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Saigon Architects Honored as Artists at Gallery Event

When we think about Saigon’s most iconic buildings, bridges and homes, we always note their function.

Whether colonial icons, standout examples of Vietnamese modernism, or newer structures that reveal the nation’s 21st-century talent and vision, form is always connected to function. They straddle the line between artistic and practical, and thus, while we may rightfully praise their architects as artists, we don’t think of them the same way we do painters or sculptors. 

Photo by Saigoneer.

Many Saigoneers relish celebrating the city’s architectural heritage and future, rightfully praising the architects and using terms such as masterpiece. Vines and leaves spilling over bold railings and draping colorful shophouse walls in every direction contribute to the city’s feeling of eclectic abundance. Meanwhile, sleek skyscrapers and bridges held aloft with cables that resemble elegant wings remind us Saigon is a city of modern aspirations offering an array of contemporary pleasures. 


Photo by Saigoneer.

Our appreciation for the designers and builders of these structures almost always ends with admiring the structures they bring to our streets. We rarely, if ever, wonder what other art forms they are passionate about. But aren’t many artists renowned for their versatility and ability to inspire across mediums? If an individual can bring beauty, style and energy to a library, office building, coffee shop, house or train station, can’t they do the same with paintings, sketches, sculptures, photographs and installations?

 Work using synthetic material by Nguyễn Thanh Ngọc Tùng (left) and painting on papery by Lê Minh Đức (right). 

These questions inform the second iteration of Art by Architects (AbyA), an exhibition at the Lotus Gallery. Saigon O'Clock: What Would You Say When it Comes to Saigon invites viewers to appreciate 85 works of visual art by 24 architects. The pieces are grouped into broader subjects that examine Saigon via a cohesive metropolis the lives of its residents; the unique world of Chợ Lớn; the peaceful elements of nature sprouting up in its corners and peripheries; and as a wistful source of dreams. 

Oil on canvas by Mai Quang Trí.

The Saigon O'Clock exhibition is organized by Lotus Gallery and partners including Cara Lighting Solution, Design Complex and Saigon Cider. It opens to the public from 12 May and is free to enter.

[Top painting by Trần Nhật Minh] 

12 May - 26 May 2024

9AM - 6PM

Lotus Gallery