In real life

3 April | S P A C E | HCMC, ‘Miniparty’

LET’S TALK ABOUT learning. How we discover, find, and make new connections. Ideas, shapes of thinking and the input that comes from places that might not be the ‘usual’ ones. No more boring meetings: What are the containers that make great conversations *happen*? Conversations that lead to better collaboration and better work? Those are important. Let’s not waste time. Let’s make things better, together.

Better and more enjoyable: that’s the key.

How do we design the S P A C E that lets fresh thinking flow? Continue reading “3 April | S P A C E | HCMC, ‘Miniparty’”

In real life · Publisher's Diary · The Muse

A sunny day

Dear L,

Cooooool. That was so fun.

Photo: Van Tran

I was taken on a journey that transported me out of Vietnam, but also, outside of all the usual boxes that you can find even when you leave the nation-border box. (HT Jiddu Krishnamurthi) For example, the strict thinking that keeps us from trying new things. All the feelings that I have been having here in Vietnam on my own, for a year, unable to articulate because of English I got to completely open up and share. That was amazing, and I got to hear, moreover, something in exchange. These exchanges are what I enjoy most about making S P A C E. They—the exchanges—are, after all, the whole point of it. And fun. ‘If it’s not fun’, as Boss says, ‘then there’s no point doing it.’ Thanks to conversations with MB this year, though I am coming out of the cave. It’s nice outside. Sunny.

Một ngày nắng đẹp.

Cheers, ladies and gentlemen.

To the journeys, then

PS A week or so from now, I’ll host another popup, maybe. By invitation for those already in my circle, but for those who aren’t, and are reading this blog post, and want to know more, here is a signup page:

Photo: Van Tran, Atelier S P A C E HCMC, Autumn 2020. Atelier S P A C E is supported by crowdfunding, in-kind donations, and Design Kompany client gigs.


Desk Notes

S P A C E is changing. Of course it is.

Special thanks to Hanoi-trained and Ho Chi Minh City-based product and food photographer Thắng Chu, of Uncle Photography, for the series of images that he took for us of our magazine, S P A C E. A few of them are below and also at our crowdfunding page.

What is the point of S P A C E? Design and discovery. Putting together the highlights of what we uncover, by simply inserting ourselves into the world, asking questions, and not giving up on the idea that you learn more when you learn more together. Here’s us, doing the jam, still. Discovering, and co-creating, as we go. Together, in S P A C E. Even when it’s a pandemic. Even when we’re not sure who’s around. Who’s interested. Who’s not blocking themselves from becoming better. Who’s okay with looking at something in a new way. In a country that doesn’t like to do that, it’s been one hell of a trick. Still, we keep doing our work, we keep making S P A C E. Boring or depressed foreigners aside, we’re looking for the people who are looking for the new. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. It always was, I just didn’t know it.

For the very curious

More about this project is at our newly updated crowdfunding page.

Here’s a link.


Also, be sure to check out the work of photographer Thắng Chu at his site: Also see Instagram: @thangprofoto

Watch this space:)


PS Reflecting on the 2020 year of change and stuff, I realize it’s time to say a thank-you. Special thanks to those who have supported S P A C E since the start. A lot of you donated anonymously to the campaign so I won’t call you out here. But you know who you are. I appreciate it. The best is yet to come, and I feel amazingly lucky to have the support from so many talented, smart and creative people in my sphere both near, and far. We are making it happen. Sharing the journey, one designful moment at a time. But you already knew I could deliver on that, and I appreciate it that you kept showing up for me, even when the showing up (for you, for me) was not easy. Thanking you. I read on a website somewhere that courage isn’t having the strength to go on. Courage is going on, even when you don’t have the strength…S P A C E was born in the waning hours of 2018. Today, it’s starting to start… naturally, a baby takes time to learn how to find its footing. #readyset #outofthecave2021



100 Conversations · Desk Notes · In real life · Stories

30-31 December | ‘Everyday English’ afternoon Mini-parties

Cụm từ giao tiếp hàng ngày đơn giản..

