Standing among the neighboring buildings of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi is “The Lantern”, an illuminating lighting gallery and showroom owned by electronics company, Panasonic.
Designed by architect firm, Vo Trong, Nghia (VTN), the aptly named studio has quickly gained a glowing reputation thanks to its architectural composition that casts a simple, yet significant impact on the surrounding landscape.
Located in the Dong Da district of Hanoi, the four-story building occupies a small 72-sqm plot of land and nearly blends into the hustle and bustle of the busy city. To help the building stand out, VTN crafted a bespoke facade using a network of 5,625 perforated terracotta brick-like tiles that instantly captivate the attention of passersby.
The terracotta pieces were traditionally used in Vietnam before air-conditioning became more wide-spread. Designed for tropical climates, they provide passive ventilation and shade from harsh sunlight.
While the aesthetical beauty and functionality of the tiles allowed for quick and simple assembly, the construction of the building was not without challenge. The surrounding foliage overshadowed the site making it difficult for visitors to locate the studio. However, the design team took this as a unique opportunity to consider the existing trees as usable exterior space.
They used the building’s decorative facade as a backdrop for the ever-changing greenery. During the day, shadows are cast upon the siding, bringing it to life. In the evening the building is illuminated from within, acting as a bright candle in the city.
Once the exterior structure of “The Lantern” was complete, VTN began work on the interior. An arrangement of steel and glass is set behind the facade. There is also a large void in the rear of the building, which ensures that daylight reaches all corners of the interior, including the basement.
Keeping to the theme, a perforated staircase was built to allow guests to view the products and exhibits on display as they traversed up and down the showroom.
The gallery sits on the top floor and overlooks a large neighboring tree, while skylights expose a rooftop garden. This outdoor space completes the vision intended by Panasonic, establishing “The Lantern” as a place where architects, designers and industry professionals can come together and connect.
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