An’garden Cafe is located in the recently redeveloped Van Quan urban area, which is part of Hanoi’s densely populated Ha Dong district.
The building features a structural framework and angular concrete shell that encloses a large glazed facade facing the street.
The windows are interspersed with steel frames that resemble spreading tree branches. These shapes provide the first hint of the cafe’s natural theme, which is intended to soften the otherwise robust and industrial aesthetic of the architecture.
“While a house full of steel frame may sound dry and heavy, the impression of An’garden Cafe comes from impromptu hanging plant pots, conjuring up a vision of a dreamlike hanging garden,” Le House explained.
“The design both expresses industrial style and dominates other space design principles of traditional cafe shops that can be found on any Vietnamese streets.”
The building is separated from the pavement outside by a low concrete wall. Planters built into the walls create a more welcoming entrance that synchronises with the verdant interior.
Inside the cafe, a pared-back material palette of concrete, wood, black metal and patterned tiles creates a neutral backdrop for the variety of greenery.
The architects said they drew inspiration from the mythical Hanging Gardens of Babylon when creating an interior where the smells of coffee and climbing plants seek to “send you to another place than busy and noisy Hanoi.”
The building is arranged over several levels, with the ground floor providing the greatest amount of space for open seating.
Tables and chairs are arranged around a small pond filled with aquatic plants, which is positioned next to a staircase. A tree reaches up from a planter towards the levels above.
The stairs ascend to a pair of mezzanine floors providing additional seating that overlooks the pond, as well as several wooden planters suspended from the ceiling.
The top floor of the cafe provides a view of the sky through a large window and a glazed roof that is partly covered by timber louvres to protect the interior from direct sunlight.
On this level, guests can also choose to sit outside on a covered terrace lined with bamboo-filled planters.
Photography is by Hyroyuki Oki.