Zó project


Zó wishes to revive one of the world’s most celebrated handmade papers that have been used by painters and poets for many centuries by using the ancient paper making technique as well as designing craft products made from dó paper (notebooks, papers, cards, lamps...).

About Zó Project

Zó  was established in June 2013 by Ms. Tran Hong Nhung, together with her collaborators who are having the same vision to preserve the traditional paper. Zó is running under the local NGO, Centre for Community Development of Nam Dinh province (NCCD). Zó project aims to become a social business to preserve and develop the traditional paper village of Vietnam in a sustainable way.

Social Impact:

Preserve and develop the ancient technique of paper making, together with the preservation of the Dó material.

Improve the process of handmade paper making with environment protection.

Increase the value for Dó paper by creating new products with contemporary design for daily life

Zó project is a social business, which preserves, supports and expands the Vietnamese traditional paper and its making technique in a sustainable and creative way.

The idea of setting up Zó project initially came from the passion of the founder Tran Hong Nhung. Zó is a dynamic and young team who wished to bring traditional values into contemporary society. In return, our profits are going back to the community of paper maker to create job opportunity and stable income for the ethnic minority village in the Northern province of Vietnam.

Traditional Dó Paper – Stories Behind The Folds

Dó” is not just a simple sheet of paper; it’s a long story about preserving cultural and traditional values.”

Making Dó paper is a painstaking process. It takes a lot of preparation and time but the result is very rewarding. Project members and artisans have been applying traditional skills, along with new techniques to diverdify the paper’s types and the colors. Van Anh said: “The paper has to be whitened before dying it. The colors are taken from fresh forest leaves as the dried ones won’t give the right colors. The red is taken from magenta leaves while the yellow is taken from “Hoang dang”, a medicinal plant growing in the forest. The “Cham” leaves make the paper light green. We also develop “drop leaves” technique, in which the fresh leaves are kept between many layers of the paper. The leaves that can be used includes “ngot” and bamboo leaves, which create a gentle and traditional beauty”


Unique Characteristic

Thanks to the Dó bark’s unique characteristic, the paper is durable and resilient, thus, it can be used to make notebooks, folk paintings, and even home decorations like lamps, vases, and so on. Diana Wagner, an object designer from France, is deeply in love with traditional Vietnamese folk arts especially Dó paper. She is also an instructor at the workshop of the Zó project.“I found “do” paper very interesting. The texture, you need to touch it to understand, it’s thick and soft at the same time, and the fiber; actually it’s not like normal paper. You can touch it, you can feel the difference. I feel it in my gut. When I work on the object, I need to find the material and the “dó” paper it was like “Oh my god! I can do so many things with it.” The texture is very suitable for origami and also for calligraphy. You can feel that it’s going to stay in shape but you will have the freedom to make a lot of folds. If that makes sense.”