Founded in 2010, Idee Architects is an architectural practice working in Hanoi. To know more about Idee Architects, Handhome had a talk with the co-founder, architect Tran Ngoc Linh to hear his opinions.
Handhome: Hi Mr. Linh, please introduce yourself and Idee Architects to our readers.
Tran Ngoc Linh: Sincerely thanks Handhome for this interesting discussion, my name is Tran Ngoc Linh, head architect and co-founder of Idee Architects. Idee was founded in 2010 with 3 members, currently the firm has 10 official member and other long time partners.
We follow the “Simplycity” principle in our designs, focus on the beauty of minimalism that still guarantees the best life quality. Our work involves consulting about the design of houses, resorts and partial construction of those projects.
What inspired you to be an architect?
My architectural career was shaped by the working process instead of a starting ideal. It forms naturally after I had enough experience to really enjoy creating spaces.
How has your work progressed since the founding of Idee Architects? Is there any difference between current projects and those back then?
In early days, we focused on big projects and collaboration with big companies. Our work was to research and plan, so everyone’s strength could be made use, the inexperience and small scale of the office weren’t a problem. We also joined some big design competitions and won.
However, during the economical crisis and the decline of real estate, we had many difficulties and had to look for solutions in small, moderate residences, at the same time took part in the construction to keep the office running.
It was during that time did we realize that there’s no difference between the thinking and doing in big or small projects. Small projects could have the same influence as the big ones. Besides, the experience we learnt from the building process helped the designs a lot.
Idee had some certain impact in the field. Most of our clients are the ones who really want to share their ideals with us. Now we’re working on some 4-5 stars resorts, residences, offices, hotels in the Northern and Southern regions
How has your thoughts on architecture changed throughout the year?
I went from plain designing to caring about the life and existence of the buildings with time. Instead of just reinforcing my opinions, I learned how to understand and motivate my clients.
I looked into the interaction between people and nature, people and buildings and their relationship with the environment. I want to create pure spaces for each person to develop their own identity and leave their influence on architecture through daily activities.
I also avoid the excessive use of details. The users would decorate the place according to their needs and create the diversity.
Do you travel often? Is global cultural and architectural experience affect how you work?
I value personal development more than career success. One of my hobbies is travelling, at the same time learning about other countries’ culture. Each year I have about 2-3 months to prepare and go on the trips.
That’s why when observing life, culture, architecture and nature of places that I go to, I have the experience of the relationship between people and that context, of how architecture is made. That kind of engagement helps me a lot with my design principles.
Are you working on any special project that you’d like to share with us at the moment?
We are working on a variety of resorts, all of which are located far from the city centres and have a close relationship with nature, such as Can Lam House, The Whale, Hidden Spa, Tam Dao Golf House.
Your recent projects usually involve minimalism and are nature oriented. Is this character influenced by the state of our environment at the moment? What do you think about the role of architects in Vietnam these days?
We aim for the beauty of minimalism coming from the interaction of people with the functional spaces. That why nothing’s better than using the living environment and surroundings as architectural materials, blending nature with architecture.
That’s why the designs should focus on the originality and nature. Solutions need to be simple and effective to minimize the use of natural resources. Besides, technology is an important factor for this minimization, such as energy renewal, water recycling, waste disposal systems.
The role of Vietnamese architects is to inspire the society through their designed products.
What do you think about the organization of architectural groups in Vietnam at the moment? Do you join any of such groups?
I myself joined a couple of groups, such as Weplay, photo sharing group Ghé as well as others
To me the aforementioned groups are very active, it shows how society are paying attention to the work of architects. The exchange between colleagues is also one of the main reasons. I think that the work of Vietnamese architects is becoming better and has more international influence, that’s a positive sign.
The active atmosphere in architectural groups also make architects continue honing their craft.
What do you think about the teaching of architecture in Vietnam? What would you suggest to make it better?
To me the teaching is not practical, yet it still has a good side for making students experience things outside the schools. The successful individuals could be good role models, they should be invited to inspire the students.
Teachers need to take their work seriously and engage more in actual projects. Besides the curriculum also needs to aim for the practical benefits of the projects. Teachers are the source of inspiration for their students.
Who’s your favorite architect? Which Vietnamese architect inspires you much?
I love Peter Zumthor’s works. All of my colleagues in Vietnam is my inspiration.
What do you think about Vietnamese traditional architecture at the moment?
Traditional architecture has lasted for generations. However there are many changes based on history, geography and society. Besides the physical remnants, there are spiritual aspects that shaped Vietnamese architecture as it is today.
I love the traditional architecture, however I think that they have their own time. Modern Vietnamese people will create Vietnamese modern architecture. Each person has their own character since birth until adulthood, combining with the thorough research of regional traditions, they would make the real traditional architecture, not just the usual copied kind.
Thank you for sharing with us!