A Hanoi coffee shop with transparent walls and chic interiors has found favor as a hangout rendezvous among many young people.
Using the space of a demolished old house on Mai Hac De Street in Hai Ba Trung District, the Tropical Forest cafe succeeds easily in being different. Its facade is plain and simple, but striking and modern.
The idea of the owners is to create a garden space in a coffee shop with “a tropical ecosystem of many trees to get a close feeling to nature without too much investment”.
The main structure of the building is its steel frame over which polycarbonate sheets are stretched. This material is transparent, allowing 80 percent of the light to pass through it. Except for a wall behind the bar, all walls and even the roof uses polycarbonate sheets.
The shop has only one floor, but its height of 10 m allows for trees with long trunks to be planted inside, not to mention letting plenty of natural light in.
The coffee shop has two main spaces. The outside is designed like a garden with a gravel floor. Tall trees are planted along the sides. The steel frame, painted white, contrasts well with the green of plants and trees.
Dang Viet Loc (L) and Dang Tra Phuong, architecture students at the National University of Civil Engineering, are practicing drawing. They said they choose to sit in the cafe often to drink coffee and do their sketching work because of the open space, beautiful light and multiple views of the street.
The cafe has a space separated from its open exterior by a glass wall which has a shiny stainless steel door that adds to its modern, minimalist look.
The natural light allowed in by the transparent ceiling and walls brightens an interior that uses a lot of greenery and earthen tones.
Apart from trees and palms planted directly in the ground, there are hanging ferns and plants in glass jars of various sizes surrounding a terracotta Buddha.
The cafe’s serving station sticks to the overall scheme of simple elegance, its earthen color giving it an eye-catching look.
From the bar, people can view everything outside.
Another special feature of the cafe is that a wide variety of ornamental plants on display can be bought for tens to hundreds of thousands dong (a couple to several dozen dollars).
The steel furniture also stays true to the minimalist theme, giving the whole place a unique charm.
The cafe serves coffee, fruit juices and cakes, with prices starting from VND30,000 ($1.3).