Ho Chi Minh City's cool homegrown Ikea

By Kim , Thanh Nien News

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Ceramic products on display at Sadec District. Photo: Kim Ceramic products on display at Sadec District. Photo: Kim
A carefully-curated collection of hand-crafted South-East Asian items is now on display at the sleek new Sadec District in Ho Chi Minh City
A new store opened at the top of HCMC’s District 1 in April, providing the city with a sleek place to shop for cool local products.
Sadec District occupies the revamped shell of a Hue-style restaurant near the top of Nguyen Huu Canh Street. The owners, a group of Ho Chi Minh City-based journalists and art directors gutted the place, transforming the once cheesy eatery into a chic warehouse space filled with quality clothing, furniture, trinkets and household items – all of which were made in Vietnam and surrounding countries.
All of our items are inspired or bought from villages and towns along the Mekong. That’s the idea: discovering new cultures one bit, one piece, at a time.” – Ha Tan Cuong, a founder of Sadec District

All of our items are inspired or bought from villages and towns along the Mekong. That’s the idea: discovering new cultures one bit, one piece, at a time.” – Ha Tan Cuong, a founder of Sadec District

The building still smelled of fresh paint when it opened in 3A Station — a long wide alleyway closed to motorbike traffic and open to artists. New studios and galleries continue to open up and down the road, which still feels strangely under-trafficked.
Unlike the squawky, low-quality chaos of the city's existing knick-knack shops, Sadec District provides a cool place to hang out.
“It's been a real journey gathering hundreds of distinctive items in Vietnam and South East Asian countries” Ha Tan Cuong, one of Sadec District’s founders told Thanh Nien News.
Cuong, a former senior journalist at Sai Gon Tiep Thi newspaper, got the idea to open a store that would curate elegant, everyday items last year and spent months looking for quality suppliers.
The store’s name, Sadec, refers to one of the places in southern Vietnam where the Mekong river ends.
“All of our items are inspired or bought from villages and towns along the Mekong,” he said.

Sadec District quickly made its name as a place for distinctive ceramics and crafts — a combination of traditional tools and sleek contemporary style.
Amai ceramics stand out as the perfect example.
The line of ceramics, flatware and wooden housewares sells for, at minimum, US$5 per item.
But it's already become popular here in Vietnam and in Japan.
The brand was created by Ingrid Ploem and Ina Stas who came to Ho Chi Minh City five years ago. Drawing on traditional Vietnamese pottery, their creations adopted unusual, rumpled forms.

Sadec District

3A Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
www.facebook.com/SadecDistrict
They're best known for tough ceramic cups that somehow resemble paper folded into one's palm.
Cuong also pointed out the shop's unbranded collection of Cambodian dinnerware sets which stand out thanks to a denim-inlaid pattern on each piece.
“The technique was nearly lost after most of the artisans were murdered during the Pol Pot regime; it is now seeing a revival among artists from Belgium, France and Turkey as well as group of native craftsmen,” he said noting that the collection is one of this favorites.
Showing a few things from the Philippines like the table cloth naturally embroidered from Rafia free fiber in Cebu island (starting at $10) and an enamel-plated Thai mess tin ($15) Cuong said that, at times, the store just wants to introduce Vietnamese customers to items that characterize the day to day lives of the people around them.
“I think that this colorful broom would be familiar to any Filipino, but it becomes special in Vietnamese people’s eyes, as they have never seen or used it before,” he said. “If I handed a Filipino a Vietnamese broom, I'm sure they'd feel the same way. That’s the idea: discovering new cultures one bit, one piece, at a time.”

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