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​Hanoi girl wins US interior design contest with Vietnamese bamboo-inspired sketch

Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 12:10 GMT+7
​Hanoi girl wins US interior design contest with Vietnamese bamboo-inspired sketch
An overview of the Gen2Gen Town. Photo courtesy of Tran Thach Thao

A Vietnamese undergraduate has won an award from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), thanks to her superb design project, which stems from the love for her homeland and its countryside’s peaceful vibes.

Tran Thach Thao, 23, started doing her undergrad program at the Georgia-based Savannah College of Art and Design, majoring in interior design, after graduating from Hanoi – Amsterdam, a prestigious high school for gifted students in the Vietnamese capital.

With the Vietnamese countryside and its harmonious ambience always holding a special place in her heart, Thao decided to participate in the 2018 ASID Design Excellence Awards with a design dedicated to bamboo trees, a symbolic image unique to northern Vietnamese villages in the good old days.

The project, Gen2Gen Town, referring to “generation to generation,” seeks to build a community center that combines nursing homes and kindergartens, so the elderly and preschool children can interact with one another.

“This promotes a sense of continuity and sharing between generations,” Thao said.

The concept takes after the image of old bamboo trees providing nutrition for their new sprouts by softening the soil and enriching it with nutrients as they wither away.

Thao’s design endorses interaction and sharing of life experience between the elderly and their grandchildren, which in turn helps create precious memories and invaluable cultural values.

This brought her a prize in the Student Award Categories at the contest last month.

Tran Thach Thao holds the project sketch in this supplied photo.
Tran Thach Thao holds the project sketch in this supplied photo.

Thao said the Vietnamese name of the project is “Cot Village,” a craft village just outside Hanoi where people make household products from woven bamboo.

“It is where I grew up with my grandparents, learning a lot about not just my surroundings, but also how to grow into a proper human being,” she said, explaining why she chose bamboo as the main theme for her contest entry.

“I have my grandparents to thank, as they were the ones to shape how I am today.”

She added that urbanization has taken its toll upon the family relationship, with the elderly at the receiving end.

Driven all day round, burdened with financial struggles, the youth can no longer cater to their frail ageing parents like before, both mentally and physically.

“This has no doubt brought about a generation gap,” she said.

“Children today could not carry on traditions left by their predecessors, simply because there was no chemistry between them.

“I therefore surmise my project can serve as a medium, helping bond generations together to somehow solve the dilemma.”

The recreation area in Gen2Gen Town where the elderly and children can share. Photo courtesy of Tran Thach Thao
The recreation area in Gen2Gen Town where the elderly and children can share. Photo courtesy of Tran Thach Thao

Gen2Gen Town – a prospect of progress

More than a mere sketch, Gen2Gen Town is a highly concentrated cluster of residences and facilities dedicated to the elderly, as well as children aged three to five.

The cluster is said to develop interaction and experience sharing between the generations.

But to come up with such extraordinary ideas was in itself a grueling process.

According to Thao, there were days when she had to pull consecutive all-nighters, only to yield some wrongly calculated data, or erase the whole procedure by error.

“There was a time when I thought about giving up,” she reminisced.

“But knowing my work could affect the likelihood of many people, I just went on.”

A cafeteria and shopping center complex in Gen2Gen Town. Photo courtesy of Tran Thach Thao
A cafeteria and shopping center complex in Gen2Gen Town. Photo courtesy of Tran Thach Thao

She later joined various time management classes, as well as soft skill courses to further refine herself to complete the project.

Thao also makes sure to amass experience well before returning to Vietnam to truly put Gen2Gen into practice.

“I really hope my project amounts to something in my homeland,” she exclaimed.

The living room in Gen2Gen Town. Photo courtesy of Tran Thach Thao
The living room in Gen2Gen Town. Photo courtesy of Tran Thach Thao
The outdoor area in Gen2Gen Town. Photo courtesy of Tran Thach Thao
The outdoor area in Gen2Gen Town. Photo courtesy of Tran Thach Thao

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Duy Khoi / Tuoi Tre News Contributor

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