saigon, or ho chi minh city, is a metropolis rich in history, and this reflects in its diverse and colorful architecture. one needs only observe the ben thanh market, a landmark and one of the earliest surviving structures in the city. it has changed much over the years, encompassing new uses for the inhabitants with new interests. these days for instance, the people of saigon have developed a taste for pizza. so NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS designed this pizza place in the historic market center of town. just like taste in food, the ornamentation too has changed; the original symbolic tiles were replaced with clunky red metal ones, which give the building a drastic new impression. this different use of material marks the city’s striving for something new.

image by hiroyuki oki (also main image)



with this recent work, NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS shows that something new doesn’t have to replace something old. this restoration project creates something new that embellishes the old. this pizzeria, called pizza 4P’s, plays with the notion of merging traditional and modern styles. NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS speaks of the design process for this project that required insight of the unique south-east-asian city. they explain how they learned of siagon’s ‘urban intelligence‘ which, unlike many european cities, ‘intuitively manages to preserve its historical records and simultaneously adapt the urban form to contemporary functions or lifestyles.’

image by hiroyuki oki



to create a space that most effectively uses the local environment, the architects had to drastically restore the façade, which had been covered with absurd advertisements. the designers wanted to revert back the structure’s original components, which were cluttered by partitioned layers. the decorative walls hide the true essence of the building, and removing them clarified the space, giving it a new serenity. opening it yet further, they created a sort of loggia (an interior deck) with framed views of the city.

image by hiroyuki oki



the colorful city outside, including the new red metal tiles, merges with the interior bringing its rich colors into the pizzeria. the architect describes them as melting together, just as the old architectural elements melt with the new, this restaurant embraces ho chi minh city’s eclectic vibrant urban landscape. a large part of this update was accomplished by effective use of material including new interior transparent dividers, constructed of about 1,000 pieces of tempered glass. transforming the space’s relation to the outside, once again refracts the light from the outside in new beautiful ways. 


image by hiroyuki oki

image by hiroyuki oki



image by hiroyuki oki



project info:


name: ben thanh restaurant
completion year: 2017
location: district 1, ho chi minh city, vietnam
floor area: 440 sqm
photography: hiroyuki oki, NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS
architects in charge: shunri nishizawa, vũ ngọc tâm nhi, nguyễn đỗ hồng quân
contractor: trung long company
manufacturers / products: INAX, toto, philips
client: pizza 4P’s

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