In 2020, Vy Truong and Han Dang, co-founded the emerging Houston-based architectural design firm, Very Handsome Studio [VHS]. Together, the duo, like Megan and Beyoncé in Savage, has a decade of industry experience, specializing in the areas of housing, education, hospitality and commerce.
Truong was born in Houston and attended Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design, majoring in interior architecture. Truong’s mother was a real estate agent and often remembers visiting open houses, “Not so great homes.” Upon witnessing numerous lackluster spaces, Truong became interested in transforming them, “After you see so many, the first thing you kinda wanna do is [ask yourself the question] … how do I improve this space?” It was then that she started her journey as an interior designer. Thus, once she finished her academic career, she quickly concluded that staying in her hometown would be financially advantageous. After all, this is Act I of their renaissance.
Dang, a Vietnamese native, also studied at Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design and holds a degree in Interior Architecture. In the course of adolescence, her insatiable desire for placement and texture was evident. She has a memory of collecting design magazines and cutting pages. While in college, she studied abroad in Central Europe. This tour was an eye-opener for interior inspiration.
When Covid-19 struck, completely locking down Houston’s city center, it adversely affected multiple businesses within a variety of sectors. On the upside, the economic downturn allowed Dang and Truong to solidify their atelier at a much lower price point. Nevertheless, the design dyad remained positive and became more sensitive to the growth and development of their enterprise, “You win some, you lose some.” To date, their agency has witnessed an increase in new accounts, resulting in more than twenty divestitures since its inception.
Very Handsome Studio enthusiastically works in tandem with a plethora of establishments as well as a myriad of restaurants flourishing in the vicinity of their headquarters. Still in its infancy, Truong and Dang of VHS are far beyond achieving what they never imagined.
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VHS projects include a conceptual Smash Burger with a bodega theme, children’s academy, speakeasy slash sushi bar alongside an Italian seafood restaurant. At last, Truong and Dang are ecstatic to share their eclectic conceptions with the world, “We are knocking on wood until the doors open.” And soon, they will be at the podium receiving a Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum’s National Design Award.
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Article: Vaughn Lowery, Lana Heaney