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Graphic Designer Recreates Saigon's Colorful Concrete Tiles in New Book

When Giang Nguyen decided to hunt for old typography around Saigon, what began as a personal research project soon grew into an obsession with the city's old-school design.

“I'm always fascinated by Saigonese colonial architecture and design,” Nguyen tells Saigoneer via email. “As a typographer, I used to spend a lot of time [going] around town to find...old typographic remnants to revive into new digital typefaces. During my trips, I also came across these beautiful tiles. At one point, I decided to collect them along with the type.”

The RMIT design lecturer and co-creative director at The Lab has now turned his discoveries into a collection called Tiles of Saigon. The book features 30 different digitally rendered floor tile patterns from Vietnam's French colonial era, paying homage to the host of intricate and colorful designs that now grace trendy cafes as well as old buildings, museums and offices, restaurants and hotels across the city.

To create the book, Nguyen captured each pattern with a digital camera before using computer software to redraw the design. The resulting publication, which is now on sale at WORK Saigon, acts as a vibrant, modern-day record of one part of Saigon's design history, though Nguyen admits he didn't start the project with a book in mind.

“To say it's a historical record is a bit out of proportion,” he writes. “As grand as it may seem, it wasn't my initial goal. I just simply wanted to document [the tiles] to inspire myself but, noting the beauty in the details, I couldn't help but trying to redraw them myself.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Photos via Giang Nguyen]


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