


The meaning of “Sher,” however, is more complex. The Thai word for tree, it signals the couple’s preference for natural building materials and affection for their forested surroundings. To take stock of local suppliers’ inventories—and to study vernacular buildings and gather resources like clay—the office organizes frequent treks into the countryside and catalogues their findings. A typical project might bring together, for instance, a traditional technique gleaned from a skilled fabricator, a lucky find from a lumberyard, and an earthen pigment created from the soil—all from within 10 miles of the job site. Sometimes Sher Maker acts simply as designers, but it has also served as the builder for all or part of several projects.

Sher Maker Studio.

Sher Maker Studio
A large corrugated-metal roof covers the firm’s 2,150-square-foot studio, with much of the space on the sides open for craftspeople and fabricators to work without being totally enclosed. Cutouts in the roof allow some of the site’s original trees to remain in place and create a close relationship between architecture and nature. Photo © Rungkit Charoenwat

The duo insists that their craft-driven approach sells itself. The practice’s first commission in 2018—part of a campaign by PTT, Thailand’s largest petroleum company, to transform their utilitarian buildings into public amenities—wrapped handmade nacreous tiles around the Saraphi gas station. Although the architects thought it would be difficult to convince such a performance-driven company to invest in a relatively forthright celebration of materiality, an invitation to the clients to visit the studio and examine a mock-up did the trick. Bringing patrons into the process of making is now the go-to strategy at Sher Maker. “After seeing what we do,” Inplang says, “they don’t need any more convincing.”

PTT Saraphi.

PTT Saraphi (8 & 9)
For a facade renovation of an existing gas station in Chiang Mai, Sher Maker collaborated with a local ceramics factory to produce tiles with a pearlescent coating. The concave tiles create a scalloped profile for the building and capture the changing light and color of the sky. Photos © Rungkit Charoenwat

PTT Saraphi.
Thongchai Chansamak and Patcharada Inplang.

Thongchai Chansamak and Patcharada Inplang. Photo © Sher Maker



PRINCIPALS: Thongchai Chansamak, Patcharada Inplang

Chansamak: Chiang Mai University, B.Arch., 2002
Inplang: King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, B.Arch., 2012

Chansamak: freelance architect, 2002–18
Inplang: Studiomake, 2012–14

KEY COMPLETED PROJECTS: Jomthong Raintree House, 2024; Moonler, 2022; Long Goy, 2022; Wood & Mountain Cabin, 2021; Khiankhai Home & Studio, 2021; Sher Maker Studio, 2020; Boonma, 2019; PTT Saraphi, 2019 (all in Chiang Mai, Thailand)

KEY CURRENT PROJECTS: Aesop Thonglor, Bangkok; Pearypie Home, Chiang Mai; Srichon, Nakhon Sri Thammarat (all in Thailand)