Vietnamese design and quality have improved: Hoa Mai judges

Hoa Mai competition finalists and winners with Singapore-based judge Michael Buckley (left)

As the Tét spring festival drew closer, the yearly Hoa Mai furniture design competition was off on an excellent start, with around 250 entry designs submitted in December from all corners of Vietnam. The following weeks were a flurry of activity with the 20 final, successful designs that were shortlisted to be judged in March, and 17 prototypes were presented to the panel of 15 judges, a huge improvement from the previous 13 editions.

Moreover, most of the judges agreed that the quality of the furniture presented this year was raised through the contributions of the manufacturing members of HAWA. 

The Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA) organises Hoa Mai every year, and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), along with furniture hardware manufacturer HÄFELE and local hardwood distributor Tavico as sponsors.

Hoa Mai’s objective is to identify and nurture talented designers. While the main focus of the competition is wood, other materials like aluminium and steel, hardware and fixings, as well as glass surfaces, may be incorporated and integrated into the designs.

Pham Quoc Thang was the winner of the 2017 Hoa Mai competition with his ‘Oblique Collection’ consisting of three chairs made from American white oak, and winning a cash prize of VND30 million (US$1,319). Chairman of HAWA, Nguyen Quoc Khanh, praised the judges, and thanked five foreigners for their international contribution, also commenting that “the whole event has moved up a level, particularly with the involvement of our manufacturing members.”

Pham Quoc Thang with his winning ‘Oblique Collection’ made of three American white oak chairs

The winning pieces and the five consolation prize winners were awarded and honoured at the opening ceremony of the VIFA-EXPO 2017, held from March 8 – 11.

Vietnam is now the second-largest market for American hardwood lumber outside North America – and demand is still growing.


Winners and Consolation Prize winners:

1st Prize: OBLIQUE COLLECTION Designer: Pham Quoc Thang

2nd Prize: SWING ARMCHAIR Designer: Nguyen Hoang Nam

3rd Prize: BOAT DESK Designer: Nguyen Duc Huynh

Environmental Consolation Prize: W – LIGHT Designer: Ngo Van Son

Creative & Unique Consolation Prize: SEED Table and lamp Designer: Pham Thi Thu Dong

Aesthetic Consolation Prize: JELLYFISH LAMP Designer: Nguyen Huong Hoa

Marketability Consolation Prize: V CHAIR Designer: Nguyen Hoa

Functionality & Technique Consolation Prize: HEVEA ARMCHAIR Designer: Bruno Remi Wache