Best Restaurant Decor (2008)

The Four Rivers

Paula Palakawong and Ravin Nakjaroen have designed a brilliantly soothing space to showcase their menu of new Thai cuisine at the Four Rivers, one of the dreamiest rooms you'll ever set foot in. Forget an afternoon at the spa, a meal at the Four Rivers will do more to lower your heart rate and blood pressure and induce beta waves than a month of massages. Raised pools are a lucent canvas for floating candles and water plants; a wall of lotus flowers showcases each single stem in its own pristine, uplit vase; on another wall, Buddhist poetry worked in bas relief makes a kind of intuitive sense as design, even if the strange curling script is illegible. You sink into buttery leather on the banquettes, note the whorl of the wood grain in the polished tables and the solid geometric shapes of the tableware, and begin to appreciate detail again. A veil of darkness has been laid over everything, occasionally punctuated by shocks of luminosity, like a low-volume conversation between light and dark, presence and absence, here and there.


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