Học cùng Atelier S P A C E // TP.HCM ..

Học… Tiếng Anh..

Cụm từ giao tiếp hàng ngày đơn giản..

Xin chào ! Cùng nhau nghiên cứu hội thoại hàng ngày nhé. Trò chuyện mỗi ngày về những gì bạn muốn học! Tránh xa điện thoại của bạn và làm điều gì đó mới ..

Những câu chuyện hàng ngày về chủ đề bạn chọn ..

  • Du lịch..
  • Tiếng anh đơn giản ..
  • Kết bạn mới ..
  • Khám phá một cách suy nghĩ mới về mọi thứ ..
  • Đọc những câu chuyện đơn giản bằng tiếng Anh (có bản dịch tiếng Việt)

Hãy cùng nhau khám phá thêm về mọi thứ ..

Cool. We’re looking forward to getting to know you a little. We kept finding out about English centers and getting asked if we wanted to teach at one of them, but it’s just not our thing, teaching in that kind of way. We much prefer the kind of style of learning that begins where you feel like it, just dive in. We’re not teachers; we’re just in Vietnam because… well. Long story ! I’ll tell you, haha! –DK

Hãy gặp nhau, hãy trò chuyện, và hãy cùng nhau khám phá thêm… Chúng tôi sẽ gặp nhau tại một không gian công cộng gần studio của chúng tôi. Studio của chúng tôi là Atelier S P A C E, ở Quận 3, Trần Quang Diệu.

DK sẽ gửi cho bạn ‘S P A C E | HCMC, ‘Quarky,’ để xem qua trước buổi học đầu tiên của chúng tôi.

Book your seat..

Very limited seats. There is a fee to participate. Advance bookings only. Thanks. Here is the place to book:

Rooftop Philosophy in Sài Gòn

A series of conversations that began in Phnom Penh in 2016 on a rooftop continues… in Saigon. Here is what it is.


Get together with a very small group of people to talk about things that feel more interesting than the usual drone of:

  • ‘How long have you been in Phnom Penh?’ (yawn)
  • ‘What do you do here?’ (Why? Are you job hunting?)
  • ‘Where are you from?’ (How about ask me where I’m local?)

The idea. I’d like to gather a few people in town for a short, open-format conversation sometime soon. Before the rain. One guest at ‘N’ Phnom Penh said, ‘You are creating the theaters that Phnom Penh doesn’t have.’ Which sort of feels like a good way to think about these things. Conversation salons, mini-theaters, improvisational—like a jam session—on the spot, once, short and sweet, with the kinds of people whose paths you might not otherwise ever cross. I dig that. Theaters. So that’s how we got the idea. (HT VW!)

Location. A rooftop at a secret location off of Tran Quang Dieu, in District 13

Agenda. Open format. Guided, prompt-led conversation. No experience or expertise necessary. Proficiency in English is best, but all are welcome. Light, relaxed, nice view. 6:30PM start. 8PM end. We’ll have prompts and guided instructions for conversations that, I promise, will veer far from the vein of the above. (How to design space for great dialogue? That is the work of DK, can elaborate, just ask through the form below.)

Fee. In an effort to keep things intimate and conversational, DK is asking USD $10 per person to participate. That doesn’t include food or drinks you may like to order at the rooftop. and the money goes towards facilitating a light, fun, inclusive conversation salon. (Free for members of this month’s MIRROR and S. P. A. C. E.) You can pay by cash on the day at our registration time slot. Or you can pre-book your spot…

Pre-book my spot — $10

Rooftop Philosophy in Phnom Penh
Rooftop Philosophy in Phnom Penh: 2016-2019.


Desk Notes

Rebranding? Start with this..

In recent days we have been asked to share more and more about our past work in branding, and brand identity design. Concept design is our specialty, but it is an abstract thing to talk about: ‘concepting.’




‘What work do you do, DK?’

A lot. Of things. But, at the center, the one thing I do well is help people discover, through conversations, who it is that they really are.


That is what I do.

