HÀ NỘI — Hanoi residents and tourists will have the chance to get inside the Hàng Đậu Water Tower when the 129-year-old building opens to the public today.
The space inside the building has been transformed into an impressive art venue with wooden walking paths and installations made from recycled waste.
|Built by the French in 1894, the Hàng Đậu Water Tower was the first significant public work that changed the urban landscape of Hà Nội at that time. — VNA/VNS Photo Thảo Quyên|
The experience will be enhanced by sound and lighting installations implemented by a design team consisting of architect Cao Thế Anh, artist Nguyễn Đức Phương and their partners.
While the sound installation recreates those of water in nature, the lighting arrangement intensifies the visual effect of decorative objects made from urban waste.
The makeover of the century-old water tower is part of the ongoing 2023 Hanoi Creative Design Festival organised by the city and the Việt Nam Association of Architects.
Built by the French in 1894, the Hàng Đậu Water Tower is located at the intersection of Hàng Than, Hàng Lược, Hàng Giấy, Hàng Đậu, Quán Thánh and Phan Đình Phùng streets. Together with the clean water supply system from Yên Phụ Water Plant at that time, the water tower was first significant public work that changed the urban landscape of Hà Nội.
Artist Phương who has been working in the transformation said the circular wooden walking path around the water tower is removable and screw-free, harmless for the entire building structure.
|The 129-year-old water tower opens to the public during the 2023 Hanoi Creative Design Festival. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Đức|
Once the tower opens to visitors, slots will be available for groups of 20 to 30 people at a time.
“Alongside the matter of limited space inside the venue, we have prioritised a serene environment to ensure an immersive artistic experience,” said artist Phương.
Crucial to creating a dynamic sound system are large water pots that are placed in several corners inside the tower. Visitors can ẹnjoy various water sounds that mimic seas, rivers, springs, underground sources, and rainfall.
Dating back to the 19th century, the pots, once used to diffuse rainwater, now serve to amplify natural water sounds. Phương explained that each pot generates a distinct sound achieved by pumping water into them and adjusting the water frequency and speed.
During the 2023 Hanoi Creative Design Festival that lasts until November 26, other historical sites like the Gia Lâm Train Factory, Hà Nội Railway Station and Long Biên Railway Station also host art events.
During the festival, Vietnam Railways will launch a three-car train between Hà Nội and Gia Lâm stations. There are two trains departing from Hà Nội station, at 8am and 1.20pm every day, and two from Gia Lâm Station at 10.55am and 4pm. The one-way ticket costs VNĐ20,000 per person.
|Gia Lâm Train Factory has been transformed into an art complex. — Photo courtesy of the organiser|
During the 30-minute journey, passengers will pass by the hundred-year-old Long Biên Railway Station and the iconic Long Biên Bridge. From the Gia Lâm Station, they can continue their journey back to the past by visiting the nearby Gia Lâm Train Factory to contemplate old French-style buildings and the Tự Lực locomotive – a symbol of the Việt Nam railway.
Manufactured circa 1965 by engineers of the Gia Lâm Train Factory, the locomotive transported goods, foodstuff, weapons and soldiers to support the nation's resistance war against the Americans.
“After the festival, we will evaluate the interest of tourists as well as the effectiveness of this route in attracting tourists and reviving Hà Nội's heritage, from which we will have proposals to operate this experience tour regularly," said Deputy General Director of Vietnam Railway Hoàng Năng Khang.
Old factory transformed into art complex
An old factory that is scheduled to be relocated out of the inner city, Gia Lâm Train Factory has been transformed into an art complex, aiming to ‘awaken’ heritage to create new and creative values for the capital city.
|Artworks made from old bonnets and car body panels by artist Trịnh Minh Tiến are on display at his exhibition Thủy Phủ (Water World) at the Gia Lâm Train Factory. — Photo hanoimoi.vn|
The once-abandoned factory now is a major venue hosting a feast of art and music performances during the festival.
A number of exhibitions that blend visual splendours and unique installation artworks will take place at different workshops and warehouses in the factory.
Inspired by Mother Nature, the Tiếng Gọi (The Call) installation exhibition by artist Thu Trần presents more than 40 silk paintings. Besides, an installation using more than 2,000 metres of silk and cotton fabric has conveyed the message “Be grateful and cherish and preserve what Mother Nature has created for us”. The exhibition is at the factory’s Workshop 3B1.
The factory’s Power Station 33B hosts the exhibition Quá Áp (Overvoltage) by artists Vy Trịnh and Vân Đỗ. The display showcases installations created from materials associated with the railway industry that were collected in the factory and neighbouring areas.
|Artists put final touches on water tower graffiti within the Gia Lâm Train Factory. — Photo hanoimoi.vn|
Artist Trịnh Minh Tiến unveils his artworks made from an old bonnet and car outer panels at his exhibition Thủy Phủ (Water World), while sculptor Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng depicts the life of ants through his creative works.
A rock concert featuring a lineup of Việt Nam’s favourite bands such as Khật, Thủy Triều Đỏ, Gas Station and Purple Blues will take place on an outdoor stage at the factory’s main yard tomorrow.
The ‘King Royal Pride 2023’ will gather graffiti artists who have been creating works on the walls of abandoned workshops in the factory. A performance combining graffiti and EDM (electronic dance music) will be held on November 24. — VNS