By Udita Chaturvedi
Photography: Oki Hiroyuki; courtesy v2com
Read Time: 2 mins
Clay and pottery artist Le Duc Ha’s seven-metre-high terracotta studio is a beautiful cube-shaped, tropically-set building in clay bricks…
It is said that artists need open spaces to think; and so an open space was created for renowned Vietnamese clay and pottery artist Le Duc Ha in the rural district of Dien Phuong in Vietnam.
Sticking to their name, architectural firm Tropical Space Co. Ltd. has designed the artist’s workshop-cum-showroom on a site admeasuring 49 sq. m. Strategically situated amid green surroundings close to the Thu Bon River, the studio exemplifies the local flavour of an inherent dependence on agriculture and traditional craft such as terra cotta, silk or mat.
Almost like bringing alive the patterns of a chequered mat is the perforated clay brick wall of the studio (7m x 7m x 7m), which has been influenced by the country’s traditional furnace. The interleaved bricks allow natural ventilation and abundance of light, besides the refreshing sound of the nearby river and the constant wind in the air, creating a inside-outside connect. In this architecture, one can also see resemblance to the ancient Champa culture of then Cambodia.
Inside, a bamboo-frame platform accommodates two big benches, to support the floors. The cube-shaped studio is divided into three floors with a circular cavity on the mezzanine floor to allow direct sunlight to fall on the artist’s turning table right in the centre of the ground floor and to enable a good view of his work from the floors above. The entire wooden framework has integrated square shelves for displaying the works of art; a staircase to facilitate navigation; hallways to take a look around and seating benches for relaxation.
Keeping in mind the close proximity to the river and its susceptibility to floods, the space has been so designed that the artist’s work — finished, unfinished or left for drying — finds space on the upper shelves, leaving the ground floor free. On this floor, two voids in the structure, right opposite each other, allow views right through and a passage for entrance.
The entire space reflects clarity and openness, thereby creating a natural environment for freedom and movement of thoughts and creativity.