Inventive Structures Explore Lighting and Shadows in Vietnam's Tall House |
Inventive Structures Explore Lighting and Shadows in Tall House

Inventive Structures Explore Lighting and Shadows in Tall House

Shadow patterns create their own wall art

Isobel McKenzie
Written by –
Isobel McKenzie
on August 8th 2017
Originally from London, Isobel is enthralled by the curves and lines that make up a city. It's fascinating to see how modern skyscrapers and historic landmarks muddle together. Her Instagram feed @Isobel_McKenzie is usually full of spiral staircases and tall buildings. Can also be found on Twitter.. sometimes.

QT House


As space becomes a premium, the buildings move upwards. The QT House is just one of the many examples of tall narrow buildings in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city. Using inventive lighting and quirky design ideas the house showcases creative and bold design choices despite its small blueprint.

Windows exteriors with facade |

As most of the Hanoi neighborhoods grow, adapting to the hustle and bustle of the city, a landscape of aluminium roofs, small balcony gardens and different size windows dot the view. It was with this architectural mixing in mind that the QT House was designed; to frame the beautiful bits and create spaces of contemplation.

Exterior for QT House|

Entering at street level on a quiet alley, we have a curious mixed use for the floor; a ramp and folding screen door make it easy to bring in scooters to the garage for off-street bike parking.

House rules engraved on the metal panel of the stairwell |

Rusted metal sheets were laser cut to produce a set of panels for the staircase. Words of affirmation and a list of the house rules are stenciled on. Among these rules, you’ll notice the instructions to love one another, hold your head high, and remember to give thanks. These reminders of contemplation aren’t the only places for pause in the house, but just the beginning.

Metal patterns on the stairs create patterns |

What’s pretty spectacular is the way that lighting through the panels and floating steps creates something really majestic on the wall, giving the pattern an intriguing and striking display.

Rusted metal staircase with light shining through each step |

With the meeting of iron sheets and dark wood, the lighting creates a dappled sunlight effect where letters dance across the walls and floor.

Positive words in the hallway with metal material |

At the back of the garage, there is a kitchen and dining room space, with a small atrium and toilet. The white palette sets neutral ground for the slivers of gray, and mustard yellow that ties in with the staircase.

Metal panel with family motto |

On the next floor up, we find a living room, bathroom and a home office space towards the back of the property. Similar colors to the downstairs create harmony with the decor flow.

Metal panel with family motto |
Rusted panel for the stairs |

The rusted metal “house rules” provide a partition for the room as well as acting as a personalized piece of home decor.

Rusted panel for the stairs |
Cool tones in the bedroom of QT House |

On the third floor there are two bedrooms and a shared bathroom. The larger of the bedrooms is street-facing. As was intended, the color palette and materials were kept the same as other floors in the house to make the spaces match each other while still being totally separate.

Cool tones in the bedroom of QT House |
Minimal home with storage hidden away |
Lighting filters through the walls |

The top floor of the building is one of my favorites! The patterns inlaid to the wall create a light and dynamic contrast to the industrial rusted metal of the staircase.

Ceiling fan whirrs in this living room that opens to the patio - QT House |

Proving that every home can have an outdoor space, there is a secret patio on the top floor that provides ample seating, a tree for greenery and doors that open wide enough to create a flow between indoors and outdoors.

Ceiling fan whirrs in this living room that opens to the patio - QT House |

In this context, a ceiling fan makes a lot more sense than air conditioning which requires a room to be boxed up. With a ceiling fan the home owners can enjoy the delights of a balcony with a steady cool breeze.

Tree planted in the courtyard, providing fluidity between indoors and outdoors |
Tree on the patio - view from the living room |
Rocking chair and living room area expands to outside with the corridor Light plays against the walls of QT House |

If that’s not the perfect place for a catio, or a spot for meditation, we’re sure that the altar room across the landing will provide the space necessary for downtime and quiet contemplation.

Exterior facade for QT House in vietnam |

The QT House is intriguing in its shape and design. Stacked in a small surface area, the flow we are used to seeing has been mixed up to get to the heart of what the owners required. Separate spaces for entertaining, family, and private time are joined together harmoniously through color and texture, while intriguing light patterns are interspersed throughout the home.


If you’re interested in seeing more home tours, enjoy this rustic Portuguese house that maintains its traditional ultramarine blue while going for quirky tiles in the kitchenAccidental Wes Anderson interiors are sure to brighten up your day, or check out the cutest of cats in this catio article.


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