This coffee shop is a newly converted shop and located in the old quarter of Hanoi, where different layers of history has been co-existing for centuries in an unique environment. The chaos and madness of the old quarter is part of Hanoi’s charm and is one of the reason millions of tourist flocked to the city every year. In the past, the original building itself was renovated and fixed several times by different owners, without any professional consultancy and a coherent architectural language. Thus, it is quite difficult to figure out the exact inner structure of the building, because it consists of two separated layers, with load-bearing wall combines concrete frame in a not really reasonable method by the previous owners.
Our designing brief in this case is to maximize the space within the building and exploit thoroughly the commercial advantage of elevation in a special street like this. Especially, there is also an ancient water-well in the bottom of the plan, which needs to be preserved for “feng shui” reason.
The main functions of a coffee take away and fastfood shop are carefully researched to fit in this narrow area. On the 1st floor, beside the kitchen area, the counter is downsized in order to enlarge the lounge area. The original stair is converted into a L-steel structure, facing the main gate. Below this, the “feng shui” water-well is connected to a stone bow, supporting the idea of movable flowing water, not stagnate under the ground. This hand washing station is not only for usage but also act as an art installation, making the shop more welcoming.
On the 2nd floor, all the old internal walls were removed to maximize space, instead additional steel frames has been put on to support the whole structure. Furthermore, a wide screen glass facade was brought in for the elevation; providing an unique view onto the bustling street below.
Considering the style of this shop, we personally quite prefer to mix things up, offering a little bit of industrial vintage with a Scandinavian undertone. A series of random cement tiles was installed in the wall through the gate to the bar upstairs, providing reference to the French colonial heritage that the city is known for. From our point of view, this design could be quite adaptable to the cultural surrounding. Not only does it take notes of the layers of history within the building itself, but it also reflects the contemporary environment of this street, which is becoming more and more international with leading brands from around the world.
Architect in charge: Le Minh Hoang
Assistant: Nguyen Anh Tuan
Completion date: January 2014
Land area: 50sqm
Project area: 110sqm
Location: Hangbong street, Hoankiem district, Hanoi, Vietnam