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A Designer From Da Lat Brings His Hometown's Beauty to a Calendar Project

Da Lat is not merely a place, it’s a state of mind.

There’s something in Da Lat for everyone, even tourists. In the center, distinctive dishes beckon foodies; nature lovers can’t help but luxuriate in the vast swaths of hills, forests and wild flora; and the city’s blend of modernist and French architecture makes a great backdrop for the image-obsessed. It’s no surprise that the town’s popularity as an ideal travel destination has only been rising over the years, though many might agree that the fame has not been all good for Da Lat.

As someone who grew up in Da Lat, graphic designer Trương Chí Hào (Pim Trương) is personally aware of how the beauty of his hometown has changed over the years. This appreciation for Da Lat was the main driving force behind his decision to create the Da Lat Classic Beauty project, putting some of the city’s most iconic landmarks and natural spots on a calendar spread.

Hào is currently a senior graphic design student at Van Lang University in Saigon, and the calendar project is a school assignment, allowing him full creative control in picking the color palette and illustration style. It took him two months to complete the illustrations.

Classic Beauty has a simple concept: each month of the calendar features a different Da Lat scene rendered in a striking teal-orange color scheme, creating a cinematic contrast. Some of the landmarks are not hard to pinpoint, like the semi-aquatic Thuy Ta Restaurant or the towering curve of the Da Lat Pedagogical College.

“I picked [the places] because they are all familiar to Da Lat people and popular among everybody, so it’s easier to get the message across,” he told Saigoneer in an email. “The scenes I illustrated are in the past, not at the moment. For instance, Chợ Đồ Cũ [Second-hand Market], which used to be a beloved venue among locals, doesn’t exist anymore. The Hoa Binh area has changed a lot and might be torn down in the future.”

Hào is referring to an ambitious and controversial urban plan to transform downtown Da Lat into a commercial center, which includes the destruction of many heritage structures in the area. How many of these iconic Da Lat places do you recognize?

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