By Richie Fawcett

The Balcony at The Studio Saigon is one of the pleasing aspects of the concept and balances the inside with the outside through contrasting dark and light coupled with design and nature, best enjoyed from 4pm until dusk with a steady flow of gin and tonics from the trolley…

The Balcony at The Studio Saigon, over looking Ly Tu Trong, one of the busiest streets in District 1.

At the time we set up the space the balcony was a storage dump for old shelves not used by the clothes shop that was here previous to The Studio Saigon coming along.

The Building where The Studio Saigon is found. 42, Ly Tu Trong is an Art Deco apartment block that was once a highly desirable residence in its hey day. Now its a mixed use residential and commercial building with cafes, restaurants, and art gallery and a private bar.

I admit being not particularly green fingered back then and the concept to create a living balcony of lush creepers and over hanging flowering vines was my green fingered partner and wife Chi Duyen.

When we took over the space the Balcony was used as a dump for old shelves with huge potential to make it a main attractive feature and outdoor space to socialize.
The same view as the previous picture showing the cozy window seat and the balcony over looking the busy Ly Tu Trong street in District 1.

I had my own contribution to make which was a collection of 8 miniature bonsai trees that were placed on the front 4m ledge when we first opened. I’ve been called Mr Myagi by a few people, but I’m far from that.

Bonsai Trees were the first balcony decorations, later herb boxes have been added and the bonsai collection has Tamarind tree saplings as their new neighbors.

The bonsais have slowly been replaced with sapling Tamarind trees that I now nurture.

Tamarind tree saplings on the balcony at The Studio Saigon.

When it rains the balcony can be a very peaceful location despite the busy street below, the tree cover and foliage muffle the sound.

The Balcony is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city, especially calming when it rains.

The Morning sun shines on the balcony from 7pm until 12midday in all seasons including the rainy season, when it usually rains in the afternoon or evening.

Blooming Balconies in the middl of the city can be possible with care and patients. The balcony at The Studio Saigon has taken over 4 years to mature to what it is now.

Having a balcony attached to the bar area of the Studio is a perfect location for drinkers to go for a cigarette or enjoy a different atmosphere.

The Window seat at The Studio Saigon is the perfect spot to read a book.

The Key to a blossoming balcony is sun and water with good soil nutrients. For the Saigon climate and limited sunshine go for the local choice, it works…so don’t try and introduce something that won’t take to the conditions, you’ll only end up having to start again, wasting valuable time. Ideally you can make a head start with yourself and cheat a little with the help of nursery plants of a year old or so to give the feeling of establishment very quickly. We didn’t do this, choosing to start from scratch, a harder and longer commitment, but worth the result.

Bougainvilla or Hoa Giay

If you have a doorway, a beautiful and abundant pairing to flank this entrance is the palm tree, use two either side if you have space for the maximum statement of “enter the exotic”. We only have room for one, yet the very presence adds the air of all things exotic, the palm tree is a hardy and beautiful addition to any balcony or frontage. We love palms at The Studio Saigon.

Palm trees are a great shade provider.

In fact we love Palms, Pandan, Bonsai, and especially Bougainvillea…in Vietnamese Hoa Giay and Hoa Jun.

Classic Pandan in the Herb boxes at The Studio Saigon Balcony, a great flavor in some top The Cocktails from the bar.

The Balcony has recently been quiet with only the artist in residence using it for his breakfast.
The Balcony is ready and waiting for when the situation improves, for now, it’s blooming.
Exotic birds find shelter under the canopy and show the variety of bird life in the City centre.

Please Check out the Channel if you have time, along with the link below to my new and regular blog feed “On The Blog” and website. Thank you for your support of The Studio Saigon and stay safe.





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