Under the Canopy 1

Songty’s Design: Street Urchin

For F3 (Friends Futures Factory)

A young architect, NUON Songty, under the mentorship of David COLE, was asked to design the canopy using sustainable and natural materials. To fulfill this requirement Songty was inspired by Cambodia’s rich and ancient basketry. He chose the humble bamboo chicken coop and put together almost 500 baskets to form a new and contemporary shape. The canopy provides a temporary space in the courtyard inviting the public to enjoy events and community gatherings under its dappled shade and innovative design.


Under the Canopy is an instrument for public engagement at the intersection of creativity, urbanism and sustainability. The canopy will be displayed from December 2022 until Khmer New Year 2023. When it is disassembled all usable baskets will be donated to farming communities through the Friends-International program.

Our program includes:

Opening Night with welcoming speeches, food & beverage vendors and live acoustic music by Unity Band.

Designer Talk with NUON Songty

Recycled Seed Paper Workshop open to school groups, families and people of all ages to learn how to take used paper and turn it into seed paper that can be planted to grow flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Panel Discussion on Small Act: Big Impact featuring film screenings, and presentations by experts from various fields that will offer ideas that can help us build a more sustainable future.

Under The Canopy is part of the Creative Generation platform to support young Cambodian creatives and provide them opportunities to learn and develop their skills in design and art. It has been produced in partnership with Friends-International and their community space F3. It would not be possible without the generous support of our donors: Karen McLeod Adair & Anthony Adair, Australian collectors of contemporary Cambodian art and supporters of young artists; and Debra Fram & Eric Schwartz.

About the Designer

NUON Songty began his career in architecture as a college intern at COLE, where he later worked as a junior architect. He was involved in schematic and conceptual designs of projects such as resort, office space and especially urban planning. After that experience, he obtained his Bachelors of Architectural Design and Urbanism from the Norton University.

Songty has an interest in architecture that pays attention to the environment, culture and local community. Particularly he is interested in minimal linear design that uses its form to celebrate place as well as successfully blend into its surrounding context.

For this project, Songty is mentored by David Cole. David is the Director of Cole and Partners design firm and founder of the built environment non-profit Building Trust. In both roles David runs a multi-disciplinary team of designers, thinkers, makers and creators in delivering designs that are both unique and aim to have wide reaching social and environmental benefits. Working on projects internationally David first came to Cambodia to deliver flood resistant housing in partnership with Habitat for Humanity to communities affected by severe flooding in 2013. Since then he has helped design health facilities, schools, recreation facilities, community-based ecotourism infrastructure, resorts, retail outlets, offices and housing.

Time lapse video by David Muskett

About Our Partner

Friends International is a leading social enterprise saving lives and building futures of the most marginalized children & youth, their families and their communities in South East Asia and across the world.