- VIET HOA BAR
Completed April 2010
After the success of the café on the ground floor, VIET HOA BAR opened its doors to the fashionable crowd of Shoreditch London, in what is its first entry into the bar/club market.
The new VIET HOA BAR, a 150 square meter paean to what is probably best described as "garden tatami", is causing feverish excitement among the city's well-heeled fashion-lovers. Patrons are beside themselves with joy at the thought of finally being able to lounge on the grass bare-footed on the bar's sunken hearth in the floor of the bar centre lounge area - all without first having to find the nearest park (or being rain on in London's rainy weather).
Londoners who are familiar with Japan, the use of tatami flooring has influenced the development of tea ceremony. For instance, when walking on tatami it is customary to shuffle, to avoid causing disturbance. Shuffling forces one to slow down, to maintain erect posture, and to walk quietly, and helps one to maintain balance as the combination of tabi and tatami makes for a slippery surface. At VIET HOA BAR's garden tatami, the sunken hearth in the floor maintains all of the tatami's Zen characteristics but made with purpose-built grass resilient for any hard-hitting club-goer.
There are dozens of real and imaginary lines that crisscross the bar's garden tatami. These are used to determine the exact placement of legless chairs and individual tables - where the joins serve as a demarcation indicating where people should sit, recline or lounge.
Interior view of the bar houses a moss wall across the entire 15 meter-length of the establishment and a customary hanging scroll, flower arrangement and light bulb installation resembling a flying bird.
The bar's USP is that it sells a tasteful edit of the sort of stylishly eclectic Vietnamese cocktails coupled with the ever-popular café cuisine. One of the most eclectic offerings is a row of light installation that looks like birds flying over the garden.
If your ideal occasion includes a lie on the greenery of the park (but you never got further than one tube block due to rain), fear not: VIET HOA BAR does all the hard work for you. On closer inspection you realise the bar is made entirely out of recycled materials such as wood, OSB boards, dried moss, recovered park benches, strands from plasterboards.
With a new branch planned for the second VIET HOA brand, its fans will secretly be hoping it doesn't spread its wings too far. Too late: their little secret is out.
But no matter how ubiquitous the café and bar becomes, its hospitality and design will always feel anything but.