Ly Sang and the Art of Porcelain by Minh Long

By: Patrick Gaveau

How did Minh Long I Co, your porcelain company, start?

My family has a long history in the porcelain and tableware business. I’m not sure how many generations, because we emigrated from China. My great-great grandparents came from China to Vietnam to continue their business, and then my father continued it, and then me.

minh longImage source: Ly Sang - Minh Long

It’s like our blood is running with the porcelain.

Where did porcelain originate?

Many thousands of years ago it came from China. That’s why it’s colloquially called fine china.

However, today in China, in general, the mass production is still on the low end. They have some good companies, and they have some high-quality porcelain as well, but they don’t produce top quality porcelain. You’ll find the top quality today in Japan. In the past, it was Germany, France. But now it’s definitely Japan.

minh longImage source: Ly Sang - Minh Long

Why did Japan rise to the top?

I think it just has to do with the many characteristics that make up quality. The most important part is the material. Secondly, the equipment. And then the formulation of the kaolin as well. If you don’t have the correct formulation, it never goes anywhere. So, in Japan these days, I think the breakthrough is the formulation and materials that they find. It’s pushed the quality of their products up quite a bit.

Where do you source the material that you use for your porcelain?

From all around the world. To have good quality kaolin, we have to balance all sides of the product. The strength, the elasticity, how scratch resistant it is, the translucency... There’s many characteristics, and one mine can’t fulfill all of these qualities. Maybe one has the wetness and one has the elasticity. One has the strength.

minh longImage source: Ly Sang - Minh Long

So we have to select the best mines for each quality and mix them. So that’s why our formula becomes very complex.

How does Minh Long make a piece of porcelain?

We have a few processes. Before anything, we have to boil down the raw material, because Minh Long doesn’t buy any processed materials: we buy the raw material straight from the mine. We purify, grind and mix the materials ourselves. After we’ve finished making the porcelain mix, we put it into the machine. The traditional method people used in the past is they melt the clay into a liquid and they fill this liquid clay into water and into a plaster mould made of gypsum. And then they dump all of the water out, and the deposit of the clay left onto the mold forms the shape of the product. And the more contemporary way, they use the machine. The machine is forming, it’s spinning fast. You see in some video that they have a spinning table, and the people use your hand to form it. So it’s the same method, but with the machine. And the most advanced today is what we call high-pressure casting, which also uses liquid, but we use pressure to push the water out. It results in a more even deposit onto the product, and a more complex design for the tableware and the artform, especially for a symmetrical design. But this technology is very complex.

What’s important to customers in high-end porcelain?

First of all it’s the price. Because there’s no doubt about the quality – the quality they can see and feel. Normally the price is not so sensitive to certain levels of quality, but because our product is made in Vietnam, the reputation cannot compare with Japan, Germany or France. In branding we cannot compete despite our high level of quality, which people can see.

minh longImage source: Ly Sang - Minh Long

What should a customer look for when assessing the quality of a porcelain product?

When you buy a piece of porcelain, you can’t know how strong the product is until it breaks. The only visual difference you can see is the glossiness and the whiteness. But there are many ways to cheat the glossiness. They can put lead inside. It’s very glossy, but it’s very soft on the glazed surface. So the end consumer cannot tell. Is it glossy from lead, or is it lead-free?

Our products are lead-free. It’s important to trust the quality of a company.

Banner image source: Ly Sang - Minh Long

 


GOMO: Vietnam’s First World Class Furniture Shop

By: City Pass Guide

Gomo Shop is single-handedly proving that Vietnam is fully capable of producing furniture that meets Western standards, and is affordable for a wide range of local customers.

Gomo, a family-run mid-high range furniture shop, is producing modern and trendy furnishings and accessories of international quality. Natural white oak is imported from America, and paired with locally sourced materials to handcraft some of HCMC’s best quality home decor. Including sofas, bedroom, dining and living room sets, and an impressive selection of gorgeous hardwood items, their four level 1,500m2 shop is the first of its kind.

Locally Producing European Certified Furniture

With a primary focus on contemporary European styles, Gomo carefully works with their 31+ suppliers and international designers to yield furniture that is made in Vietnam, but is of world class quality. While most other local suppliers of international grade furniture export the bulk of their inventory, Gomo prefers to keep their items in Vietnam in order to provide home decoration options available to the HCMC community, giving everyone a chance to enjoy the refined tastes of European style furniture.

By employing only the best craftsmen and keeping a close eye on the handmade manufacturing techniques, Gomo Shop is able to offer a wide range of solid oak, walnut, and acacia items while maintaining a sharp focus on ecological sustainability. By meticulously guiding the factories in production methods, and training workers on how to follow standard procedures, buyers are guaranteed safe and highly durable home furnishings. Through this unique operation process, and by using local textiles, they are able to assemble quality pieces with a much wider price range than expected. Gomo has proven to itself and its customers, that Vietnam actually does have the ability to produce high end products on par with any Western product.

“Tailor” your Own Room

Unlike other furniture companies in the city, Gomo offers knowledgeable guidance to those who would like to personally select and piece together the interior decor of their home. If you don’t have an architect to help you browse, Gomo can suggest design ideas, and also provide unique full room packages. You may also opt to bring in the blueprint of your house, and let the in-house staff help you utilise the space in the most efficient and creative way possible. In regards to sofas, you may also customise your piece by choosing the colour or fabric in order to match previously bought furnishings around your home. For sizable commercial orders for restaurants, hotels or other kinds of establishments, full customisation can be applied as well.

How to Enjoy Your Home More

Decorating your own home is something that is vastly overlooked in Vietnam, and this kind of approach to living can be a very new concept to many. The Gomo team is dedicated to shedding light on this Western way of shopping, as it can end with a very rewarding result. Jordan Dariosecq, the shop manager, carefully guides his customers through his colossal collection of unparalleled solid white oak masterpieces as he helps his customers realise the full potential of the Vietnamese furniture industry. He and his team understand that personally decorating and hand selecting furnishings that you like can bring home owners a sense of personal satisfaction they have never experienced before. By following the hottest trends, consumers can always get the sense that they are one step ahead of the game.

What’s Hot?

Solid white oak furniture and high quality sofas are the hottest items here. Gomo’s pool of international designers are always ahead of the most modern European trends, and they successfully bring these design patterns to Vietnam for local production.

Just by simply strolling through the shop you can smell the fresh oak and give the elegant feather filled sofas as test. You will quickly see that the quality inarguably speaks for itself. There are no other established Western certified furniture businesses who can cater to the needs of both the Vietnamese and the expat communities in this way. Gomo has been at it since before the high end furniture market existed, and will continue to pave the way for future interior design styles.

For more information, please contact their shop at:

Address: 7/30B, National Road No.13, Binh Hoa District, Binh Duong Province;

Tel: +84 650 3765 115;

Website: www.gomo.com.vn

Facebook: GOMO Furniture

Photos by Dinh Thinh

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