Editor’s pickStar Chaser

27-07-2018
Vietnamese young designer,Nguyen Hoa,Kim Do Company,Ho Chi Minh City,Marita rocking chair,International Furniture Fair Singapore

Vietnamese designer Nguyen Hoa realised his teenage dream of seeing his sketches come to life but that, he says, is not enough for him.

Young Vietnamese designer Nguyen Hoa 

Exactly five years ago, Nguyen Hoa decided he wanted to design furniture for a living. Today, this goal is realised with him finding his place at Kim Do Company, a Vietnamese furniture manufacturer in Ho Chi Minh City.

“When I was a student, I dreamed of going professional with all the sketches I made on paper,” the 26-year-old recalled. “I loved wood, materials, colours and chairs so I started teaching myself how to combine these elements together to make furniture.”

Growing up, Nguyen read widely on design history, on how the minds behind the masterpieces thought and how the hands that made them worked.

He later went on to study industrial design at Ton Duc Thang University and dabbled with various styles before sett ling for three practical characteristics that would inform each piece of art today: minimalism, function and commercial viability.

He said, “Designing furniture is considered a new profession in Vietnam but I believe it will develop rapidly in the next five years.”

One of his most frustrating projects was building the Marita rocking chair, a product that took countless hours of study and conceptualisation. Simple and functional, the most distinctive feature of the chair is its intersection of lines,

inspired by Man’s connection with one another in society. It is made of wood, a basic material found in all his designs.

 The Marita rocking chair is inspired by Man’s connection with one another in society.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

Nguyen also often uses metal, rattan and fabric, as well as unique materials and contemporary colours such as solid surfaces and rusty metal. His boldness and inspiration stem from the desire to establish a reputation in Vietnam’s budding furniture design scene.

“As a young designer, I have so much to learn. So I always set a target for myself and try to improve continuously, confront challenges and look for new ideas,” he reflected.

Keeping an open mind and learning new things, he added, opens up a lot more new opportunities for him as well.

Yet his biggest challenge is not so much ‘feeling small’ or competing with his more established peers. Instead, it is figuring out how to connect designs with manufacturers, the market and how to make customers accept his work.

“Designer furniture is not necessarily expensive. The value of a product is based on many factors. It is not just about creativity but also skill and quality. Product lines designed for mass manufacturing may be new here in Vietnam but it is very affordable,” Nguyen said.

Furthermore, the modern-day consumer is fickle. And they want everything: personalised,

trendy, smart home furnishing. Nguyen’s style on the other hand, is still very much centred on the simplicity and beauty in traditional furniture. He admits that in future he will incorporate technology in the final product and handle difficult designs.

Nguyen may have just achieved far more than he imagined: He was one of the designers selected for the Design Stars showcase at this year’s International Furniture Fair Singapore.

“There are many young people like me with the same desire. I hope there will be more support for us,” he said.

Having reached the foothills of success, he will continue to study, sketch and chase the dream.