Vietnamese designers heading for London Design Biennale with help from ULSB, NashTech and the Vietnam-UK Network

Posted by ap507 at Aug 20, 2018 02:25 PM |
School of Business academics to attend London Design Biennale from 4-23 September

Issued by University of Leicester on 20 August 2018

University of Leicester School of Business (ULSB) academics are helping shine a light on the work of Vietnamese designers at the 2018 London Design Biennale from 4-23 September. The Design Biennale is devoted to the theme, Emotional States. Taking over the entirety of Somerset House, it will explore big questions and ideas about sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities, and social equality.

Visitors will enjoy engaging and interactive installations, innovations, artworks and proposed design solutions - all in an immersive, inspiring and entertaining tour of the world. Over 40 countries, cities and territories will reveal how design influences our emotions.

Dr Marta Gasparin, Lecturer in Design and Innovation Management at ULSB, and colleagues at ULSB have been working to connect designers and social and creative enterprises with female artisans and craft makers’ communities in Vietnam, promoting social innovation, fair and ethical collaborations, and an appreciation of cultural heritage as part of the British Council Vietnam’s Crafting Futures programme.

Crafting Futures supports the future of craft around the globe. This British Council programme strengthens economic, social and cultural development through learning and access. Crafting Futures’ projects support practices and people, through research, collaboration and education. 

The Crafting Futures project in Vietnam designs and facilitates collaborative works of young designers and entrepreneurs with craft communities across the country. The project makes positive steps towards supporting women and girls in local communities in the revitalising of their craft traditions. Watch the video to find out more.

The exhibition will allow the chance for the designers they have been working with to travel to the UK to showcase their work at the Design Biennale.

The three designers, exhibiting at the Design Biennale, maintain their cultural roots in their approach to work. Fashion Designer Thao Vu of Kilomet 109 is elevating traditional fabric making to contemporary couture; Multidisciplinary designer Giang Nguyen is trawling through past decades to unearth patterns, fonts and colours that only get better with age and contemporary subversion; Visual artist and VJ Le Thanh Tung (Crazy Monkey)  inserts the symbolism of yesteryears into multimedia genres.

Their exhibition will be curated in a way to highlight this overriding cultural theme and the unity of their work – being at once an extension and part of one another, showcasing the complexity of the Vietnamese identity today, a unity made up of diversity. The pavilion will host:

Room One will house a laboratory (‘The Lab’) of natural dye techniques and processes, a visually engaging manifestation of the dialogue between traditional Vietnamese craft communities, environmentally and culturally sustainable practices, and contemporary textile design. Room Two will display an interactive video installation to showcase the processes involved in the fibre lab.

Dr Gasparin explains why it so important to share the work of contemporary Vietnamese designers: “We want to show the complexity that is contemporary Vietnam so that a more complete picture can emerge. Vietnam is a country with a heritage of working with your hands and creating to make things work. Design follows a social need, things that need fixing get fixed and have done for centuries. Now the aesthetics are catching up and we are showcasing these elements coming together in contemporary creative output.”

USLB is working with business donors NashTech, New World Fashion GroupDragon Capital and Acumen Cargo and the Vietnam-UK Network to help fund the two exhibitions as part of the installation at the London Design Biennal.



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The Crafting Futures project in Vietnam concluded with the Craft and Design Challenge exhibition, showcasing collaborative works of the 20 young designers and design students. The project made positive steps towards supporting women and girls in local communities in the revitalising of their craft traditions through connections with contemporary designers and new market opportunities. Watch the video to find out more.

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