The daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Nguyen, 33, was born and raised in Orange County, California—but her mother’s mother, Chat, who never left their home country, left a huge imprint on her outlook on life. “She owned a hardware store where she sold air conditioners, kitchen supplies, and stuff to actually fill your home,” Nguyen says, recalling a visit to Biên Hòa, Vietnam around the age of ten. “She still worked in the store and had a little living area in the back. Every night we had dinner there with our family, they came to her. Her store was the center of her world.”
When Nguyen decided to create her own, more permanent world, she looked to many of the collaborators who have been on this two-year journey with her. Like the architect Louis Rambert, who, in addition to envisioning all three of Beverly’s pop-ups, designed Tower Records’ Williamsburg rebirth and Yudai Kanayama’s Serious Construction Company, the latter of which she describes as having “played a key role in developing many community-building projects in Chinatown.” Since February, Nguyen has worked hand and hand with both Rambert and Kanayama to transform the space into one that felt worthy of hosting her people.
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