Culture Culture

04/06/2020 - 05:48

Truong Phuoc Thanh & the story of artistic lighting

Making a turn from a state employee to an entrepreneur, the CEO of Thanh Ngan Co., Ltd. - Truong Phuoc Thanh has stamped his mark on the field of "beautifying" architectural works and landscape spaces for the city of Hue.

Truong Phuoc Thanh (right) discussing with colleagues at the site

1. Born in 1975, Truong Phuoc Thanh reflects that he belongs to a blessed generation that is linked with many proud historical milestones of the nation; thus, the people of this generation have been under the period’s influences, more or less.

Bathing his childhood in the post-war difficult years of the country has given him real-world experiences and lessons which leveled up his ability to accept, adapt, and alleviate adversity.

He used to be a post office employee following his family's wishes. In 2003, he decided to make a shape turn setting up the company as the “the desire” of being an entrepreneur in him has “taken over”.

Following the call of passion, he proceeded to the start-up world. Hitting the highway without the support of his family, and facing a start from scratch, Truong Phuoc Thanh still ventured to open a shop selling phones and fax machines - the area that he reckoned to “have a certain knowledge thanks to (his) some work experience in the postal industry".

In the early 2000s, the internet started to make a boom in Vietnam, thus, the demand for installing telephone exchanges and fax machines of companies and businesses was hiking up.

"At that time, I was very honest when it came to profit. While the others would get dozens of million for profit from installing a telephone exchange system, I only gained between 2 and 3 million, which already made me “felt awesome”.  However, thanks to competitive prices, I won a lot of truth and deals from my customers.

After a while being the “newbie” in the field, his company had contracted to build up telephone exchanges for over 130 hotels in the three provinces of Thua Thien Hue, Quang Tri, and Quang Binh. "We had quite a success at the beginning," Thanh said.

2. Realizing that the local buildings and businesses need a lot of support systems such as power cables, television, lightning protection, cameras, computers or fire alarms etc., he found ways to learn about these systems and contact the supply companies for collaboration opportunities and obtain their training, then he managed to deliver full-stack installations on his own.

When this market was saturated, CEO Thanh Ngan switched to constructing decorative lighting systems, especially artistic lighting for architectures. This business was quite new to Hue at that time.

He connected and worked with foreign experts to get backed up with designing and now his company can take over 70% of the work while the remaining 30% is outsourced by international specialists.

Thanh said that as a tourist city, Hue would become much more impressive when artistic lighting is integrated into its architectural works, monuments, and landscape spaces.

Artistic lighting set up in the Imperial Citadel by Thanh Ngan Company

It is easier said than done. To breathe "a new soul" to an architecture, given that it is also a work of art and a cultural heritage, is a real challenge.

3. “For instance, we may think it will be easy to light the works in the Imperial Citadel. But how to inform the viewers of the time of its birth, the value of architecture and culture, the talent of the artisans, the level of prosperity of that period etc., is a big complicated question”.

Or speaking of lighting for The Mieu (The Temple) and Trieu Mieu (Trieu Temple) - the places of serene worship, the lights then should be deposited and have depth. Phu Noi Vu (Interior Palace), Co Ha Garden or entertainment areas, etc., will go better with jubilant, lively, and vibrant illuminations. Whereas, a different style should be applied if Thai Hoa Palace or Can Chanh Palace is where the lighting comes in.

The lighting of Phu Xuan park along the Huong riverbank employs a programmed lighting system, which will automatically bright up or dim down depending on the number of people who "checks-in" at the area, and in less occupied spaces, the light fixtures will be beamed up to appeal more visitors.

While the lighting of landscape architectures is quite a breeze, the installation of lighting systems at architectural works, especially those of cultural heritage, is relatively a challenge. Here, there are strict rules to comply with. For instance, no physical violation (i.e. drilling or chiseling) should be made towards the monuments, whether it is just a tile or a wooden stick – the materials that have been around for hundreds of years.

According to Thanh, with the use of the new-generation, navigating led lighting technology, the architectures and landscapes of Hue have become pretty radiant at night, ensuring the fine art in lighting, as well as the light-dark contrast balance created by the lighting layout design depicts the elaborated and unique lines of the works.

4. The director of Thanh Ngan Company said, prior to erecting the light poles on 23 August street, the French expert had put in three months to study the culture, art and life of Hue.

Impressed by the image of the old vendors carrying bamboo frames over their shoulders on the streets of Hue, this expert made the handles of the lamp bent like such bamboo frames, and the drawing on the body of the lamp was also inspired by the unicorns on the structures in the Imperial Citadel. “All the products we create ourselves, whether big or small, enclose our thoughts and feelings," CEO Truong Phuoc Thanh shared.

Craving to bring about meaningful constructions for Hue, up to now, this CEO has stamped his name on many decorative and artistic lighting projects such as Thai Dich Garden, Thai Hoa palace, Dien Tho Palace, Truong Sanh Palace and currently on the plan-making of illuminating the headquarters of the provincial People's Committee, the Ironwood bridge, the parks along the banks of the Huong River, Thuong Bac park, February 3 park, Ly Tu Trong park and many routes in the city.

At the moment, the company is planning on the external lighting system of Hue Imperial Citadel, and shortly, the Royal city. For Thanh, this is a big lighting project in Vietnam and the company will invite its French experts to Hue to better collaborate.

Thanh Ngan Company has also proposed to the province to build up an illumination plan for the whole city using different forms and types of lighting for each specific area to make "Hue more and more beautiful".

Story and photos: Lien Minh