Vietnam is home to talented designers whose brands are increasingly being thrust into the international spotlight. From bamboo furniture to graceful gemstone jewelry, here are 10 product designers in Vietnam you should know about.
The designers behind this unique Vietnamese brand drew their inspiration from the dreary day they came upon a small blue bird as it lay dying outside an abandoned shopping mall. They were inspired by the haunting beauty of the dead bird and channeled that into their unique collection of gemstone jewelry and other elegant, handmade accessories. The Dead Bird is currently in the process of moving to their new location on Le Thanh Ton, but in the meantime check out their Instagram and try to resist ordering the many beautiful pieces in their collection!
The designer behind Duong Jewelry & Objects is Nga Duong, who grew up in Hanoi amidst her father’s extensive gemstone collection. In 2001, Nga graduated from the Hanoi Industrial Art College and then attended a three-year course on jewelry design at the European Institute of Design in Milan, Italy. She returned to Vietnam in 2013 and created her empire in picturesque Hoi An using the gemstones in her father’s collection. Each gorgeous piece of statement jewelry is handmade with gemstones found in Vietnam. Her flagship store is inside Hoi An’s Gemstone Art Museum, which was opened by her father.
This collection of handmade leather goods is the brainchild of Thanh Huynh, who previously studied industrial design but quickly discovered it wasn’t for her. Instead, she took a basic course to learn about leather crafting and found her passion. She opened her business with a few friends and went on to design this sleek, popular line of leather products. “I wanted to do something that has a touch of Asian vibes in colour and design that make us different to other local brands,” she wrote to Culture Trip. “I love the feeling when I see my customers happy with their bags which are custom-made… [the brand] becomes more unique this way.”
Her line ranges from simple, elegant wallets to stylish bracelets and to classic handbags – all of which can be described as minimalist-chic. Check out her Facebook page for more information and to see her full range of gorgeous accessories. She runs a small working studio in Saigon’s Binh Thanh district but mostly sells her products though her Facebook account.
District Eight is a design firm based in Ho Chi Minh City. According to their website, the designers create quality work inspired by the industrial age. Their website says much of their work is a reflection of the “raw, bold character” of their surroundings in the big city. District Eight prides themselves on creating handcrafted furniture that combines “industrial elements with modern aesthetics”. Have a peek at their website, Facebook and Instagram for more information and to see new pieces of their cool, minimalist collections.
The designers behind these amazing custom, handmade metals are co-founders Greg and Oanh, who create each piece in their Saigon workshop. Their products are named after areas in Saigon and Vietnam, such as the “District 4” earrings and “Hue” bracelet. Their silver is sourced from northern Vietnam, while copper and brass are sourced from Italy or Japan. According to their Facebook page, each piece is struck with a hammer 300 times and is then shaped, sanded, twisted, and filed in their workshop. Check out their Instagram page and website for more pictures, products, and order details.
Bamboo Master is run by Lam and James Wolf, who represent the perfect blend of East and West. American-born James heads design and quality control, as Lam owns and manages the company. Their quality products range from furniture, home and garden decor, water fountains, children’s toys, and even bicycle frames! They also take on custom projects. According to Bamboo Master’s website, Lam and James select the highest quality bamboo sourced from several sustainable plantations in central and southern Vietnam. Speaking of sustainability, bamboo is one of the most sustainable resources in the world – so featuring one of Bamboo Master’s pieces in your home or garden will look beautiful while supporting renewable resources.
According to their website, founder Grant Hawkins was previously smitten with a leather messenger bag he bought while traveling in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2014. One year later he started to crave more adventure. “I worked for a giant solar energy company in America but wasn’t happy,” he wrote to Culture Trip. “I wanted to do something related to design, open a company, move to Asia and do something related to sustainability, and handmade leather checked all the boxes.” Three years later, Marrakesh Leather sells a variety of sustainable leather goods that are made from high-quality, low-impact materials that are selected from around the world. Craftswomen make everything by hand in its Ho Chi Minh City studio.
As for how Marrakesh Leather integrates sustainability into its business model, the company only uses full vegetable grain, tanned cowhide leather, eliminating dangerous chemicals (such as chromium) often used in the tanning industry.
Thuy Nguyen, founder of Thuy Design House, routinely blends art with fashion to create her mesmerizing designs. She started her career as a painter before transitioning into the world of fashion. She launched Thuy Design House in 2011. According to Nguyen Kien, the brand manager of the company, Thuy is inspired by traditional Vietnamese elements combined with contemporary features. Her ao dai designs were recently featured in the popular Vietnamese film Co Ba Sai Gon! Furthermore, Thuy founded The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre to “create and host interdisciplinary contemporary art and cultural activities, connecting art and art lovers alike”. Check out her Facebook , Instagram, and YouTube channel to see more of her incredible designs.
Thuy Design House is located at 132-134 Đồng Khởi in Saigon’s District 1 and is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm.
Neo Nguyen is an industrial designer in Ho Chi Minh City who describes himself as a “perfectionist, especially in design,” His impressive portfolio includes elegant watches, modern teapots, redesigned air purifiers and more, plus a seriously amazing sketchbook. This talented designer is also a lecturer at Ho Chi Minh City’s University of Architecture. You can keep up with his latest designs by following him on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
YNOT Design is run by Marie and Kien, each bringing distinctive elements into their designs from their different cultural backgrounds. Marie is French and Kien is Vietnamese, and together they run their design store in Tay Ho, a cosmopolitan area of Hanoi. YNOT is known for its rich, brightly hued furniture produced using local bamboo and traditional techniques, which have proved to be popular with their Vietnamese and international customers. YNOT designs also feature elegant spins on usual household items, to the point where you find yourself really craving a new dustbin. Browse their products on their website or head to their store if you’re in Hanoi!