Cogniplus Interiors

By: Keely Burkey

Joseph Tham, the General Director and co-owner of Cogniplus Interiors, knows the peace that comes when you walk into a well-designed space, and the discomfort that an ill-designed space can bring as well. With 20 years of interior creation experience in Malaysia and 15 years’ experience in Ho Chi Minh City, there’s little he hasn’t seen in his line of work.


“It’s not just about creating a space for the designer,” Joseph told us. “You also have to create the space for the client, and also the future customers.” The best way to do this, Joseph found, was to control as many parts of each project as possible so everyone would stay on the same page. And that’s exactly what he’s created with Cogniplus Interiors.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of walking into a beautiful, well-designed space. When the colours, furniture and energy of a space align cohesively, you can’t help but feel comfortable. This harmony doesn’t come naturally: it’s carefully constructed with the help of talented, experienced construction visionaries such as the team at Cogniplus.

When a company opens an office, a retailer opens a shop or a hospitality company opens a hotel, what actually goes into its creation? The first thing to understand is just how many moving parts are needed to manage a project from start to finish.

Once the project plan is in place, construction can begin. It starts with the construction. For a shop, this might mean building inset shelves into the walls or installing changing rooms in the back of the store. For an office, it could mean anything from putting up window blinds to installing sinks and toilets in the bathroom. These changes, called a “fit-out” in the construction business, aim to make the space practical and useable for the client.

Although Joseph is a designer by trade, he recognised the importance of being able to provide complete fit-out projects for companies. That’s why he worked hard to grow Cogniplus Interior from four employees to 75 over its 15 years of business. Today, in addition to interior design and fit-out construction, Cogniplus can handle mechanical and engineering projects and even make custom furniture.

Controlling the Moving Parts

For Joseph, having the ability to do a complete fit-out is one thing. But actually having the personnel and staff to do the projects is quite another. He is emphatic about one thing in particular: “The most important part of completing a project successfully is the project management. If the project managers are not organised and experienced, things can get very messy very quickly”, he pointed out.


Joseph is adamant that a good working atmosphere is essential to running a good company. By establishing a cosy and friendly way of working with one another, the Cogniplus team has been able to maximise the potential of all of their creations. Joseph told us, “If people feel comfortable at work, and not pressured, all of their work will naturally be better. It’s as simple as that.” It’s a well-known fact that happiness naturally leads to productivity and innovation, so this makes perfect sense. And it’s been working well for Cogniplus since the company was founded.

Lasting Partnerships

As a unified company, Cogniplus Interiors can keep an eye on all the moving parts at once. Its goal? Not so much to make money, but instead to create partnerships. This is why Joseph has created what he calls the After Sales Service: professionals from Cogniplus Interiors visit each project twice a year after they’ve finished. If needed, they will perform maintenance on any problem the office, hotel or store might have.

Why does Cogniplus care so much about keeping its clients happy? The reason is simple. “Real estate changes so quickly here,” Joseph notes. “In two or three years they will move to a new space, and they’ll know who to turn to when they do!”

With so many well-known companies in Cogniplus’ portfolio, it looks like companies really do know who to turn to.


239 Dien Bien Phu, D3 | +84 28 3827 9688 | |


Meet the Heavy Hitters in HCMC Construction

By: Kristian Goodchild

With massive foreign investment and dizzying density, Saigon’s real estate sector is developing at a furious pace. Everywhere you look the city is changing, with sleek malls and infrastructure investment transforming the city.

Central to the city’s evolution is the residential sector. At every level of the market new developments are increasingly modern, comfortable and safe. Budget developments are on par with Western equivalents and the luxury options are as good as you could find anywhere in the world. Here are the top five companies making huge waves in HCMC:



Vingroup is one of the biggest companies – period – in Vietnam. While most of the group's current developments appear to be aimed at middle-high earners, the group is also planning between 200,000 and 300,000 apartments under its Vincity banner, with low prices (around US$30,000) aimed squarely at middle-income buyers.


The company has invested over US$1 billion in HCMC developments in the last year, with many flagship projects nearing completion.


High-end developments and Singapore-style condo compounds are Novaland’s speciality. New developments are popping up all over the city, despite what some call a dire lack of demand for luxury at such high volume.

Born from Nova group, a provider of veterinary, animal health and villa rental services, the corporation rebranded as Novaland in 2007 and has since enjoyed considerable growth within the residential construction sector.


Despite market worries about the niche nature of its business strategy, the company sold 8,000 units in 2016. More than 3,800 were sold in the first six months, and these accounted for 29 percent of units sold in the city, according to Savills Vietnam.

Dat Xanh Real Estate

With interests in infrastructure and low-end developments, Dat Xanh has also branched out into mid to high-end apartments in recent years. Developments such as the Sunview Apartments in Thu Duc showcase the group’s commitment to technical quality and modern design.


Dat Xanh remains committed to affordable housing as the central point of its corporate identity and will offer around 1,000 cheap apartments in HCMC in 2017.

Khang Dien House Trading and Investment

Anyone familiar with the Mai Chi Tho-Vo Van Kiet highway connecting District 1 and 2 will have seen Khang Dien’s huge developments. The group’s sprawling developments in Khu Pho will eventually form a huge residential bridge between District 2 and 7. Formed of a mix of affordable and high-end luxury condos, the developments will dominate the hitherto sleepy District 9 for years to come.


This represents something of a shift in gears for the firm that has, to date, been more interested in commercial and civil projects.

Nam Long Group

Nam Long’s flagship projects, ‘Ehome’, are possibly Saigon’s best examples of affordable housing done well. Since the first trial development in District 7, Ehome offerings have won plaudits for their aesthetic quality as well as affordability and market-savvy awareness.

Group leader Nguyen Xang Quang said his focus on budget construction was to serve the real demand sector in the city: “When the market was booming during 2006-2007, we … decided to focus on the segment with the bigger demand.”


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