Hoa Mai Exhibition Week celebrates 20th iteration of Hoa Mai Design Award, announcing finalists

The Hoa Mai Design Award has announced the finalists for its 20th iteration

The Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA) along with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) recently announced the finalists for the 20th Hoa Mai Design Award 2023 during the Hoa Mai Exhibition Week.

John Chan, regional director Greater China and South East Asia of AHEC said, “We are delighted that the Hoa Mai Design Award has reached the 20th iteration: a significant milestone. Through our more rigorous judging process this year, we have been able to identify promising young designers who have unleashed their creative design talent using American hardwood.”

The panel of judges chose 111 entries to be displayed at the Hoa Mai Exhibition Week. The event commenced at the unique and multifaceted Sun Life Flagship – De La Sól, from 25-28 Nov 2023 in Ho Chi Minh City.

This year’s competition took a different approach compared to previous years, aiming to retell the Hoa Mai Design Award narrative by advocating sustainable design using wood, a sustainable material, and with a focus on making furniture and design more accessible to the consumer community.

The exhibition stepped out of typical environments like offices, factories, and schools and showcased the design proposals and wooden furniture in this space in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City.

It was also the first time that the talk show was organised in conjunction with the finalist announcement. Speakers at the talk show provided a comprehensive view of the process of transforming design ideas into actual products. Young designers were given the opportunity to propose solutions to challenges related to aesthetic and practical aspects of design. The four-day exhibition and talk show attracted over 2,000 guests, according to AHEC.

Talks during the Hoa Mai Exhibition Week

There were 320 entries this year across two categories: the open category (for design students and young designers), and the grand category (for businesses and designers with over five years of experience).

The theme for the grand category was “Saigon Metropolitan”. Designers had to demonstrate their professional competence and depth by developing creative and highly applicable ideas to address prominent issues and shape the living space of the current urban environment.

The judging process took place during the exhibition. It started with the Specialised Judging Round where the judges evaluated all the designs independently. This was followed by the Presentation and Defence Round where young designers were given the opportunity to present their ideas and respond to questions from the judges. Judges were reportedly impressed by the sharp arguments and the strong display of creativity from the participants.

From the open category, the judges selected the Top 25 outstanding ideas. From the grand category, the judges narrowed the entries down to the Top 11.

Designers of these 11 ideas will see their designs being produced and displayed at the White Palace Convention Center during the HAWA Expo from 6-9 Mar 2024.