Cafe Gian Giao (Scaffolding Cafe) is at 141 Hoang Van Thu Street in HCMC’s Phu Nhuan District. It has a unique design with scaffolding making up the main frame of the building.
It is 7 meters in height. Amid the scaffolding are a number of plants in wooden boats.
Ms Le Thi Kim (owner) said: “I was told by architects about designing scaffolding into a café. I thought this model was unique and new and so invested VND2 billion ($85,700) to build this place. This structure can last for about 10 years.”
The scaffolding poles were imported from overseas and are very solid. The pillar rods are reinforced with concrete foundations. The rest of the rods are well interlaced and coated with a layer of anti-corrosive paint, ensuring the installation is sturdy.
Ms Kim planted a lot of greenery around the café to provide shades and keep it cool in Saigon’s year-round heat.
In corners and on the terrace are 18 wooden boats with plants and their own automatic watering system. “I brought the boat from the Mekong Delta to soften up the place. When the plants grow, they will cover the whole place, creating a cool space and making you feel close to nature.”
Besides a ground floor, there’s a mezzanine with a wooden floor. Instead of using glass for the walls, Kim used plastic panels since they are lightweight and much easier to be installed.
A highlight of the café is an old power pole standing right in the middle. “This power pole has been here since 1975. The light at the top provides as much light as those on the street.”
The bar area is decorated with hundreds of ceramic electrical insulators. Vi said most of the interior space is designed with recycled items..
The stairs, tables, chairs, wooden floors … are also recycled items but still in good shape. They create a unique vibe for the place.
The door is made from corrugated iron sheet with a hammer and stone handle. The toilet is also built with reusable iron sheets.
The café has only just opened but there have been hundreds of visitors coming to enjoy coffee and take photos. My Phuong, a student, said: “I often go past Hoang Van Thu Street, I visited this place because it has such a unique and standout design. I didn’t think scaffoldings could be made into a unique café like this.”