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AQUARIUS coffee & booking office

Nguyễn Đặng Anh Dũng

Âu Ý Nhiên l Nguyễn Hữu Thể Trang l Nguyễn Ngọc Diệu Khuê l Võ Trường Giang

Construction : Đinh Đức Thiên Ân

Photographs : Dũng Huỳnh

Back then when the design was in progress, I realized that the space running along the staircase of the existing building could be the main zone connecting for 2 floors. Therefore, I allocated a shelf system throughout the space to subtly separate the area for different practical purposes, in combination with folding door for the users to change the space to communal or private at will.

With an average budget, iron pipe was initially chosen for the modular shelf system which basically defined the space. In the designing process, I looked for some buildings that had used this shelf method and considered Home Cafes of PENDA to be an optimal response to both aesthetic and financial problems since it combined ribbed iron and recycled wood. Following that reference, I applied it on my project.

Except for the concepts, AQUARIUS was the first project ever that AD+ had got the chance to be in charge of the entire process, from designing, supervising, to working directly on site with construction workers. This construction had the finest complete quality that we had ever achieved up until then.

However, when we sent this project (and a few others) to an architectural exhibition around 2015, a friend of mine told me: The jury has eliminated ALL our projects because Aquarius looked like another work that already existed. And that was when I started to think: Am I working the right way?
I think we had a good enough building to promote, and if we continue on this path, we would have equally good or better buildings as we accumulated experiences as time goes on. But this building was not truly unique. It could not express the value the designer holds.

That was the moment I realized that I had to create my own design. We have to carry out architecture in a different way, and that should be the premise for AD+ in the upcoming years.

SaiGon, December 2014 - May 2015

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