Woodcarving is a thriving craft in Ho Chi Minh City, from trinkets to wood figurines to burled furniture. Elaborately designed wooden items flaunted in Saigon's streetside shops will surely pique your interest. Choosing the type of wood is important: hardwoods are more difficult to shape but have greater longevity, while softer woods are easier to carve but more vulnerable. Vietnamese woodcarving often combines sculpting with the natural curvature of the tree.

From children's toys to rosewood boxes and bowls, figurines depicting buffalos, dragons, flowers and Buddhas, a hand carved piece purchased in Ho Chi Minh City makes a thoughtful gift. Many pieces such as headboards or dresser drawers have intricate deep relief carvings. Some woodcarvings depict legendary serpents and other creatures that symbolise wealth, health and other cherished Vietnamese values.


Minh Sang Plaza

Looking for premier shopping and dining just outside of Saigon? Try Minh Sang Plaza located 30km from downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Minh Sang Plaza is home to a collection of upscale shopping and dining venues. The highlight is the first floor, dedicated to Minh Long, one of the premier porcelain makers in Asia. For a bite to eat, step outside to Ciao Café. There is also a dental clinic known for its international standard techniques and equipment. For a caffeine lift, drop in to Ciao Café.

Minh Sang Plaza is one of highest quality business centres in the Saigon area. Located in Binh Duong province, it harmoniously combines offices, retail shops, showrooms and restaurants. Set beside Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park, Vietnam Hong Kong Industrial Park, and many other industrial parks, Minh Sang Plaza is a choice location for many businesses. Tenants include Vyoga, Nissei Dental Clinic, HSBC, Greenie Scoops and Ciao Café. Make the trip to Minh Sang Plaza part of your mission when exploring the HCMC region.


Ly Sang and the Art of Porcelain by Minh Long

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




Sometimes it feels like Saigon has a specialised shopping district for everything. These different markets can be convenient when one is shopping for individual items, but when you’re trying to do something like design your apartment interior with high-quality furniture and decorations, all of the running around can practically feel like a scavenger hunt.

casa nha

Casanhà has the answers to all of your home-decorating needs in one multi-level interior design mecca. The modish showroom of casanhà provides everything you need to furnish and design your home’s dining and living spaces. More notably, the showroom space is set up in such a way that you are able to peruse its innovative, European-style furniture and decorations in a display reflecting a true apartment environment.

Casanhà is on a side street of the Hanoi Highway in Thao Dien. Its location is ideal because it provides enough space for its sizeable three-story showroom. When perusing the selection at casanhà, it becomes clear that the design of the furniture and decorations is sleeker and more modern than what you’d find at an average furniture shop in Ho Chi Minh City.

casa nha

The company specialises in what Jordan, the owner of casanhà, describes as “accessible design”. In talking to Jordan, it’s clear that one of his aspirations is to be able to provide unique designs and styles to a customer base that knows quality. In his words, “The idea is to bring very good European design to the Vietnamese market at a fair price.” Casanhà’s inventory is from 35 suppliers in seven countries, with much of its furniture coming from its own factory in Binh Duong.

Most of the furniture in casanhà is designed for and adaptable to apartment living with an extensive selection of furniture, chairs, sofas, home accessories, carpets and lighting. Most of the wide range of brands obtainable at casanhà originate from Europe. The shop makes a continuous effort to stay on top of recent trends in home furnishings by adding to and refreshing its inventory in order to stay trendy.

casa nha

In terms of pricing, casanhà also offers low, middle and luxury items, in order to attract a wider range of customers, and most of the items offered are export quality. The shop is primarily focused on dining and living spaces. Taking a stroll through the showroom and feeling the quality of the furniture, one notices right away the quality of the materials used in the construction of the furniture. Solid oak, walnut, and acacia assure that the furniture at casanhà is built to last.

casa nha

Jordan comes from a long line of furniture manufacturers and retailers. In fact, starting with his grandfather, his family has been in the furniture business for over 30 years. The family made a name for itself producing and selling furniture under the name casanhà, with its factory in Binh Duong. Changes in Ho Chi Minh City’s demographics have drawn the business closer to the heart of the ever-growing metropolis.

Casanhà offers a unique type of shopping experience, one in which you are given the time and space in a warm and friendly atmosphere to plan and imagine the decoration of your space. You can do so with the help of expert designers who not only come from a lineage with decades of experience, but also have their fingers on the pulse of current trends in home furnishing.



Finding Furniture in HCMC

Some time ago, you couldn’t find quality furniture in Ho Chi Minh City - there were fewer malls, fewer local furniture makers, and anything of quality was made for export only.

