Tuong Café

Tuong (Statue) Café is popular among young people, especially architects, in southern Ho Chi Minh City, not only for its delicious drinks, but also for the shop’s unique design and interior decoration. The place has become a rendezvous for many coffee lovers and those who want to relax after working hard.

With his creation, Phan Thanh Truyen, owner of Tuong Café has provided his clients a unique, wholesome environment for relaxation after work. The shop is built with recycled materials, which helps the owner save money and reminds visitors of ways to protect the environment. Despite its simple architecture, the shop still attracts visitors as it reflects a new trend of design for a public building. Inside the shop, the interior decoration is set up according to specific topics, which are based on basic foundations in square, circle or rectangular.

Tuong Café is located in a quiet lane on Thanh Thai Street of District 10. Visitors will catch the very first glance of the shop with the wooden fence and the sign board hung with a simple, yet impressive rope. These first impressions will lead visitors to an open, or private, environment depending on their taste.

“Simplicity and honesty always remind people of their relationship with others in a sincere way, and this is what Tuong Café wants to share with its visitors,” said the shop owner.

Tuong Café on Thanh Thai Street (District 10, Ho Chi Minh City)
is a very famous for the architects circle. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

Tuong Café has a ground floor and a loft. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

The café is a rendezvous for architects in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

An architecture student works on his model at Tuong Café. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

Tuong Café has become a rendezvous for many coffee lovers and
those who want to relax after working hard. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

The unique direction sign at the café. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

The café’s design using recycled materials encourages customers in environment protection.
Photo: Le Minh/VNP

A Kerosene lamp decorated in the café. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

A corner to display guitars at Tuong Café. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

Some ornaments from the Central Highlands decorated in Tuong café. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

An old record player on display at Tuong Café. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

A corner to display many types of phones of different ages. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

Old cameras at Tuong Café. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

An old charcoal iron. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

Visitors will see dried gourds hanging here and there and not following any rule, however they still impress visitors in their own way.

Tables and chairs are arranged well and are attractive to the eyes although they are old. On the tables, there are some dried golden tree leaves, set intentionally or unintentionally, however their impact is undeniable, i.e. it brings a natural, warm atmosphere.

The shop is a bit small in area with a ground floor and an entresol, which are divided into small pavilions by bamboo fences or just some things like an old bicycle, some flower vases or statues. The ceiling is lit up with old incandescent lamps. All make the environment peaceful and nostalgic which brings some special privacy to visitors.

In a pavilion, there is a glass cabinet in which some antiques are displayed, such as a typewriter, old fashion cameras, some paintings by fine art students who made them while drinking coffee here, collections of books and reference documents about architecture for stay-in readers.

The wooden staircase that leads to the entresol has a window looking down on the ground floor which is truly an impressive spot inside Tuong Café. It does not isolate visitors at all, instead it makes them share the space with others. Another peculiar work is a painting wall, which is reserved for any visitor who loves painting. They can draw what they want on the wall, including sketches of a painting that just comes to their mind, some best wishes for their friends’ birthday, or a logo or slogan of their group. The shop owner is kind enough to have various kinds of brushes, pens, pencils or chalk to satisfy his clients.

Sitting in a corner and enjoying a drink while totally setting their mind in peace, visitors to Tuong Café thus all share their impression on what they have obtained before leaving the shop, i.e. moments for discovery and experience of something new and special.

Every Friday, Tuong Café offers a special program for visitors, including an exchange of experiences or talks between architecture students and companies, or live music performances for young people.

For all it has served, Tuong Café is truly an ideal destination for relaxation in a crowded city.

Story: Nguyen Vu Thanh Dat
Photos: Le Minh