Life

Photos of Vietnam’s Iconic Street Views, but in Lego

It took the artist almost a year to build a Vietnamese fishing boat.
vietnam lego collector Hoang Dang creates street scenes and icons using Lego pieces
Photo: Courtesy of Hoang Dang

Around the world, hardcore Lego fans have used the plastic bricks for larger-than-life sculptures and empowering monuments. Now, a Lego enthusiast is recreating iconic scenes from everyday life in Vietnam with the help of the beloved toy.

Advertisement

Hoang Dang is a Hanoi-based industrial designer who has been collecting Legos since 2010. He told VICE that for the first two years, his collection consisted of sets that he had wanted when he was a kid. Then, in 2012, he started creating his own designs. Recently, the 31-year-old has been gravitating towards Vietnamese icons and street scenes, in search of a “unique angle to explore.”

trishaw rider in vietnam built using lego

Photo: Courtesy of Hoang Dang

According to Hoang, the diversity of the global Lego community sees members “[bringing] something [from] their background and experience to the table.” 

“I would like to do the same with a little bit of Vietnamese twist,” he said. He regularly shares his Lego designs on Flickr and Instagram.

Hoang’s creations are very intricate. In a miniature set showcasing a house in the 1990s during the Tết holiday (Spring Festival), eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot pieces that are characteristic of that era, such as a red Soviet-made television set and several Soviet-era toys. The miniature living room also contains traditional Tết items like a tea set and a kumquat tree.

Vietnam tet holiday spring festival home in the 1990s with soviet era furniture in lego.

Photo: Courtesy of Hoang Dang

He pays a lot of attention to details, like those in this dilapidated storefront complete with items for sale.

old vietnam store selling tidbits and groceries built with lego

Photo: Courtesy of Hoang Dang

old vietnam store selling tidbits and groceries built with lego

Photo: Courtesy of Hoang Dang

His favorite creation? A Vietnamese fishing boat that he built in 2019. 

“It took me almost a year to complete,” he said, adding that most of that time was spent finding the “right pieces.”  

Advertisement

According to him, the fishing boat highlights “a side of Vietnam that [is] not as well-known but just as significant.”

vietnamese fishing boat and fishing culture built with lego

Photo: Courtesy of Hoang Dang

“With a long coastal line from north to south, Vietnam has a rich fishing culture,” he said. “To me, there is something poetic about riding waves in the open ocean.” And as somebody who was born and raised in the city, Hoang said that this lifestyle is something that he “[craves] from time to time.”

vietnam house building architecture built with lego

Photo: Courtesy of Hoang Dang

For him Lego-building is an artistic pursuit. “I love Lego as a medium to express my creativity,” said Hoang, who likens his Lego pieces to “oil paints on an artist’s palette.”

But this doesn’t mean that every Lego-building session has to be an aesthetic endeavor. Sometimes it’s “simply a toy,” he said. “I simply enjoy it as an escape when I need to recharge my energy.”

Besides nostalgic Vietnamese street scenes, Hoang’s other works are equally mesmerizing. His Lego model of a bonsai was a runner-up in the original design category for Brickset’s 2021 Build a Bonsai competition.

2021 bricket build a bonsai lego competition runner-up

Photo: Courtesy of Hoang Dang