Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
THE GARDEN in Hanoi, Vietnam by Bureau A
October 19th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Bureau A
The Garden is an attempt to participate to a new fresh life that’s emerging within the particular space of a factory from the Soviet era in Hanoi. The space, well located at the border of the old French neighbourhood, near the Opera House is an ancient penicillinfactory. Invested mainly by artists, fashion designers and creative people of all kinds, the spaces inside the factory provide a new cultural dynamic to young Hanoi.
The initiative arises from Duc Nguyen Qui, an American Vietnamese writer and journalist and artist who’s decided to get involved in a more subtle and alternative culture than the upcoming mainstream culture that has recently invaded Hanoi. His project, the Tadioto is a café, bar and gallery hosting a diversity of intimate and qualitative cultural events. It is in this context that BUREAU A has been invited to intervene with an installation. BUREAU A’s office set up in the monumental space of the factory.
The installation sitewas transformed into a real living workshop, taken the cadence of the whole factory, participating to the noise, smell and dynamic of a never-endingconstruction site. During the weeks of the construction of The Garden the whole factory has been turned upside down: new boutiques, bars and trendy cafes have literally popped up from one day to the next. Maybe the original spirit of the lieu has started to lose its essence or atmosphere to become already a more stereotyped kind of space.
The first impulse has been to document the whole factory. Given the rapidity of the alterations that were happening within the short period of the installation, the urge tokeep the traces of the marks, wounds, cracks of this nostalgic working machine appeared obvious. The second impulse was to somehow contribute to the larger projectofDuc Nguyen Quy, who’s put a considerable effort to produce events, debates, and move preconceived ideas around. The installation of the garden is a very direct manner to get involved into the place through action, through building.
With the help of some local workers and small team from BUREAU A The Garden was built. It is a temporary installation which aim is to be a sort of “tropical forum”. The history of gardens hastaught us the importance of the gardens when it comes to places for meditation, debate and intimate thinking. The Garden was created for such purpose.
It was conceived and built as a platform and object at the same time which was “thrown” into this industrial atmosphere as a support for discussions. Thought as an island in the factory hall, it uses locally found simple materials: bamboo, autochthonous plants and a carpet of 6500 charcoal bricks very commonly used as a street cooking fire. On the other hand, this idea of a miniature world of itself came from the observation of the magnificent collection of Bonsais at the Hanoi History Museum. Not only the Bonsais themselves are quite intriguing in form and complexity, but also the beautiful craft of their stone basis and pots was a source of interest when thinking about our project in Tadioto.
The last part of the project was to construct a social and cultural event. With the help and partnership of a number of designers from different parts of the world (parallel lab from Hong Kong, Archiplein from Shanghai and Geneva, Pierre Cauderay from Switzerland, Nourah al Sayeh from Bahrein and Alba Zamarbide from Japan) a series of 7 lectures were held in the space gathering people from everywhere and producing aperformativeevent. A workshop directed by parallel lab was also held during 10 days with students of the Hong Kong Polythecnical School of Design. The general topic of the workshop and lectures was public space.
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