I say this and then people might ask further questions. Most of the time, most of the people will ask the kinds of boring questions like:

‘But how do you make money?’


‘Where are you from?’

or worse

‘But really, where are you from?’

Yeesh. [For a primer on why that’s a bad idea, check out Taiye Selasi‘s TED talk, ‘Don’t ask me where I’m from, ask me where I’m local’]

When I see these questions coming out of people’s mouths, I basically just end the conversations and go back to typing my blogs.

(Like now).



More broad-minded people might put it like this:

‘What is your specialty?’

Fair enough. And I will be direct. I don’t have to be wishy-washy about it. I know what I do. So I  say it. I say, ‘Concepting.’ I really really don’t have to ‘sell’ this. It’s kind of like, if you don’t see the value, right away, then you’re probably not a fit, anyway, because… [deleted]… but honestly, I don’t think you will.

What’s interesting is inside you: go find that. Find it out for yourself. (HT Jiddu Krishnamurthi). In short, if someone is smart and has been in business more than five years, then they will know the value of working with someone who knows what they are doing instead of investing money and time into the relationship only to wind up with something underwhelming, at the end.


Dipika Kohli / Phnom Penh 2014


My mentor, JM, taught me this. (Thank you for hiring DK more than once, J. I appreciate that. As, I know and understand, you do, too. We have a good awareness of the qualities of each other. Cool.) Speaking of mentors, there was another one who had also been a client, too. He helped me see that you don’t want to promise something cool and then turn out crappy results. You want to deliver. He said: I like to underpromise, and overdeliver. (HT DE. I still remember when you told me that.)

So yeah. The first filter for me in assessing if I want to share more about DK is, ‘Is this person serious about their work?’ If they are keen, and curiousgenuine, and probably number one for me is if they are sincere, then sure. I’ll share the link. I always used to send it to prospective customers, because, even if they don’t want to work with me or I don’t want to work with them, perhaps they will learn something on their own.

The link is this one, a Slideshare called ‘The Brand Gap.’ I have referred more than 100 people to this link because I think they might find out something. Sometimes helping people figure things out for themselves is the best way to be of use in doing what I said I do, at the start of this post. Namely, I help people figure out who it is they really are.

A big gig.

Confused about your brand story? This might help..

Disclosure: No one is paying me to share this link.




Publisher's Diary

20 Sept | Expanding Windows

How to design the life you want

About this Event

From 2017-2019, I went to Finland, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia. To discover stories. In the world. By simply showing up to find out things, on my own. There was no one sponsoring this, aside from a handful of people who supported our crowdunding campaign for it. Not religious, no agenda. Just: seeking. Why? To find out the new things. This is how we expand windows. And create opportunities for ourselves. Why did you embark on such an ambitious project, DK? What did you learn? Who did you meet and what did they tell you? I’ll tell you. Check out some of these links, and see if you’re interested in what we are up to, around here, and if you find yourself saying, ‘Yes this is of interest to me,’ then join us on Sunday evening. Learn DK’s techniques and meet new people, at this one-time only conversation party for a maximum of 4 guests.

Ages 21+. Advance bookings only.

Register here:

In real life · Papers

Papers | Saigon

For the very curious. This is a real life event.
It will be held on Friday, 19 June…
in Saigon.

About this Event

An interactive, hands-on workshop. Write. Discover. And perhaps be featured to share your work one day, if there’s resonance and rapport, in our weekly e-mag S P C.

DK is in Saigon for a set of time to find new voices and select and edit stories.

A. Spaice hosts. Experience S P C.

Will we meet you?

Let’s see.

No experience necessary. Writers, artists, designers, and illustrators are welcome. No photographers, please. Just too much of that, these days. We want to slow down and make a space to discover, quietly and together, what’s interesting about *right here*, and *right now*. Note: we will ask you to put your phone into a box, when we begin!

Secret location, District 1, public space. Bring a +1 for free.

Agest 20+. Advance bookings only. Register here to confirm. Location details and agenda to follow by email, from there.