Visiting Ho Chi Minh City’s Beta Cinema by Module K is a bit different than a traditional movie theatre. Designed to celebrate the beauty of old Saigon, this cinema is finished with bold colors and forms to reimagine typically dark aesthetics found in older cinemas. The architects explain that the fresh color palette–which includes flamingo pink, sea green, and bright orange—and the geometric detailing is inspired by the vintage glamour of Art Deco architecture.
Module K describes this playful aesthetic as a contemporary version of classic vernacular themes. “We captured the iconic features of Saigon and transformed them by stripping details, condensing the basic lines, and turning them into geometric shapes,” says Jade Nguyen, director of Module K. “Then we applied a technique of solid color treatment, as used in graphic design and cartoons, to bring a unifying element.”
Though the geometric additions could have been selected as ornamental additions to fit the theme, each element holds special meaning. The Indochine green dome is inspired by the colonial Central Post Office, the pigeons above the interiors are inspired by those found at the Municipal Opera House and the Paris Commune Square, and the ticket counter is inspired by Ben Thanh Market—to name a few local references.
All of these architectural references to local areas are elegantly tied together in a contemporary and playful interpretation. “The client wanted to convey a message of pride in Saigon landmarks, but not with the usual Indochine style. And we wanted to move away from the typical cinema design—dark and moody—so we tried to create a funky and welcoming space with locations for connecting, eating, drinking pre and post film showings.” This happy combination resulted in the iconic new Beta Cinema in Ho Chi Minh City.
If you enjoyed this design for Beta Cinema, you can expect to see more similarly vibrant and playful theater designs by Module K for Beta group in the near future. Plus, you check out another example of contemporary Art Deco-inspired architecture: Pharrell Williams’ Goodtimes Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.