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Sam Phong Nguyen

MA work

Neo-Biophilic: Oscillating Landscape

Searching for a Therapeutic Utopia

The project is embedded with the designer’s reflection of his personal experience with psychotherapy. Using an immersive installation as a statement, the project tackles the notion of empathy, stigma and misconceptions surrounding people who suffer from mental disorder.

From another perspective, the project also functions as an alternative proposal for the future of Biophilic Architecture. The designer alters the static landscape to create a therapeutic effect through swinging motion, heightening the inhabitant’s experience of natural scenery. Thus, the project manifest as a scale model of a dreamscape for mental health, where the environment is modified to comfort the habitant’s psychological wellbeing. 

One could describe the setting of the project as the search for a therapeutic utopia. In this miniature utopia, the usual skyline from one’s windows slowly oscillates to help banished traumatic memories. Yet, outside the context of the window frame reveals a huge, costly and complex construction to achieve such effect. Can such a utopia exist? Would we go that far for the sake of mental wellbeing ? How would it fit in one’s neighbourhood where everyone share the view of the oscillating scenery ?

The context of this project lies between the intersection of Biophilic Architecture, new research into psychotherapy such as Ecotherapy, EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) and the Vietnamese art of miniature landscape arts (Hòn Non Bộ) from the designer’s cultural heritage.

The project attempts to question the perspective that one perceive mental illness: is it related more to the individual, or is it the environment ?


  • MA Degree


    School of Communication


    MA Information Experience Design, 2016

  • When it comes to classifying myself, I often use the term fusionist. From time to time, I wander across to the world of futuristic fashion, the magical realm of physics, the quantum universe, the unthinkable utopia, the architecture of faraway dream. 

    My title is not a fixed one – it has evolved from art director to speculative thinker, information mediator and recently, dreamscape architect.


  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) Graphic Design: New Media, University for the Creative Arts, London, 2013
  • Experience

  •, Creative director, Ho Chi Minh City, VN, 2014; Bep Collective, Lead designer, London, UK, 2015
  • Exhibitions

  • Digital (Dis)connections: Ai Weiwei Late, Royal Academy of Art, London, UK, 2015; Ponyland, Hockey Gallery, London, UK, 2016; Forces, Physics & Football: British Science Week, National Football Museum, Manchester, UK, 2015; Data Wrangler, Royal College of Art, London, UK, 2015; Insula at RAW fair, Truman Brewery, London, UK, 2015; Symbiosis, Truman Brewery, London, UK, 2013; Open GDNM, UCA Epsom, Surrey, UK, 2013
  • Awards

  • YCN Student Award: Open University brief, YCN, 2011; Shortlisted for Design to Win: Design Factory, Design Museum, 2013
  • Publications

  • YCN 11/12 Student Annual: Open University brief