Văn Trần

The cover of S P A C E | Ho Chi Minh City, ‘A Cool Evening’ is this arresting image by Van Tran, September 2020

S P A C E | ‘The Way I Go’

A curated collection of new poetry & photography June 2020-June 2021

Instagram @huyvan.ne



‘I just want to go the way I want to go, and find things out, along the way… In the big world, in the big city, we can find them. The quiet places.

Văn TrầnSeptember, 2020 Saigon


‘Bạn có tin rằng cuộc sống là những lựa chọn không…’

Văn TrầnAugust, 2020 Saigon

Discovery. When you go somewhere new, you can find out things about yourself. Things that, for example, maybe you had no idea were inside of you or that you could dream into possibility. Plus, you can experiment and explore to find out how to try new ways to do old things. Certainly such sorts of things are not new to chef-photographer Văn Trần.  Not only did he work in a four-star hotel kitchen for five years, trying new recipes and both failing and succeeding at many adventures while he was still in his hometown in Danang, he’s also been abroad. He traveled to: Melakka, Penang, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. These are all places that are quite far, relatively, from his beloved hometown, of Danang. So many people say, ‘Why don’t you go back to Danang? It’s so beautiful. So much relaxation, the beach…’ But he came to Saigon to find his way. Alone, apart from all that was familiar. At the age of 26 he came here, and now, he’s 27, reflecting on ‘The Journey.’ Having been here for a year, living apart from his younger sister, one of his older brothers, and their parents, whom he worries about often, he managed to find out something about himself…

[Coming to Saigon] I opened a box. And once I opened it, I found so many things inside. For example? Well, I learned so many different ways to do things, different methods, kind of like figuring out how to ride a bicycle in new ways. Sometimes I wonder, though, what did I find out, exactly? I feel like I still have to work hard and then, to make something, make something that is real… So, for me, it was like… at the end of all this discovering, in my box, I found a broad door. It gleamed with possibility. Looking back, I realize that for this one year, I have been dreaming about a time when I can go somewhere. Somewhere new. I want to travel. I want to see. Maybe a foreign country, far from Vietnam. Or, maybe somewhere in nature, with trees and birds. And quiet. When you can experience talking to the natural world you can find… calm. And… yourself. And I really want to go somewhere like that…

‘The Way I Go’

‘Look, and feel everything that surrounds you… You will find yourself.’

‘Some people say my photos are sad, but I don’t think they get it,’ says Trần Huy Văn, defiantly. ‘These are my photos. I love them. They tell my stories.’

The images below are from Hồ Chí Minh, where he spends his time observing quiet moments and the day-to-day.

(Also, the weather.)

Here & Now

Design Kompany asked him to be our art director for Atelier S P A C E / Ho Chi Minh City. He joined us then to guide the process of slowing down, and making more things by hand, writing by pen on traditional Vietnamese papers and drawing, too. This was his directive: ‘Slow down. Don’t rush.’ Together, we created an autumn series of S P A C E zines, which are in our online store, together taking the theme, ‘Trust.’

Van Tran / Saigon

‘Thời Gian’

Mua và không gian yên tĩnh
Mọi vật và một vật
Lời hát và tiếng hát

Thật vui biết bao khi quanh ta luôn tôn
Tại những điều tuyệt vời
Cho bạn và
Cho tới

Văn TrầnNovember 16, 2020, Saigon

Một ngày nắng đẹp

Trong mắt bạn muốn nói lên điều gì
Không khí
   và không gian
       và An nhiên
‘Thấy bạn trong ánh nắng’
Hoặc có thể là Hồ Chí Minh
‘Một ngày nắng đẹp’

‘See you in the sunny’
Or maybe Hồ Chí Minh
‘A lovely sunny day’

–Atelier S P A C E | Dalat & Saigon, August & September 2020

‘Studio Day’ // VT, HCMC 2020

New Cuizines

Taking a break for lunch at one of our studio days at Atelier S P A C E / Food & photo by VT, 2020

I like to cook when I’m happy, either with my family, or for a friend… I started cooking when I was twelve years old. Let me explain the culture of mealtimes in Vietnam. It’s like this. What do you feel when you eat a meal by yourself? In Vietnam, we always want to eat together. It is important to me because at that time, we are all one, spending time together for a meal, preferably at a round table…’

Given this, DK and Atelier S P A C E designed and hosted a popup restaurant in June 2021. 

Eating and talking. Talking and sharing. Gathering more stories, as we went. We learned about the way cooking is a kind of collaging of ingredients, in a way, and that went quite nicely with our own mash-up style of making zines. Out of whatever we happen to find. In this short June 2021 popup, we did both, finding things in the supermarket as well as papers, to collage ‘Zines & Cuisines.’

Here are some pics…

View menu for ‘Al Fresco’, a popup  >



Thank you, Văn Trần, for teaching us
how to
pay attention,



Next: ‘The Book of Feelings.’

DK are intrigued about how to design the space for an aesthetic moment to happen, on the spot, for unexpected and random connexion, with the people, objects, and places where they go, in S P A C E

This gallery is 100% supported by donations. You can support our work at S P A C E.

Here’s a link.



‘A Summer Noon’, title and story inspired by conversations with Van Tran in S P A C E / Download it at: https://gumroad.com/designkompany?sort=newest#HHIjk