lifestyle • 04 Aug, 2016
5 Of Our Favorite Concept Stores in Saigon
Part exhibition spaces, showrooms, and coffee shop, the city’s coolest shops get a shoutout
While people may laud the ease of e-commerce, concept stores act as the vanguard for brick-and-mortar institutions around the world. Saigon’s cache of multifaceted retailers is impressively not as small as one would assume.
Whether you are looking to stock up on globally sourced knicknacks or hip homegoods, there are more than a few spaces where curation and design perform in perfect harmony. We’ve rounded up a collection of noncommittal stores that confidently play in many arenas, championing the market with their distinctive appeal.
For more of Saigon’s finest, here are 10 cafes we love in District 1.
Images courtesy of @lusinespace, @__agnyuht
The concept: With an ethos of celebrating only the best in craft and design, L’Usine is committed to being the lifestyle one-stop, with a café, bistro and shop all under one roof. If you’re not obsessing over the smorgasbord of moist cakes on display, you’ll be at odds with what to purchase from their inventory of uncommon goods.
If you’re looking for… Artisanal items that celebrate heritage and quality. There are Herschel backpacks, stationery from Rifle Paper Co, and a number of high-fashion clothing brands from rag&bone to Mink Pink. If you’re looking for your first investment piece, no need to look any further.
Vibes: Modest sophistication, classic interiors ergo the minimalist, industrial trappings bedecked with fairy lights. Retro-inspired wall murals dress the barren walls, which are only periodically empty given the fact that the space doubles as an art gallery too.
Brands on our radar… Kenzo, Commes Des Garcons, Herschel, rag&bone, Marshall Artist, Cheap Monday
Address: 151/1 Dong Khoi, D1 and 70B Le Loi, D1
Images courtesy of Thai Cong
The concept: A home decor warehouse brimming with luxury items, curated by interior design magnate Thai Cong. Vietnam’s only themed-showroom circuit is located on the second floor. Dine at the in-house restaurant or swig a cocktail at the bar modeled as an aquatic garden oasis. There is also an European-inspired flower shop.
If you’re looking for… A banquet of eclectic items ranging from velveteen ottomans to a menagerie of zoological odds and ends.
Vibes: Tamed lavishness, charmingly eccentric, redolent of exotic escapades.
Brands on our radar… No specific brands. The imported goods owe their desirability to the ever-changing nature of the stock, handpicked by Cong himself.
Address: 215 Nguyen Van Huong, D2
Images courtesy of The Maker and @bhoachau
The concept: A workshop corner spaced between two floors in the 42 Nguyen Hue building. On the first floor is a fashion-focused store overflowing with your next closet additions while the third floor houses the cafe operations. This is a playground for the makers and shakers of this town looking for a heavy dose of inspiration with caffeine on the side.
If you’re looking for… Trendsetting, high-street pieces that won’t break the bank with a heavy emphasis on black and gray. The fashion is anything but dreary. Just don’t expect some chichi buys.
Vibes: Dynamic and pulsing with energy, time becomes obsolete as you begin to daydream and nurture your next big idea. Mellow afternoons morph into rowdy evenings, the air heavy with a growing chatter.
Brands on our radar… Gong Vo, Sahu Store, LizT, Leo Par, Jansport, Notime2Explain, VStation
Address: 1/F, 42 Nguyen Hue, D1
Images by Cao Tri
The concept: A open-air complex of cafe, lounge, and lifestyle store that celebrate local ‘made-in-Vietnam’ products of originality and authentic quality. Set inside a renovated warehouse, its meticulous arrangement of greenery and woody industrial furniture brings out a smart and laid-back outlook.
If you’re looking for… Elegant bohemian clothings, normcore essentials, quirky home decor items, or a breezy gathering with friends over some chice cocktails.
Vibes: Bright, spacious, and cosy.
Brands on our radar… House of Dharma, Ekokami, Sinhtolina, Rabbithollic, Miss30, Ekokami, La Fiancée du Facteur, Meraki
Address: 24 Thao Dien, D2
Images courtesy of Ginkgo
The concept: Gingko was founded on a principle of sustainability and fair trade. The shop’s iconic shirts designed in-house have gained a reputation among tourists but that’s not all you’ll find. Other mementos include locally sourced organic products such as delicatessen coffee, as well as stationery keepsakes.
If you’re looking for… Souvenirs that won’t appear too kitsch or tacky. Think of it as an upgrade from the run-of-the-mill fare found at Ben Thanh Market.
Vibes: Convivial and colorful, an airy abode with an open door policy. The well-lit space makes the artfully designed shirts all the more enticing. The shop exudes so much warmth and no ill-will, from all the fairtrade products on the shelf to the all-smiles staff.
Brands on our radar… Gingko T-Shirts, Zo Paper, Marou Chocolate, Sense Asia, Dong Gia Ceramics
Address: 92-96 Le Loi Street, Ben Thanh, D2 (various locations around Vietnam)
Words by Izzy Pulido, Quyen Hoang