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Huynh Thanh Quyen has big plans to nurture the next generation of young furniture designers in Vietnam by drawing inspiration from Vietnam’s unique culture

Huynh Thanh Quyen has always been passionate about inspiring and educating young talents in design. Quyen is understandably proud of Vietnam’s culture and design industry, and after completing his Masters in Interior Design, he became an educator out of a desire to groom the next generation of Vietnamese designers. As a lecturer in the Faculty of Industrial Design in Vanlang University, he has been mentoring Interior Design undergraduates in all aspects of furniture design as part of a 6-week course.

Quyen’s key design inspirations come from his own experiences growing up in Vietnam’s unique culture. “I want my students to tap on their knowledge about Vietnamese people, culture, society and materials when approaching a design project. Every design project is an opportunity to showcase the best of Vietnam to the world.”

Highlighting Quyen’s commitment to his students, he joined the Hoa Mai Furniture Design Competition with a fellow lecturer, Lê Long Vĩnh, to lead by example, and encourage his students to participate more widely in design competitions and build up a portfolio of experience.

Tapping on his childhood experiences growing up in the countryside in the Mekong Delta area where floating markets are a focal point for communities and trade, Quyen and Vĩnh created the Floating Market Bench for the competition which won the ‘Outstanding Concept’ category. American red oak was the material choice as “I wanted to communicate the natural rustic beauty of floating markets, and the aesthetics of American red oak made it the perfect material in expressing the soul of my work.”

Quyen enjoys challenging his students to work with different materials for their work as he believes it helps develop a well-rounded designer. Design and material choice depends on the themes he sets, such as ‘environmental protection’ or ‘traditional Vietnamese interior design’. But Quyen has a clear preference for using wood due to it being environmentally friendly and its distinctive characteristics. Indeed, American hardwoods are a popular choice. “American hardwoods is a material choice which I regularly recommend to my students and designer friends. Besides being environmentally friendly and aesthetically attractive with beautiful wood grains, it has practical benefits such as being durable and easy to work with”.

Quyen’s work to develop the next generation of Vietnamese designers has only just begun. He shared with us Vanlang University’s upcoming plans to launch a new 4-year bachelor degree course in furniture design. The course aims to guide young designers to capitalize on the Vietnam’s strengths in furniture design and manufacturing, and showcase Vietnamese culture to the world – one furniture piece at a time.