These days, finding furniture is getting easier. For example, you can find valuable items still left over from when the French were here. There’s about five to six great “junk shops” around HCMC that sell quality colonial French furniture.

Photo by: Jara D&B

Treasure at the Junk Shop

Junk shop brokers scout the country, pursue old properties and buy all the old furniture - wardrobes, chairs, and an assortment of other furnishings - then repurpose it and paint it. Basically, taking old bits of furniture and turning them into creative new domestic products. At these shops, you can get items like aged French pharmaceutical chests and redecorate them - these compartments are ideal for storing small things like jewellery, kitchen cutlery, or other personal items. You have the chance to piece together an assortment of selected items to create your own unique style of interior wooden decor. One such shop is Mr. Au’s, located at 122 Pasteur, across from Saigon Centre and past the rusting gates.

You can also easily attain old shipping pallets and, with a bit of creativity, turn them into attractive pieces of furniture. If you don’t want to spend lots of money to decorate your home, this is really manageable way to make your space look good on a budget.

The Overlooked Wood Street

There’s also wood street (on Ba Hat, stretching from D5 to D10), where you can give the carpenters a design and they will replicate it out of Vietnamese redwood. Most people that walk down wood street might think it’s nothing notable - like scissor street, boot street or safe street . But when you actually go in and visit these shops you can see everything, including laser cut wood with intricate latticework, big chunks of wood being repurposed into everything imaginable, old furniture being restored, and so on.

You can do things like take a nice piece of old wood and have them cut it to size, restore it and then make it into a proper table. You’ll find everything from giant slabs of wood to thin sheets here - and you can utilise them as you see fit. Most of it is Vietnamese redwood, which is extremely hard and sturdy. As you can see, all this requires a bit of work and imagination.

Finding Modern Furniture in HCMC

Quality furniture depends on the wood, as well as how it’s been dried. In the past, this was a big issue and wood was not dried well. This caused furniture to break apart over time. Nowadays, there has been much progress in this regard. There’s great furniture being made here, and although not prevalent, there are definitely stores to check out.

Photo by: Jara D&B

Reasonably Priced Furniture: For more reasonable prices, Nha Xinh (25 Tran Cao Van, D1; 111 Ton Dat Tien, D7) and Hoa Phat (121 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh Thanh District; 391 Dien Bien Phu, D1) are good options for those on a smaller budget.

For IKEA-style furniture in Ho Chi Minh City, visit Uma (428 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1) and Index Living (Vincom Mega Mall, No. 159 Hanoi Highway, Thao DIen, D2) at one of their many locations. Here, the pieces are cheap and cheerful, but made from lower quality materials.

Photo by: Jara D&B

Local Mid-High End: Saigon River Factory (Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, D2) is one of Saigon’s well established companies that make furniture out of alabaster and concrete. District Eight Design (E4/52 National Highway 1A, Binh Tan District) is also a delightful find. They craft all their furniture from reclaimed wood and produce tables and desks, seating, and games like foosball tables, pool tables, shuffleboard sets and other items. There’s also Linh Furniture (67 Xuan Thuy) and Decosy (112 Xuan Thuy), as well as Austin Home Interiors (42 Nguyen Dang Giai) - all in Thao Dien, D2. 

Another option in District 2 is Casanha. The spacious showroom located at 61 Xa lo Ha Noi in Thao Dien is not only conveniently located but is also a pleasure to wander around on a hot, sunny day. Displaying the latest European & Scandinavian designs, Casanha products are designed to stand the test of time without breaking the bank. Catalogued into collections that follow the year’s hottest trends, Casanha’s range of home furnishings have something for every taste. Casanha’s range of Wall accessories and soft furnishings are a fantastic option if you don’t have a lot of room but want to put your own stamp on your living space. 

A recent addition to the Casanha showroom is the range of Carbono products, from direct from Sao Paolo, Brazil. Minimalist, well crafted and oh, so trendy, if you’re looking to update your apartment, a quick look around this latest range to arrive in store is highly recommended.


Photo by: Casanha

Imported High End: Although it’s getting easier to acquire imported furniture because of new malls, you will bear the burden of the heavy import tax, as a sophisticated sofa can hit you for around VND200-300 million. The Times Square Building (22-36 Nguyen Hue) has several furniture stores on the ground floor that have some of Italy’s most well-known and respected brands - and probably the most expensive in Ho Chi Minh City.


GOMO: Vietnam’s First World Class Furniture Shop

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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