An art nouveau palette bursting with flamingo pink, sea green and bright orange hues in playful combination with strong geometric shapes aims to recreate an old Saigon vibe at a new cinema theatre in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.
Designed by Vietnamese interiors company Module K for Beta Media, the new 2000-square-metre cinema is located on the ground floor of an existing shopping mall and can seat 1000 patrons. Aimed at millennials, the cinema’s design references significant Saigon landmarks dotted around the city including the Municipal Opera House, Ben Thanh Market, Central Post Office, Tan Dinh Church, Paris Commune Square and the small alleys.
“But we gave it a different take,” says Jade Nguyen, director of Module K. “We captured the iconic features of Saigon and transformed them by stripping details, condensing the basic lines and turning them into geometric shapes. Then we applied a technique of solid colour treatment, as used in graphic design and cartoons, to bring a unifying element.”
The architects have used multi-coloured blocks and cubes to transition the different spaces while stretches of colour give the space a seemingly endless depth.
The main entrance features alternating geometric shapes while a dome in Indochine green in the vast central hall and sitting area recalls the colonial Central Post Office with its towering vaulted ceiling. A circular staircase in the blue Beta Media logo colour is also a meeting place for young people. The floor is paved with encaustic cement tiles with oriental Asian patterns. A flock of pigeons flying above reminds audiences of those at the Municipal Opera House and the Paris Commune Square.
The ticket counter in shades of aqua with eye-catching shapes is inspired by the rhythms of the colonnades and roof of Ben Thanh Market.
The side lobby and hallways are reminiscent of the fascinating alleys and street life of the city. Design highlights also include rainbow coloured arches in the corridor leading into the hall; semi-circular loggias creating check-in corners; asymmetrical arch pillars referencing the rose-coloured Gothic style of Tan Dinh Church’s design; and pastel pink staircases among others.
Circular and square shaped seats dot the mezzanine meeting area inviting relaxation and connection. Inside the cinemas, orange and lemon coloured lozenge-shaped reliefs on the walls alternate in shape and are backlit to contrast with deep turquoise coloured seats.
“The client wanted to convey a message of pride in Saigon landmarks, but not with the usual Indochine style. And we wanted to move away from the typical cinema design – dark and moody – so we tried to create a funky and welcoming space with locations for connecting, eating, drinking pre and post film showings.”
Minh Bui, CEO Beta Group says: "Module K's strong design response and their passion made a big impact and matched our own."
The goal was to give audiences a brand new destination for movie-watching, with an urban art style resonating with a dynamic and bustling Saigon vibe.
“We wanted to create an ‘instagrammable’ moment, a buzz, a wow feeling for Gen Z to tell friends to come and check out the design and remember the name,” Nguyen added.
Completed this year, the project was delivered by Module K under budget with construction accomplished in just 35 days.
Photography: Do Sy