Unit0 Saigon Cafe & Studio | Unit0 Saigon | International Architecture Awards 2019

The Café & Studio is designed to remodel an old typical house where has front yard and courtyard in the center of Ho Chi Minh City. This project was started to consider to merge an office into café. A minimized individual office hut was set deep inside of the site. Remnant spaces are for café where allows nomad working as well. That merging style generates the space as multi-use such as café, gallery, working and event space to aim that the Café & Studio will be a node of culture, design, art, F&B, music event and workshop in Saigon.

We pursued to revive the old house and bring the lively space with 2 design principles.  First is harmonizing inside and outside. Front yard, Courtyard and Backyard have abundant greens which make the space relaxing, cozy and refreshing. Customers can enjoy café in Front yard and Courtyard where keep the transparency between inside and outside segregated by glass screens. A green wall is designed with water feature in the backyard, immediately faced to the office hut to bring the refreshing circumstance of working space.

Second is to design with eco-friendly mind. We focus on reuse material and eco material.

Reused woods envelop the entrance of café to express the small accumulated layers that visitors feel the sense of history and a kind of gate that lead to café space. After the entrance, the main café area on ground floor is covered with reused bricks which come from an old facility in Ho Chi Minh City. We intend that makes us to feel the ground and natural touch of earth and visitors can enjoy F&B in this space with Arts and greens in front yard and courtyard.

2 kinds of new eco material are introduced. One is the paint materials, photocatalyst paint for interior wall and heat protection and hydrophilic coat for exterior roof. These paint materials are developed for wellness and easy maintenance. Another is Cross Laminated Timber (CLT).

CLT made of Japanese cypress are introduced for toilet cabin on ground floor and a loft on first floor. This is a first CLT project introduced in Vietnam.

Moreover, we have a challenge to make an original design of lighting fixtures for the café space on ground floor. We intend to express the concerning about eco-movement with designing featured lighting fixture. Mass products are filled in the world and it is inevitable for us now. We designed the lighting fixture with using pet bottles as our suggestion of alternative use without wasting.  265 number of pet bottles per one lighting fixture are hanging on the steel wire frame. Those lighting fixtures bring the glittering effect like a chandelier and make the café space more sparkling and lively.

Thus, the Café & Studio has diverse spaces which has own characteristics respectively and harmonized each other even within the small site. It is a kind of sequential design that makes visitors feel to delight and they could find their favorite space to spend their time.

Architect: Unit0 Saigon
Winner – Category: Interior Design
Project Location: Ho Chi Minh City
Project Team: Phan Ngoc Han, Kazue Inagaki
Country: Vietnam