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The Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCMC (HAWA) and the American Hardwood Export Council recently announced the finalists and winners of the Hoa Mai Furniture Design Competition.

The 17th iteration of the competition continues to provide young Vietnamese designers with the opportunity to explore the creative possibilities provided by American hardwood species and for business and industry to discover and connect with emerging design talent.

Mr John Chan, Executive Director of The American Hardwood Export Council, said of the competition “We are delighted with the high quality of entries to the competition this year. The creative talent that continues to grow in Vietnam and the interest in the design and commercial possibilities that American hardwood species present is hugely encouraging”.

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.

The highlights and the quality of submissions can be seen below:

Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa
Hanoi Architectural University

Solid and thin, bar and block, black and white, push and pull. The Smart desk is all about contrast. The intriguing design cleverly integrates wireless charger and USB ports with a concealed Hafele drawer. Designer Kim Thoa found the combination of the compressive strength of American red oak and ease with which it can be steam bent, a huge advantage in the manufacturing process.

Minnaar Chair
Quach Minh Quan
Ton Duc Thang University

“Derived from the poetics of a wave” is how interior design student Quach Minh Quan describes his softly curved creation with a continuous line flowing form the front leg of the Minnaar chair through the arm and from the armrest to the back. The chair is fluid and rounded in character with soft points of transition. “American red oak has some of the best qualities to work with. It’s easy to cut and machines well. It’s a fine wood in my opinion and I kind of like the colour too!” he says.

The Moon Cabinet
Nguyễn Trí Trường Giang  and  Nguyễn Văn Diện
National University of Civil Engineering

Twin moons in stained American red oak with brass and rattan inlay resulted in an arresting design that the designers claim was even a surprise to themselves.


Group photo of all award-winning designers
Group photo of all award-winning designers