DESIGNHEADS: Anh Dao Ha
What’s design got to do with it?
DESIGNHEADS is an interview series profiling the next generation of designers, tastemakers, and creatives *shaking up* the design world.
Name: Anh Dao Ha
Location: New York City
Instagram: @anhdaoha_ / @deitysalon
Are you a designer? Why or why not?
Yes! I'm learning to confidently say this because sometimes it can feel like you need to fit into a certain box to earn the title. I'm a designer because it's a title I've formed my own relationship with and defined for myself. I'm a designer because I make hyper-personal objects inspired by the world around me. I'm a designer because I believe objects are about human relationships.
One word to describe your take on design:
The last thing you made:
My reinterpretation of those plastic street food stools you see around Vietnam and Asia in general. My version is made from a cnc’d wood armature and paper pulp exterior.
The cnc'd wood armatures:
I also engraved a Vietnamese coffee maker with a kitschy love quote to accompany the chair. Traditionally, you would use street food stools like this as both a chair and table to drink coffee off of in Vietnam.
The next thing you want to make:
I love the idea of making clothes that match furniture. I'm doing this with the current design show I am working on, but I'd love to design another line of matching clothes and furniture that's super themey. Maybe an outfit and a chair that's all made from the same gaudy, patterned fabric? I imagine the person wearing the outfit seeming to disappear when they sit on the chair since the fabrics would blend into each other.
A designed object you adore:
Savage Sofa by Jay Sae Jung Oh
A designed object you can’t stand the sight of:
Flimsy office chairs
A moment of pure creative joy:
When you let yourself fall into creating your vision despite all odds. It’s that feeling of rapid pursuit and obsession with an idea that is so fun to me.
When we say “designing the future,” what comes to mind?
Designing the future means making things that are true and personal to yourself, which in turn becomes part of a greater picture of how we relate and affect others. Designing for the future is hyper-personal in order to be grounded in identity and serve the communities we are part of.
If you could show your work to anyone in the world, who would it be?
I'd love to show my work to my 14 year old self. I feel like being an early teen is such a formative time where you're obsessive about interests and fall into the magic of things. I remember dreaming I could make sculptures, designs, or really anything! In moments of uncertainty, I often ask myself, "Remember when you dreamed of doing what you do now?" I think my 14 year old self would be ecstatic to see that my interests and obsessions didn't die.
Your aesthetic embodied as a:
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
All kinds of pink
Soft lace with rhinestone detailing
Your *grail*: if you would own one iconic design work, what would it be?
White Umbo shelving units by Kay Leroy Ruggles
What’s next for you?
I just graduated from Parsons School of Design with a degree in Product Design. I’ll be having my first solo show at Chinatown Soup Gallery in the Lower East Side of New York City. It’s called When I Met You I Almost Missed You, a cafe experience inspired by Vietnamese kitsch aesthetics and karaoke ballads. The work will be on view from August 1-7th 2022.
When I Met You I Almost Missed You is an exploration of the poetics of Vietnamese kitsch objects and how they form spaces of endearment. Many Vietnamese businesses are fashioned from what is immediately available, creating an ad-hoc mixture of utilities and function within a single space. Following this spirit, an assemblage of objects that belong to different Vietnamese spaces converge to create this fantasy world cafe. The show consists of handmade reinterpretations of street food furniture, phins (Vietnamese drip coffee makers), and traditional clothing.︎
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