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A corner building in HCMC has been transformed from a kindergarten to a cafe with curves and coffee-colored fittings to soften and smooth. Module K found the DNA for the Katinat Cafe project: a rough shell embracing a warm soul. The site, at the corner of an intersection, was once a kindergarten with a swimming pool inside. The clients wanted to keep the existing structure but remove glossy coats of paint and give the space a robust atmosphere. Katinat, a chain of more than 50 cafes in Vietnam, is named after a prominent old street (named Rue Catinat before 1975), the site of famous colonial buildings.

Dung Le, Project Manager said: “We wanted customers to experience different spatial environments and emotional experiences when enjoying coffee products, but to still keep the special branded atmosphere of Katinat.” “We chose the design of curved counters and curved stairs with galvanized materials shaped to create the strength of the structure. And then used thin metal sheets to wrap that texture and continue to create counterbalancing curves.”

The new interior design sees terrazzo floors and rough concrete columns. Double height windows bring in light and connect the interior to outside. Walls of glass bricks patterned with the shapes of the Katinat brand are softly backlit on the outside, and inside create delicate patterns on horizontal surfaces.

A sculptural circular concrete staircase with illuminated steel steps connects the ground floor with a curved mezzanine level. At the center is a stainless steel organically shaped coffee bar, framed at different levels with bronze strips. Patrons sit on curved cocoa-colored banquettes or at cinnamon-colored seats with small circular tables of pale terrazzo. Banisters topped with bolster cushions to lean against create a relaxed vibe and delineate spaces. Outside seating features Parisian-style tables and chairs.

Interior elements add some froth to the space – ovoid brand-shaped mirrors are framed with bronze, whilst large-faced clocks, reminiscent of old French clocks, sit atop bar tables. Lighting includes cream-colored wall lamps set within vertical wall elements, double-arm table lamps, and suspended ceiling lights. The color range blends from pale latte to warm mocha to dark espresso, from cool to warm. Shots of bronze punctuate the monochrome scheme, bringing a contemporary twist. A blend of textures and patterns.

The design and construction were completed in 65 days in the post-lockdown period in Vietnam. Module K and Soulroom designed the interiors of the HCMC project as part of a Katinat Coffee Master Concept 2022, having already completed 15 previous projects for the brand. The design team finds unique elements for each project, bringing some French details into the space, with the design acting as a bridge between the old and new, between the client brand and the user.

Architects: Module K
Design Team: Phuong Dung, Thuy Trang, Nghiep Thong, Diep Binh Quyen, Phu Binh, Hanh Nguyen, Kim Anh, Ngoc Han, Khanh Di, Dai Nghia, Quang Minh.
Photographs: Do Sy


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