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Designer Quasar Khanh, “Father” of “inflatable” furniture

Gia đình Quasar Khanh bên trong thiết kế nội thất bơm hơi trong suốt

Quasar Khanh is a French-Vietnamese, born in 1934 in Hanoi, whose Vietnamese name is Nguyễn Mạnh Khánh. He studied in France at the age of 15 and reached the peak of his career in the 1960s. At that time, his works were very prosperous, gaining a great resonance in the world furniture market. Especially among them is the inflatable furniture collection called “Aerospace collection” which marked a revolution in the design world in the late 60s. His whole life he lived with passion for creation and innovations that can be said to be decades ahead of their time.

Biography of designer Quasar Khanh

Nguyen Manh Khanh was born in 1934 in Hanoi, at the age of 15 he went to France to study abroad under the patronage of Professor Hoang Xuan Han. His biological father, an engineer, passed away before Quasar was born while he was constructing a port in Hai Phong (Vietnam).

Khanh studied in Paris, where he graduated as an engineer from the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in 1959. There, he met the beautiful and talented French fashion designer Emmanuelle. They married in 1957 and later had daughter Atlantic Khanh. In the same year, Nguyen Manh Khanh started taking the name Quasar Khanh, before starting his career in the field of design.

The name “Quasar” in astronomy refers to the most distant and brightest celestial bodies or quasars in the Milky Way galaxy in black holes millions of light-years away, often used to reflect on the gap between his creative talent and the times. Whether in France or in Saigon, his discoveries are always considered ahead of his time. And to this day, those creations are still very relevant.

At the end of his life, he moved to Ho Chi Minh City to live and work. During this time, he also contributed many of his initiatives to the design world and the Vietnamese interior industry.

Gia đình Quasar Khanh bên trong thiết kế nội thất bơm hơi trong suốt
Quasar Khanh’s whole family inside inflatable interior design

Quasar Khanh’s career

Although he studied road and bridge engineering, Quasar turned his attention to design and fashion.

Quasar Khanh was an iconic designer of Pop culture in the late 1960s and is one of the most iconic figures of this generation. That is the comment of Jacques Séguéla – French multinational advertising magnate Havas – talking about the achievements of legendary engineer and designer Quasar Khanh after half a century of dedication.

At the age of 30, Quasar has enlightened the aesthetic for the 60-70s period as an inventor of applied science and designer. He also contributed a lot of his creativity in many different areas of design: ships, aviation, architecture, cars, furniture and fashion.

Even in the field of physics, Quasar is also considered “Einstein’s rival” because he believes that Einstein’s theory of relativity is not correct. According to him, E is different from mc2 (while Einstein proposed the theory of relativity that E = mc2, that is, energy is proportional to mass). For decades, he has reported his theory to the journal Nature and specific experimental proposals to NASA to verify. And it is possible that more and more evidence and recognition of this theory of his is possible.

During his time with the global engineering and consulting firms Coyne and Bellier, Quasar was involved in the construction of the largest multi-arch dam in the world at the time. Manicouagan 5, built in Canada, has faced problems with the toxicity of mercury and lead used in construction. As he searched for an alternative to these problematic materials and the pressure they apply, the idea of ​​using compressed air came to mind. This will mark the beginning of a long and prolific chapter in his practice.

With the right strategic vision, Quasar Khanh has a creative urge to go beyond the norms and doctrines of the time. At that time, he was often called a mad scientist, and was often considered by the scientific community as a free electron that was always troubling to scholars of his time.

Quasar Khanh’s World Famous Creations

+/ Car design:

In 1964, Mr. Khanh invented a car called Quasar-Unipower (or Cube Car). It was produced for two years by the British company Unipower in 1967-1969. With a limited number of production cars, but this creation of his foreshadowed and very soon the smart car in the city. The car had a cube roof entirely made of plexiglass, which was later designed and mass-produced. The unexpected shape of this motorcycle has caught the attention of the media and filmmakers, and it has appeared in various films including Elle boit pas, elle fume pas, elle drague with Mireille Darc is behind the wheel.

The great progress that this invention made in that period also produced both good and bad influences on the fans of this great inventor. Despite its success in the world of cinema and fashion at that time, it appeared too early to become a commercial product, so it remains a legendary invention of an “eccentric” designer. “.

Mẫu xe hơi nổi tiếng của Quasar Khanh
The car featured on the streets and movies of the time

+/ Inflatable interior design:

In 1967, before The Cube went into production, Khanh began designing his first and only 11-piece inflatable furniture collection, Aerospace. The iconic body of the work has become one of the milestones of furniture design and has been exhibited in museums around the world, including the Center Pompidou in Paris and NYC’s MoMA.

The round and modular shape of the inflatable furniture line is inspired by aeronautical research. The transparent plastic material with Quasar Khanh is a metaphor for an endless universe with nothing to hide that one can see right through.

Nowadays, we easily come across models of air beds, air mattresses, inflatable chairs, and even inflatable castles for children to run and jump, etc. They are derived from the creation of designer Quasar Khanh, therefore He is considered the “father” of inflatable furniture.

Chiếc bàn trà bơm hơi trong suốt của Quasar Khanh
Unique transparent inflatable tea table

Over the years, Quasar Khanh added a new line of sand-cast aluminum furniture, and produced prototypes of the Khanh Hydrair KX1 and QuasarArk Q2 boats.

ghế ngồi bằng nhôm đúc khuôn của Quasar Khanh
Quasar Khanh’s cast aluminum chairs

+/ Bamboo bike:

It is not certain that Quasar Khanh was the inventor of the first bamboo bicycle. But when he thought of a vehicle that could move in the city, without emitting environmental pollution, he immediately thought of a friendly material that is bamboo. And the bamboo bicycle product was born, called “bambouclette”.

Although many people consider bamboo bicycles to be impractical. However, we cannot deny that using natural bamboo to create a means of transport will be more environmentally friendly than carbon fiber bicycles.

Sáng tạo xe đạp bằng tre của Quasar Khanh
The bike is made of eco-friendly bamboo

+/ Air cushion ship:

The air cushion ship that can move both on land and underwater is the design that he has embraced for decades since he was living in France. The ship has a speed of 100 knots, compared to 50 knots for the US Navy). But this design at the time was not well received. But after all, to this day and age, we find them quite necessary for “protecting the sea and islands”, or simply moving in big cities that are often flooded after every rain.

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