GEM Centre shines with state-of-the-art facilities and intelligent design meticulously curated to host the central business district’s classiest events. By Ruben Luong. Photos courtesy of GEM Centre.
“This is the time of year for meetings, parties, intense events,” says a sales representative inside the GEM Centre, District 1’s swish performing arts, business and social events venue on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street. “For most companies, this is the last month to conclude what they have done in the previous year, so they will most likely hold an event.”
And what better place to welcome an occasion than within the marvelous interior of the two-month-old centre, which altogether consists of 7,200 square metres of state-of-the-art convention, exhibition, performing arts and banquet facilities – including an on-site florist, two grand ballrooms which can be separated into eight smaller ballrooms, two customisable VIP boardrooms, three themed functional spaces and an enchanting rooftop treehouse complex for outdoor functions?
Last month, GEM Centre assembled its ballrooms to accommodate Vietnam’s very first International Fashion Week before transforming its space to host the International Dance Festival a week later. Then it presented about 30 Harley Davidson bikes on its rooftop in between hosting a plethora of awards galas, meetings or conferences for clients like Google’s Think App 2014. The centre has been in high demand, stemming from a loyal and classy client base belonging to the Phu Quy Corporation, which owns GEM Centre but also the White Palace Convention Center in Phu Nhuan District.
GEM Centre takes its concept from the zodiac constellation Gemini, the Latin name for ‘twins’ known as Castor and Pollux in Greek mythology. The founders of GEM Centre, Mr Phu (Henry) and Mr Quy (Billy), are also twins.
Equipped with interior features that are not only stunning but efficient, GEM Centre’s architecture exudes the precision and earthy sophistication of Japanese design, with colossal wooden panelling, white crystal rock structures, high ceilings and minimal but innovative woodwork in the form of visually mesmerising wooden slats complemented with constellation and ethereal orb lighting.
Intelligent design reveals itself in each of the main ballrooms, which are remarkably adaptable and boast their own retractable seating system, drop-down high-definition projectors and screens, individual control lighting panels and movable partitions that divide the space with flexible audio-visual and stage set-ups. They can accommodate 250 to 1,800 guests, ranging from 392-square-metre to 1,764-square-metre arrangements in classroom, cluster, theatre, U-shape, hollow-square, banquet, cocktail or sit-down dinner layouts.
Pollux, the second floor ballroom, impresses at 8.5 square metres high, with a classic, curved wooden-slatted ceiling with more than 300 advanced support hooks that can accommodate 700 kilograms, such as a heavy sound and light truss system or perhaps a car. On the floor above, the 7.3 square-metre-high Castor is crowned and framed with modern, geometric wooden facades carved with a patchwork of handcrafted patterns and then backlit in warm, luminous mood lighting. Automatic rising doors also allow Castor to connect with its main foyer, increasing the size of the room.
Design is taken to an entirely different level, literally, at GEM Centre’s remarkable treehouse-inspired rooftop, where its premier fusion dining destination The Log resides above three conceptualised function rooms. Open to the public, The Log debuted last month after four months of construction. It is a 923-square-metre wooden structure elevated around the perimeter of the rooftop complex and supported by brush-wood steel branches in clever, tree-shaped pillars. The Log can fit 400-450 guests and is divided into a la carte and buffet set-ups, as well as an advanced temperature-controlled wine cellar that is placed unconventionally above ground next to a 15-metre long bar.
Below The Log is the courtyard of Saltus (‘forest’), an airy 238-square-metre quad coupled with an island stage embedded within a fountain, designed for elegant after parties or DJed events.
Other function rooms are endowed with their own respective concept that embodies their name. At one end of Saltus is Sol (‘sound of light’), a 238-square-metre functional space. Its standout design element is the over 300 orbs of light that hover above the tables and complement a living wall of plants. On the opposite end, Papyrus is a two-tiered 126-square-metre library, full of pristine shelving of books and rich carpet, suitable environs for presentations or meetings.
“Before, in District 1, there wasn’t really a centre like GEM because their capacity and their function couldn’t really provide or accommodate customers,” says the sales rep. “But GEM Centre can. It’s modern, sharp, energetic – and designed close to nature.”