Colonized by France in the 1880s, Vietnam fell under French influence in many aspects of its culture, including art, architecture, fashion and cuisine. After Vietnam’s independence in the 20th century, those influences remained, and they can be still seen around. They are most visible in architecture, with the work of French architects, especially in the main cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). Villas in different European styles line the streets in the French Quarter of the capital and in Saigon you can admire the Central Post Office, which was designed by Gustave Eiffel. Another well know pioneer of the Indochine design in architecture was Ernest Hebrard, who fused local and European elements. Below a few colonial buildings I have seen.
During my vacations I had also a chance to discover the Vietnamese traditional interior design style visiting the XIX house. This is a typical design with a front house, a back house and a brick or stone yard in between to separate the public space dedicated to shops with Vietnamese traditional handicraft from the private rooms. With their old yellow paint and rustic wood shutters it is very charming, simple but sophisticated. Inside there are traditional ornamented wooden furniture and oriental decorations.
Obviously there are oriental decorational accessories and colors: the dragon red, blue and white china, jade green (Catherine Deneuve has beautiful jade earings in the movie). I liked that these motives are also visible in the contemporary ceramics.
Chinese garden stools are very popular, often placed in restaurants, hotels and even pn the streets of Ho Chi Minh:
Oriental influences are visible in beautiful colorful fabrics. Dragons, flowers, plants and clouds decorated the clothes of mandarines in the monarchist days of Vietnam. Later, similar fabrics were used in upholstery.
The Indochine style won my heart. It combines to many elements I have liked for some time now. I look back to the great photos of the book "Beautiful" and I see a new context. My selection of home accessories is already influenced as you can see in this jade elephant candle.