Phung Hung Street Art Brings Back Memories of Hanoi

Phung Hung Street public art project is taking Hanoi by storm. Ambitiously titled Public Art For Better Space, it lives up to its name by revitalizing Hanoi Old Quarter.

Phung Hung Public Art
… over time something has been lost. Some old streets no longer exist. Ancient houses had been demolished or rebuilt. Against those changes, the younger generation always wonders and thinks about the present and the past…
Phung Hung Street public art
Public Art For Better Space Project consists of 19 Phung Hung Street murals
Halfway around the world, in Morocco, we discovered a remarkable story told through the Azemmour Street Art.

Phung Hung Street murals are a heartwarming mixture of nostalgic and playful. In less than a year this open-air installation became one of the major Hanoi sightseeing attractions. Phung Hung Street frescos challenge Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural for the top spot in Hanoi public art scene. Arguably, they could be even more popular by now. Rapidly rising through the ranks, Phung Hung murals is a deserved new magnet for locals and tourists.

Phung Hung Street art
Out of three women, one is a work of art. Can you guess who?

Phung Hung street art vs. Phung Hung Street art

What street art has to do with this project? Actually, the post title is a play of words. Let’s take a closer look – Phung Hung street art vs. Phung Hung Street art. While looking identical, but the latter one hits the mark.

hanoi public art
An inspiring story about how art transformed the old rundown neighborhood

Moreover, Phung Hung Street murals are the epitome of public art. In other words, it checks off all boxes of its definition. The installation is accessible to all. It is free. Phung Hung Street art contributes to a sense of place and identity. It can shape the community and be a public voice to engage in conversation.

Phung Hung Murals
Phung Hung Street Murals quickly became a popular spot for taking pictures
Like Street Art? Check some amazing murals and graffiti around the world: Palermo, Sicily ~ Beirut, Lebanon ~ Stockholm, Sweden ~ Casablanca, Morocco ~ Paphos, Cyprus. Enjoy!

How to keep vanishing memories alive?

In Phung Hung murals, Hanoi found a creative visual solution to a common problem of old cities. The city combined preservation of the past with transformation of a part of Hanoi Old Quarter into a new must-visit site.

Hanoi Public Art
The old meets the new

Phung Hung street has been revived with stunning murals recalling city’s centuries-old charm and traditions. As a result, the unsightly walls sealing the spans of a railroad viaduct leading to the historic Long Bien Bridge were given a second chance.

Long Bien Bridge
The historic Long Bien Bridge through the eyes of an artist

Since February 2018 a quiet and a bit shabby spot became a favorite photo location and a cultural space for city dwellers and travelers alike.

Public Art For Better Space

Public Art For Better Space is a joint Vietnam-Korea project commemorating 25 years of diplomatic relations between two countries. Today, there are 19 murals in total out of which 8 were created by Korean artists, ten by Vietnamese, and one is the joint effort.

Public Art For Better Space
The old master at work

The overall theme was the thousand years of history of Hanoi. Therefore, all artists did their own research and used their favorite, in some cases unique, skills. The outcome? A fascinating mixture of traditional artwork, 3d-cutouts, metalwork, and even an old Honda motorcycle morphed into an epic story about a bygone era.

In the not so distant past, Honda motorcycle became a symbol of prosperity for many people. Phung Hung Street was the home of the first motorcycle market in Hanoi. After years in operation, the market has changed, but its memories love with locals forever.

Hanoi trompe-l’œil murals

One of the murals drew my attention. To illustrate, I called it 3d-cutout not knowing that this eye-catching type of art has a name. Trompe l’oeil literally means ‘deceives the eye’ in French. The art world took notice. After that, trompe-l’oeil became a word describing a painting or design intended to create the illusion of a three-dimensional object.

Hanoi trompe-l’œil murals
The illusion is amazing. The depth, the colors, the cutout figure complete the scene

For the locals, this project serves as a reminder of some disappeared landmarks or forgotten customs. Meanwhile, for the visitors, it is an opportunity to learn about the city from a different angle.

Public Art For Better Space
Thanks to Phung Hung Street murals, the bygone era is back in visual form
Here is another example of public art in the city environment – the Tamar Development Project in Hong Kong.

What lies ahead

The viaduct is part of the historic Long Bien Bridge, which carries the rail connecting Hanoi with the port city of Hai Phong. Subsequently, between 1900 and 1902, vaults were built into the spans of the viaduct. Phung Hung street murals are the first phase of the larger project that would eventually convert more than 100 derelict spaces into art galleries, shops, and cafés.

Dragon Dance
A modern twist on Dragon Dance

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Phung Hung Street art
Public Art For Better Space

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16 thoughts on “Phung Hung Street Art Brings Back Memories of Hanoi”

  1. I have travelled a few places in the world and really enjoyed street art and how they reflect the city’s culture and history at times and Phung Hung Street public art project is surely one which would top my list to visit and enjoy. The arches have been put to so much better use with the art on it and also helps attract people. I love the dragon dance one I must admit . Would be a great place for my children as well. Thanks for sharing a very artistic post.

  2. I have travelled a few places in the world and really enjoyed street art and how they reflect the city’s culture and history at times and Phung Hung Street public art project is surely one which would top my list to visit and enjoy. The arches have been put to so much better use with the art on it and also helps attract people. I love the dragon dance one I must admit . Would be a great place for my children as well. Thanks for sharing a very artistic post.

  3. I love traveling for street art. Thank you for sharing this post. I had no idea that phung hung street art was so beautiful. The 3D effect makes is so interactive and real. I liked the “Man at work”.

  4. This is stunning street art. Some of those pieces like the railway track one .. The 3D effect is superb. Loved the way you have captured them, especially where you have made the crowd a part of your frame.

    • Thank you, Ami. I am glad that you liked the idea of combining art with spectators. After all, this was the aim of this public art project – to connect and remember.

  5. I absolutely love street art. It make the place so vibrant. The street art in Hanoi is so beautiful. It’s good that it serves the purpose of conservation and preservation both.

    • Thank you, Pooja. Phung Hung Street murals is a beautiful example of the revitalization of the historic neighborhood. I hope there would be more to come.

  6. I love street art. This is amazing. It has been a long time since I visited Hanoi and we hope to visit this year. We will definitely visit.

    • Thank you, Jane. This is one of the latest additions to the Hanoi art scene. If you like street art, this is a “must” landmark.

  7. I’ve seen these beautiful pieces popping up all over Instagram lately. The 3D piece is so cool! You can’t tell it is a flat wall. I’d love to see these in person someday.

    • Thank you, Angelica. You are absolutely right, Phung Hung Street murals found their ways to Instagram. In just a few short months, this art installation propelled to one of the top attractions in Hanoi. It deserves all attention. If you get a chance, you should definitely check it out.

  8. What beautiful street art this is! I didn’t make it to Hanoi when I went to Vietnam, and what a shame. I like both the mosaics and the street art, it gives this street a whole new edge! Will absolutely visit if I ever return.

    • Great to hear from you, Lisa. I am glad that you liked the photos. It is a true art gallery under open skies. If you get a chance, you should definitely visit it. Cheers!

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