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Module K reinterprets Ho Chi Minh City’s historic architecture in this candy-coloured cinema

August 3, 2021

Vietnamese practice Module K has designed a kaleidoscopic cinema in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City by paying homage to its former incarnation Saigon’s architectural heritage.
With the pandemic causing widespread disruption to the cinemagoing experience, designers have to be more creative in conjuring new ways to bring people back to the cinemas.

The hip 186m2 (2,000 sq ft) cinema focuses on bold colors and strong geometric shapes. The small details in the design refer to important historical buildings of the city, such as the Opera House in French colonial style, the Ben Thanh Market, the Central Post Office, the Tan Dinh Church and the Paris Commune Square. The design team has reinterpreted the historic architectural style in a modern way.

“We captured and transformed Saigon’s iconic features by removing details and turning baselines into geometric shapes. Then, as in graphic design and cartoons, we used a technique of solid colour treatment to create a unifying element.”

Jade Nguyen, Module K director


The pastel colour palette of the cinema, which is located on the ground floor of a shopping centre, references the 1930s Art Deco buildings of Miami Beach pastel reigns. Flamingo pink, sea green and neon orange characterise the Art Nouveau-inspired interior of the cinema hall.

The spatial transition from one zone to another is marked by differently coloured blocks and cubes, conveying a sense of depth. The main entrance is characterised by changing geometric shapes. A dome in Indochine green is emblazoned above the central hall and the seating area, reminiscent of the high domed ceiling of the colonial Central Post Office.

A spiral staircase in the holding company Beta Media’s logo colour blue sets the tone for other details, such as the cement tile floor with its Oriental-Asian patterns. The installation of luminous birds under the ceiling symbolises the flocks of pigeons that live around the City Opera and on Paris Commune Square.

The teal blue-coloured ticket office is inspired by the colonnades of Ben Thanh Market. Circular cutouts in the walls and ceiling contrast the repetitive shapes. The side lobby and the corridors, meanwhile, represent the small alleys and street life of Ho Chi Minh City. The corridor to the hall features rainbow-coloured arches. The mezzanine and ground floor are connected by corridors that wrap around the building. 


Several semicircular loggias form check-in corners offering an expansive view of the room. Asymmetrical arched pillars to the right of the check-in counters pay homage to the rose-hued Gothic style of the Tan Dinh Church. The pastel pink scheme continues on stairs that wind around the columns, the step shapes of which are repeated in balustrades. Inside the cinema, backlit, diamond-shaped grooves alternate in orange and lemon tones.

The playful geometric shapes are also seen in the furniture, such as circular and square chairs on the mezzanine. The furniture comes from the local companies Soulroom and RPB Furniture

The Beta Group, founded by entrepreneur Minh Bui, operates 20 movie theatres in the northern part of Vietnam. Its upcoming project is another cinema on the tourist island Phú Quốc, which will also be designed by Module K.

Photos: Module K

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