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Vietnam's London Design Biennale Artwork Now Available for Viewing in Hanoi

On display in Vietnam for the first time, installation work 'Khải' marked Vietnam's first participation in the London Design Biennale.

In September 2018, for the first time Vietnam was invited to participate in the London Design Biennale, which featured design projects from 40 countries, cities and territories across the world.

Vietnam’s artwork for the biennale, titled ‘Khải,’ was based on research by Dr. Marta Gasparin from the University of Leicester School of Business and guided by the work of designer Thao Vu, whose fashion brand places great emphasis on incorporating traditional techniques into commercial design.

Giang Nguyen and Le Thanh Tung's contribution to the project happened with support by British curator Claire Driscoll and Hanoi’s own Work Room Four.

Photo by Ben Reich.

Now, two years later, art enthusiasts in Hanoi can marvel at the collaborative project in the flesh at an exhibition taking place at Manzi Exhibition Space from May 22. The display will be available for viewing from 9:30am to 7pm every day until June 4.

Photo by Ben Reich.

“’Khải' is an invitation to pause and reflect on this idea while introducing a country’s relationship to its heritage of working with one's hands — the long tradition of a design rooted in social need, that has and continues to shape design made in Vietnam,” the exhibition’s press release proclaims. Heritage craftsmanship is central to the theme of the work, a rumination on the importance of hands-on creation in Vietnam’s design traditions.

The decision to focus on ancient craft is in response to the biennale’s theme of “Emotional States.” When one is “weaving, carving, stirring, [dyeing], drawing, outlining, printing and mapping, an influx of emotions is possible,” the designers explain. “The craft process is the key to emotional release. In these processes stories are told, secrets are shared and lives are lived.”

Photos by Ben Reich.

Thao Vu founded Kilomet109, a fashion label producing clothing items using traditional dyeing techniques as employed for centuries by artisans from ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Giang Nguyen is a multidisciplinary designer and researcher who’s spent years archiving old design motifs and typefaces in Vietnam. Le Thanh Tung, also known as Crazy Monkey, is a visual artist experimenting with video art, video mapping and augmented reality, among other projects.

‘Khải’ - From the 2018 London Design Biennale is available for viewing from 9:30am to 7pm every day from May 22 to June 4 at Manzi.

[Top photo by Ben Reich]

Correction (May 23): This article has been adjusted to more accurate reflect the process behind the artwork's creation.

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