Khải will show how a new generation of design thinkers are applying modern techniques to Vietnamese design without losing the emotional resonance of traditional handcrafting.

In Vietnam design has long been driven by social need – a means of making or repairing objects so that they work well and are improved through each iteration. But alongside this exists a rich history of craft – acts of weaving, carving, dying, drawing and printing, within which are embedded a wealth of emotions. Around these processes, stories are told, secrets are shared and lives are lived.

The Vietnamese installation will present the work of three contemporary designers who embrace this utilitarian heritage but combine it with a greater sense of aesthetic ambition. Fashion designer Thảo Vũ, multidisciplinary designer Giang Nguyễn and visual artist and Lê Thanh Tùng are at the forefront of a culture that, while at ease with digital methods, still believes in the emotional value of creating by hand. “There is a particular joy in the practice of making and there is visceral connection to knowledge passed down through generations and knowing it is being carried to the future,” says curator Claire Driscoll.

The installation will consist of two rooms that explore contemporary interpretations of traditional textile production. Room one is a laboratory showing natural dye techniques. Constructed over an indigo pool, the lab shows the steps of the dyeing process and reveals how Thảo Vũ reinterprets these methods to create new kinds of sustainable textiles. 


  • Administering Body: University of Leicester headed by Dr Marta Gasparin in association with Work Room Four and Kilomet 109
  • Design Team: Thảo Vũ, Lê Thanh Tùng, Giang Nguyễn 
  • Curator: Claire Driscoll
  • Supporting Bodies: Embassy of Vietnam, London. Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism, Hanoi. NashTech and the Vietnam UK Network