Les Grands Magasins Charner

This is a short project I collaborate with accessories brand Aup.

I designed this linen canvas tote bag, which pays tribute to more than a century in existence of Les Grands Magasins Charner – Thuong Xa Tax.

The building was built in Saigon at the end of the 19th century and originally named Les Grands Magasins Charner (GMC), a shopping mall with its French influenced architecture. Looking at the old photos of this department store, I thought of Galeries Lafayette or Les Bon Marché in Paris…

This building is about to be demolished to build a more modern building and a metro station. Although it has been re-contructed a few times in the past (the last time was 2003) and does not keep all of its original architecture, this news still make Saigon people very sad. Thuong Xa Tax has been a very symbolic building of Saigon, where almost all of us used to long to visit every weekend when we were kids: just to have an ice cream, run on stairs and corridors and look at pretty things displayed…

Therefore I wanted to make this memory into something that I can carry with me: a bag. A simple tote bag.

This tote has 2 versions: 1880 and 2014, 2 important years of Thuong Xa Tax. The prints are made in black and white and vintage mood. They are photos of memorable details of Thuong Xa Tax which I took and also an old photo of Les Grands Magasins Charner when it was first built.

The stairs and its details have been kept in the original state of what was built in 1880s with materials imported from France, which is really a surprise for me. I printed that on the back of the 1880s tote. For the 2014 version, the print in front is a photo of the view of the whole building right now in 2014, the back of the tote is a picture I took of the beautiful lights lanterns hanging from the top at the center of the building.

The tote is made of linen canvas, my favourite material. It gives the bag an organic, natural feeling. I can take this tote bag out with any outfit, on any day, without thinking.

Only a limited quantity available at:

Aup store, G03, 2nd floor, Thuong Xa tax, Hochiminh city. (just until 25 September)

and also at Heverly, 5F Tran Nhat Duat, Tan Dinh, District 1, Hochiminh city. (until sold out).

International buyer can find me on Depop: @mimiminhnguyen. Stocks shipped from Paris from the 25th September.

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