Bang Dang has found a full life of his own, working and
living with two tiny longhaired Chihuahuas named Zooey
and Sigurd in a unit near the Katy Trail and Mort Meyerson’s
Power House. Dang’s place is a powerhouse of its own, with a
kitchen shelf full of intricate models. Made of spray paint and
paper, like tiny houses for sophisticated dolls, they exude an
intelligence so creative, so intrinsically ordered, that chaos
seems to recede before them, to be repelled from the magic
of their magnetic field.
Dang was born in Saigon of Chinese parents who moved
to Hong Kong when he was five, then to Dallas, joining
other members of the family, and, finally, to Garland. His
father arrived with no English and took a job for a time with
a convenience store while his mother eventually went to work
for a security company. His sister, a born Texan 10 years
younger, is a dietitian at UT Southwestern and wants to study
further to become a physician’s assistant.
It’s a wonderful American story, and it shows in Dang’s
multifaceted taste. “In Hong Kong,” he explains, “the alleys
were where you got good food, where everything happened. I
moved from a high-rise to suburban Texas, with a front yard
and a backyard. So I love urbanity and I also love nature. My
designs at Bang Works reflect this.”
After UT Austin, Dang joined Gary Cunningham, whom
he calls “an architect’s architect,” and had 10 productive
years pursuing projects like Deedie and Rusty Rose’s Pump
House. But he could not escape the Great Recession any more
than Nimmo could, or the Smiths. It was farewell to a happy
situation and hello to unwelcome and premature maturity.
Dang made a sensible appraisal of himself, realized that he
would love to teach, and set about making that happen, with
a master’s at UT Arlington. Now he runs a studio project for
18 students three days a week, usually in the morning, though
sometimes afternoons as well.
The rest of the day and night are for Dang’s own work. His
current excitement is a country-modern creation in Irving for
Cole Blank, a homebuilder who is both client and contractor,
and his wife Wendi.
Dang has spent two years perfecting that design, playing
Bach, classical jazz, electronic/trip hop, and country music
all the while. He stokes himself with artichokes and pasta
or yogurt and cocktail shrimp plus a Chinese dinner every
Friday with his family. His big ambition, apart from making
good design, is to play the guitar and harmonica at the same
time. Why not?
/// bang dang
Blank residence in Las Colinas by Bang Works