Friday, May 21, 2010

Saigon's Reunification Hall

Saigon’s former presidential palace is an exploration into 1960s psychedelic interiors. Behind the modern facade of ‘bone joints’ of what is now Reunification Hall, what now looks kitsch was all designed under instruction: certain carpet colours were chosen to either stimulate or calm users meeting in the rooms and the whole site and orientation was deigned suitable for construction by Chinese geomancers. The site lived life as the French residence, then Southern regime president Ngo Dinh Diem’s palace before being reborn as another Presidential Palace of the Southern regime after pilots bombed the original residence in an attempt to assassinate Diem in 1962. Many visitors want to see the North Vietnamese Army tank that crashed through the gates of the palace (immortalised in news images that flashed around the world) on 30 April 1975, Liberation Day. The one stationed in the forecourt, however, is a replica.

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