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“Less is more” was a famous quote from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a German architect and designer, he was an advocate of simplicity design.  His minimalism design style influences every aspect of people’s lifestyle not only in the past but also nowadays.

In the following, let’s take a closer look at the masterpieces of some outstanding entries from Hoa Mai Furniture Design competition, see how they interpret Mies’s dictum.

All entries this year were created from American red oak, the most abundant species in the American hardwood forest.  There were over 331 entries, 269 of which were from University students. The judging panel narrowed this down to a shortlist of 23 from which 9 eventual category winners were chosen.


Floating Market Bench
Lê Long Vĩnh and Huynh Thanh Quyen
Vang Lang University

This bench was inspired by the floating market of the Mekong Delta. Designer Vinh was particularly struck by the beauty of the grain and texture of the American red oak.  The reliable and consistent quality meant that the slender poles were easier to achieve without splitting.


Lagom Shelf
Nguyễn Duy Trí
Ton Duc Thang University

‘Lagom’ translates in Swedish to ‘just enough’. The shelf mirrors the angular lines of an open book and has been designed to be customised according to needs and space. A mimimal piece with maximum usability. The design shows off the unique end grain of the oak and the xylem which allow the timber to be stained with ease.


Cactus Sofa
Dinh Thanh Tùng
Hanoi Architectural University

A silhouette that needs no introduction. The striking contrast of the emerald velvet upholstery and the natural tones of American red oak create a visually arresting piece that plays with concepts of comfort.

Làng (Village)
Ngô Như Huỳnh
Van Lang University

A multifunctional bookshelf and table. The desk can be folded when not in use and woven water hyacinth drawers maximise storage. Limed American red oak provides a minimalist but natural feel to the design and contrasts with the darker tones in the water hyacinth weaving.