Our staff are required to meditate says Vo Trong Nghia

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Meditating twice a day keeps staff at Vo Trong Nghia Architects focused, claims founder

Venice Architecture Biennale 2016: Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia has revealed that he makes his staff meditate every day to help them "resist cravings and improve concentration".

The Vo Trong Nghia Architects founder – who has earned a reputation as a pioneer in bamboo structures – claims that meditation is a key factor in keeping his staff focused and improving their decision making.

Portrait of Vo Trong Nghia
Vo Trong Nghia claims that meditating keeps his staff focused and improves their decision making

Speaking at the launch of a bamboo meditation space in Venice this week, the architect said the discipline helped staff at his office in Ho Chi Minh City improve their lives and "avoid ignorance".

"The staff at Vo Trong Nghia Architects are required to meditate twice a day and attend 10-day meditation courses throughout the year to continuously reconnect with nature, as well as to understand their minds at a deeper level," he explained.

"It helps to resist cravings, improve concentration and sensitivity to our surroundings, as well as better decision making in improving our society, not just for our personal interests."

Vo Trong Nghia also claims the spiritual practice helps give his team of 60, which includes architects and engineers, better quality of life.

"At Vo Trong Nghia Architects, we see meditation as a beneficial pathway to help people to avoid ignorance, purify their minds, improve their lives and bring people closer to nature," he added.

Human Meditation Nature at the Venice Architecture Biennale by Vo Trong Nghia Architects
The Human Meditation Nature installation consists of several bamboo towers, each supporting a plant

To prove his theory, the architect has installed a meditation space inside the Central Pavilion in the Giardini – one of the two main venues of the Venice Architecture Biennale. It consists of several bamboo towers, each supporting a plant.

The architect hopes the installation will not only help visitors to learn the value of meditation but also educate them about the value of integrating nature into design – whether as an ecologically friendly building material, a sustainable farming resource, or simply to create more pleasant environments.

Human Meditation Nature at the Venice Architecture Biennale by Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Vo Trong Nghia hopes the installation will not only help visitors to learn the value of meditation, but also educate them about the value of integrating nature into design

"Within this forest of bamboo and plants, we invite you to meditate and reawaken your relationship with nature," added the architect. "We hope the journey through this pavilion will remind you of the impact of human actions in our daily lives."

Vo Trong Nghia has offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Past projects by the firm include a prototype for low-cost housing, a kindergarten with a vegetable garden on its roof and a plant-covered house.

Human Meditation Nature at the Venice Architecture Biennale by Vo Trong Nghia Architects
The installation goes on show this week as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale

Entitled Human Meditation Nature, the new installation goes on show this week as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale, which runs until 27 November 2016.

The theme of this year's event, selected by curator Alejandro Aravena, is Reporting From the Front – a bid to encourage architects to address some of the most important global issues.


Projects credits:

Principal architect: Vo Trong Nghia
Design team: Takashi Niwa, Nguyen Duc Trung, Do Huu Tam, Aiko Nakada, Pham Thi Huyen Anh
Construction: Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Nguyen Ba Tuong, Nguyen Duc Trung, Hoang Thanh Hai), Aiko Nakada, Joonathan Edward Marfleet