LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Khoi Tran Nguyen Bao ("KTNB") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

KTNB : I majored in Product Design major at Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture, Vietnam. Before that, I studied art at a college for a few years.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

KTNB : To free my thoughts. My interest in drawing from childhood has led me to design profession.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

KTNB : I chose.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

KTNB : Previously, I used to design industrial products such as: transport, lighting, home appliances, pedicure spa..Now, I want to focus on furniture field.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

KTNB : Hard working, listening, keep optimism.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

KTNB : Based on how people perceive and position their products. A good designer brings a good product, a great designer brings a story, I think so.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

KTNB : A really good design: No need to change anything anymore.. I evaluate a good design depends on customer satisfaction.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

KTNB : That is the benefit it brings to its users. Everyone invest in good design because of its potential, a good design goes a long way.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

KTNB : For those I find interesting.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

KTNB : It is ahead. But I don't think too much about it, I try my best in any project I design, always remember the achievements.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

KTNB : Thinking coherently, persistence, work hard, read a lot. view a lot, always find opportunities.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

KTNB : I learn quiet many from design myths from fashion to product design, architecture and interior. I admire the constant working of Karl Lagerfeld, the utmost sophistication in his design; the crazy of John Galliano. Quasar Khanh, Philippe Starck, Karim Rhasid, Zaha Hadid..are also legends that their freedom in creativity, the mixing of science and artistic inspired me.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

KTNB : I like Louis Ghost Chair of Philippe Starck, B306 of Le Corbusier's studio, The Animal Chair by Máximo Riera..They teach me how a beautiful structure, the unique thinking about using material, shapes..

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

KTNB : That is the Nervure Chair in cast alluminum furniture line of Quasar Khanh. It is a love poem, a perfect simulation from nature with beautiful lines and superb craftmanship.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

KTNB : Practive.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

KTNB : I will open a small bookstore, serving coffee too.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

KTNB : Design is a game of thinking. You do not want someome to give you a complete set of instructions from start to end like the installation guide of a Ikea's table.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

KTNB : My family. I love them.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

KTNB : I think I am not a great designer yet. What helps me improve is effort and curiousity.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

KTNB : There are always obstacles on your way such as getting used to new technologies, skills and things in life that govern your work. Thinking that you are already a design master will be a burden to the creative process. Be carefree like the kids.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

KTNB : Talk less, do more. Try to show the best possible.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

KTNB : That is still furniture. The wood processing and furniture manufacturing industry in Vietnam is growing fast and stably. So designers like us have a lot of work to do. I am working hard to introduce better products in the future.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

KTNB : Is to contribute to making life more meaningful in my own way.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

KTNB : What will the world look like?

DL: How does design help create a better society?

KTNB : The starting point of the design is the problem. The more well-solved problems, the better society is.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

KTNB : The furniture items really suit the people, climate and culture of Vietnam.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

KTNB : These are things that I feel are more special than anything I have designed, and they also get good feedback from clients. Mekong Writing Desk is the project I am most proud of ever. It makes the dream "A' Design Award& Competition" come true.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

KTNB : Minimize pollution to the environment, especially water sources. Every product that is no longer in use is completely recyclable. I wish one day, a commodity would be discharged. a tree would be planted.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

KTNB : Inventions in technology and materials.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

KTNB : It depends on the size of the project.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

KTNB : Doing projects is my daily work.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

KTNB : Don't rush, calm down and enjoy. Don't turn yourself nto a printer.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

KTNB : A trend can originate from any event, sometimes it is accidental.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

KTNB : Suggestions.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

KTNB : The softwares support 2D graphics and 3D modelling.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

KTNB : That is the ingredients to make a delicious cake.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

KTNB : I like detailed questions, especially prices. (laugh)

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

KTNB : Its designer is admirable.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

KTNB : Who support my limitations. I believe, as long as the specific work of each person clearly defined.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

KTNB : People with objective thoughts.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

KTNB : There are some books I love that affect me. "What is product design?" by Laura Slack, "Bauhaus" by Magdalena Droste..are examples.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

KTNB : Always learning. Observing, analyzing and drawing should be a habit.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

KTNB : Karl Lagerfeld.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

KTNB : I appreciate the achievements I had. I do not think much about the famous because the world is moving so fast and there is a lot to do.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

KTNB : Color: Emerald Green. Place: Saigon. Food: banh mi (Vietnamese Baguette). Season: Winter. Thing: LC4 Chair. Brand: Cassina.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

KTNB : In 2014, I displayed an outdoor relaxing chair, its shape resembles a Vietnamese national musical instrument. People were afraid and did not want to try until I sat comfortably, they laughed a lot.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

KTNB : That is thinking about pre-bed ideas and wanting the morning comes quickly to draw those ideas. The desire to create something new or improve my skills are the ways I motivate myself.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

KTNB : When I was a child, the internet wasn't quite as developed as it is now. I realized that I was able to draw and just care for those premitive works. As I get older with more information, I define what a designer is like and learn to be a designer. But with the title of great designer, instead of always thinking that sweetness, I try to do jobs better yesterday and make the right decisions.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

KTNB : The future will be very difficult. People are more and more afraid climate change. They are also too fed up with the huge amount of waste that is released every day. In a hundred years, I see a dark grey color filled with garbage, human greed and impasse. But I also see a green color when people know enough, realizing that luxury matter is not as valuable as napping under green trees. Nature will be harsher but human will adapt. Each product produced will be assessed as rigorously as possible and environmental protection values are higher than the cost.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

KTNB : I wish when they travel to Vietnam, see the peaceful countryside along the Mekong River, they will remember my "wooden boat", of a designer who constantly strives to make better works.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

KHOI IS A PRODUCT DESIGNER. HE LOVES DESIGNING FURNITURE AND HOUSEWARES. IN THIS FIELD, HE WON SEVERAL DESIGN AWARDS IN HIS COUNTRY. EVERYDAY, HE TRIES TO LEARN NEWS FROM WORK AND LIFE, THINKING ABOUT POSITIVE THINGS. IN DESIGN, HE WANTS TO MAKE AS MANY DIFFERENT OPTIONS AS POSSIBLE THEN REFINE THEM. SIMPLIFICATION IS THE KEY TO HANDLE HIS PROBLEMS. SIMPLE BUT NOT SUPERFICIAL IS WHAT HE ALWAYS PURSUES. IN HIS OPINION, LIVE KINDLY, LISTEN AND SHARE WITH OTHERS CONTRIBUTE TO A BETTER SOCIETY. ESPECIALLY HUMOR, IT IS THE KEY TO SOLVE ALL DIFFICULTIES IN LIFE.


Mekong Writing Desk

Mekong Writing Desk by Khoi Tran Nguyen Bao

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