#scandinavian style armchair

2 years ago · 7 min read
6 ways with the new Karla armchair

Roll up, roll up. By popular demand, you can now have your Karla armchair your way. If armchairs were humans, we feel like the Karla would be up there with the most celebrated of celebrities – causing a flutter all over social media and popping up in magazine shoots aplenty. But if you’re wondering whether it’s […]

4 years ago · 7 min read
Luu, 34 – carpenter.

“My daughter has just turned two. My parents and uncles all saved up to buy her a gold ring that she can wear on special occasions – it’s just like my wedding ring. We have to stop her swallowing it though; she chews everything!”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Đāo, 30 – seamstress.

“My favourite thing to do on pay day is to buy myself some gold jewellery. My husband only owns one gold ring, but he’s very understanding of my habit and saves up to buy me things too.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Thăng, 40 – upholsterer.

“There’s no point in stressing about life. Every situation has a solution, and if you stay calm and let time pass, you’ll figure it out.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Truong – frame constructor.

“When I’m not working, I spend most of my time playing football. I’m a fan of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United. My favourite player is Messi because he’s so passionate. I’d love to be like him.”

4 years ago · 7 min read
Chuyên, 29 – frame constructor.

“I’ve been working here for three years, since I left my hometown in the south to come to Saigon. I used to look after baby shrimp in the delta, getting them to grow up big and fat.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Bertil, 30 – designer.

“I came to Vietnam looking for an adventure. I never expected to stay long – I told my dad I’d be here for three months. That was 12 years ago.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Zhang Yu Hong, 38 – wood assembler.

“Where I come from in Hebei you can see the Great Wall from my village. It’s 60km away so I never actually went up it that often, but just seeing it there every day, looking down at you, was pretty inspiring. I still remember that view.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Sheng, Qun, 43 – wood cutter.

“I’ve got a black dog. He’s a stray breed from the village and is only two-three months old. I call him Baobao, which means baby. It’s pretty appropriate given he basically eats what I eat, and as soon as I’m home he gets all my attention.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Thu Suong, 30 – seamstress.

“My favourite films are romances, but I’ve never experienced anything overly romantic. Not even on Valentine’s Day – my husband and I just stay in. It would be so romantic if one day, he gave me a rose.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Phúc, 22 – lathe turner.

Phúc hardly says a word, but his eyes are fixed on us at all times – occasionally he drags them away to look at the translator, but within moments they’re back again. “Is everything OK?” we ask him. “Yes, it’s just that I’ve never seen a foreigner before.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Xiang, Sheng Qiu, 40 – wood laminator.

“I really admire my eldest daughter. She’s 18 and very studious, especially with science and maths. She doesn’t always get the best results, but she’s calm and patient and she keeps going. I think that’s a great attitude.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Under the spotlight: crafting covered buttons.

Sitting on what looks to be an old wooden school desk in the corner of the sewing section of the workshop, is an ancient-looking button press. No one knows exactly how old it is; it’s been there for as long as anyone can remember. Vuong turns a wheel that’s bound with ragged material for grip, […]

5 years ago · 7 min read
Zheng, Jing Hua, 40 – wood texture specialist.

“I love to watch singing competition shows on TV. I used to play the horn in a band and I enjoy singing traditional Chinese songs. I always like to think I’m musical but I was never very good. I don’t have a great voice and I’m definitely not going to sing for you right now!”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Yang, Weng Qing, 36 – design tracer.

“I have two kids, a son aged 14 and a daughter aged eight. My son lives in Guizhou with my family. He’s pretty introverted and often when we speak on the phone the conversation stops, and he doesn’t want to say anything more. I guess that’s teenagers, but I still find it sad.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Buck, Zeng, 43 – head of QC.

“In my spare time I play a lot of basketball. As you can see, I’m pretty tall. I started playing at university and I still play regularly. These days it’s more about keeping fit and messing around with the boys than playing anything really competitive.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
Under the spotlight: the driftwood effect.

Jing Hua appreciates having a workstation beneath the workshop window. “I just like to have that little bit of extra light. With this particular job, it helps if you can see every groove.” The arms for the Karla armchair sit beside Jing Hua, who’s responsible for the oak frame’s weathered texture. He refers to it […]

5 years ago · 7 min read
Hand-made from start to finish: crafting the Karla armchair.

Piles of neatly stacked planks of oak stand like towers, spreading across the workshop. Artisans weave in and around them as they cross the workshop floor and we do the same. “It’s strong, hardwearing,” our carpenter tells us as he slides a plank out from the pile. Calling over a colleague, together they carry the […]

5 years ago · 7 min read
What are you most proud of?

“The most difficult colour problem I had to solve,” Kou Tian tells us as he paints the frame of our Karla armchair. “I had to create two very specific colours using water-soluble paint when we’d just started using them. They’re both colours we use today and I’m pretty proud of that.”

5 years ago · 7 min read
What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to watch Kung Fu movies, especially the classic ones.” He narrows his eyes and cocks his head, slightly. “The new ones are good but Li Xiao Long” – he uses the traditional name for the man we know as Bruce Lee – “is still my favourite.”