“This space is the only one of its kind in Ho Chi Minh City,” described Le Ngoc My, Gallery Manager of 3A Station, an Alternative Arts Area set within an unassuming area of District 1 that artists, designers, musicians and creative minds alike are increasingly choosing to frequent as their go-to hangout space and home away from home.
“At first we didn’t have so many people coming, but in the two years that we have been here there have been many changes,” furthered Le Ngoc My. “The building used to be a governmental office, but the owner [Mai Đỗ] who took over the space was interested in art and decided to make a space that would welcome creative activities. She invited graffiti artists to come and paint the walls and the whole venue has been slowly growing up.” The variety of activities the space supports could be reason for the diversity of its popularity, with everything from frequent live music events, dance competitions, fairs and even flea markets taking turn at filling the outdoor area running down the central corridor of the station. “We have created many events so that more people know about the space and have reason to come; once they’ve been here for a live music show or some other activity, they will likely come again.” A popular choice for many a photo shoot as well, the ever-evolving ‘concrete canvas’ of parallel walls layered with graffiti that embrace the outdoor environment are continuously changing as new work by both local and international street artists revive the space.
But putting outside aside, the indoor warehouse space is also home to a range of worthy finds, with 3A station choosing designers to occupy its warehouse rental shops with the upmost care, all the while keeping an eye out for that special something different. “Every shop that is here was chosen because they have something special,” described Le Ngoc My, “they apply and we see their products, then, if we think it is suitable, we invite them to join.” From handmade wooden jewelry and trinkets (WoodisChic) to contemporary fashion and accessories (FloralPunk) and regionally-made goods for the home (Sadec), shopping enthusiasts can enjoy the opportunity to not only browse the works of what 3A Station deems HCMC’s best-of-the-best, but also feel good about buying directly from the hands that crafted their purchase.