top of page

The influence of French Design in Vietnam

A quick history of French Vietnam

The French presence in Asia starts from the reign of Louis XIV, around 1650.

In 1686, France will send Catholic monks to Annam and Tonkin, assigned as “scouts”, in order to establish contacts with the local lords and the various powers in place, and inform the French colonial authorities. These missionaries were not always welcomed favorably, being victims of persecution from the local authorities, which pushed the French State to consider an intervention.

French colonization of the peninsula really began in 1858 under the Second Empire.

The French were few in Indochina, which was not a population settlement but primarily an area of ​​economic exploitation, thanks to its many raw materials ( rubber, minerals, rice, etc.).

With the exploitation of said ressources by the French, the Vietnamese economy experienced a "boom" in the 1920s, and the country earned its title of the "pearl of the empire".

During all this time, France developed health, communication, administrative and education systems in the Indochinese regions, with all necessary constructions.

Administrative buildings, schools, hospitals, ports, hotels, churches, in short, all the avatars of a French city were represented in Vietnam, an infrastructural effort that will last until Vietnam's independence from France in 1954 (after a 9 years war).

Historical Landmarks: French Architecture in Vietnam

During this century of French presence in Vietnam, the local cities and in particular those of Hanoi, Saigon and Dalat will be adorned with architectural works faithful to the standards of metropolitan France.

The Notre-Dame de Saigon Cathedral will echo that of Paris, as will the Town Hall and the Opera House. Many other buildings still standing today will populate the Saigon landscape: the central post office, the Tan Dinh church, the Catinat prison, the Turtle lake, the Ben Thanh market, the museum of fine arts, the Mong bridge, the Majestic hotel and the Continental hotel, and, of course, the train station.

In Hanoi, the best examples of French architecture and taste are the opera house, the presidential palace, Saint Joseph's cathedral, the Long Bien bridge, or the Vietnamese History Museum (formerly the French Institute for Research).

All over the country, many more examples of French know-how emerge from the land, in Cap Saint Jacques (Vung Tau), in Dalat, or in other stations for the elite, such as in Nha Trang, Sa Pa, or the heights of Da Nang.

Thus, almost everywhere in Vietnam, one can still see traces of the French colonial past.

French Design in Vietnam in the XXIth century

Nowadays, many French companies have established themselves in Vietnam, and architectural firms as well as interior design agencies are no exception, leaving their mark on the country.

French Architects Companies in Vietnam

Regarding French architectural firms in Vietnam, we can cite the following:

  • France Vietnam Architecture : created in the mid-2000s, FVA have offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In the capital city, they have realized the following buildings: Petrolimex Aviation Services, Savills Offices, and the International Center.

  • Adrien Desportes Architects : also founded in the mid-2000s, they are responsible for an interesting number of buildings (offices, restaurants, shops, hotels, but also homes), such as the Cholimex Tower in Saigon, the French Hospital in Hanoi, and the Manna Resort in Nha Trang.

  • T3 Architects : This agency features a great variety of works, with the design of Dojo Saigon, a Bioclimatic Villa, Espace France (under construction), the Ivoire Pastry Boutique, the Belgo Brewery, and much more !

  • Archetype Group : One of the largest architect company in Vietnam. We owe to Archetype the following works: Etown Central in Saigon, the Hanoi Academy School, the Saigon Pearl in Saigon, the T&T complex in Hanoi.

French Interior Design Companies in Vietnam

LifestyleConnected is also a representative of the French approach applied to interior design.

Founded in Saigon by Marielle Genet after a career within the AccorHotels group which brought her to Vietnam, the French interior design agency LifeStyleConnected has already made a name for itself!

Whether it is offices, stores, restaurants, or residential spaces, our portfolio is expanding year after year with prestigious references such as Audi, Moet Hennessy, Air France or Thalès.

If you are looking for an interlocutor or a French vision in your interior design project, do not fail to contact us!

Recent French-inspired Buildings in Vietnam

A fair amount of villas, stores or businesses also flaunt their French heritage in the design of their buildings, with many old buildings from the French Era being revisited with a modern touch, such as Le Square Epicier, in Thao Dien, Ho Chi Minh City, located in a villa dating from the 19th century.

Source:, Photography by Luca Rotondo/Photofoyer

945 views0 comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page