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…
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.
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.
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.
The bonsais have slowly been replaced with sapling Tamarind trees that I now nurture.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
In fact we love Palms, Pandan, Bonsai, and especially Bougainvillea…in Vietnamese Hoa Giay and Hoa Jun.
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