The new Vietnamese design

30 07 2016



Saigon has had, it seems to me, two design peaks in terms of architecture: the colonial 1920s and the postwar modernist phase, represented perfectly by the two palaces above. But there are strong indications that a third wave is on the way. You would never know it from the city’s streets, though. Most recent architecture is undistinguished and boxy, with the dramatic exception of the statement Bitexco Tower. This gargantuan curve of glass seemingly lifted straight from Iron Man’s Stark Tower (although it seems the inspiration actually ran the other way) completely dominates the skyline and has become the symbol of the city, hovering omnipresent although it reveals surprising new sides from different angles due to its asymmetrical shape.


But elsewhere in different corners of the city, away from the bombast, Vietnamese architects have been at work on other interesting projects. These are mostly residential and small scale, transforming the traditionally tall and narrow “tube houses” of urban Vietnam into luxurious spaces for indoor/outdoor tropical living.


In projects like this, the Thong House, the Stacking Green project and the lovely Cocoon House, Ho Chi Minh City designers have shown off a dramatic flair for small scale spaces as well as a surprisingly consistent aesthetic, combining elements of Geoffery Bawa’s tropical modernism in Sri Lanka, the Brazilian modernists and contemporary Thai design.


I love, love, love it – these would be my dream homes…although I do wonder about the traffic noise and the pollution.





One response

31 07 2016
Back to Saigon | ilbonito blog 2007

[…] there were surprises, like its Mexican gangster subculture, its graffiti-decked hipster bars and its under-the-radar architectural revival, which seemed to promise a reservoir of creativity as yet barely tapped. The future for Ho Chi Minh […]

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