Locatelli Partners imagines a cloud-like grocery store in Vietnam

The old meets the new in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City with Locatelli Partners' Le Square, a new grocery concept store enveloped in a semi-transparent mesh cladding

Le Square grocery complex by Locatelli Partners, Ho Chi Minh City
The complex’s exterior with its cladding
(Image credit: Luca Rotondo)

District 2 of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is one of the Southeast Asian urban hub’s fastest developing areas, currently making its way from being one of the poorest to one of the most modern.

Bridging old and new in this context is key to maintaining the city’s character and history, and this is the approach that Italian architecture firm Locatelli Partners took when designing its latest project there, French-style ‘epicerie’ grocery store complex Le Square.

Le Square grocery complex interior, Ho Chi Minh City

The arched new spaces inside the old villa, which houses shops and a restaurant.

(Image credit: Luca Rotondo)

The scheme, which combines an existing colonial-style villa and an L-shaped new build, contains food shops and a restaurant on the ground level, with co-working spaces and offices upstairs.

A delicate mesh cladding connects the old and new parts in a semi-transparent ‘cloud’. Different colour tones on the cladding help distinguish various parts of the new construction, while Massimiliano Locatelli and his team opened up the interior of the old villa to create generous, arched new spaces, maintaining the original stone staircase at its heart.

As originally featured in the November 2019 issue of Wallpaper* (W*248) – on newsstands now

Le Square grocery complex mesh cladding by Locatelli Partners

The complex’s delicate, cloud-like mesh cladding

(Image credit: Luca Rotondo)



Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).