Youth of the week: Nhean Leakhena

Youth of the week: Nhean Leakhena

120704_08a

Angkor Car designer Nhean Leakhena. Photograph: Phnom Penh Post

Angkor Cars have quickly garnered a spate of international attention for their unique designs.

Nhean Leakhena, the 28-year-old daughter of Cambodia’s first domestic car designer, Nhean Phaloek, is the mastermind of design behind the series.

Given her father’s unique profession, Leakhena found herself drawing cars at a young age.

“I never learnt car design before, but my father gave me a paper and pen and asked me draw him cars,” she reflected. “I was young and I didn’t know much about design, but I got good at detailed sketches.”

Leakhena graduated with her Bachelor’s in Interior Design from the Royal University of Fine Arts in 2008. She designed her very first car, under the tutelage of her father, at the tender age of 18 – when she was in high school.

Since then, Leakhena has designed seven cars.

“My first design was only for my father, and I never thought about receiving outside support or recognition,” she said. “It’s interesting how things can change.”

When Leakhena designer her first car, she had many discussions with her father before sketching; as she explained, the design is constricted by available materials and the capacity of the vehicle.

She said that with her first design, she gave little thought to making it a modern car.

In 2004, Leakhena made the switch from a pen and paper to using a computer program for her designs. She said that using the program is not too tedious or overwhelming, simply, because she loves the creative process.

“I’ll spend half a day drawing sketches of a car, but that doesn’t mean it’s finished,” she said. “The design can be changed any time until the car is actually produced.”

The Angkor Car brand is a series of handmade mini-cars. The latest car uses an electric battery, instead of petroleum, and has a higher focus on built-in technology.

Both Leakhena and her father have recently cooperated with Heng Development Co Ltd for the production of the latest model.

“The latest model can help people save on spending when it comes to petrol, and the national economy will improve if more Cambodians start buying locally made products like this one,” Leakhena said.

In the future, Leakhena is looking forward to running her own design company.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • NOCC to contest petanque, tennis axe

    The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia will lobby hard over the next few weeks for the inclusion of the Kingdom’s most productive medal-earning sport, petanque, along with vovinam and tennis after the disciplines were left out of the initial list of 30 preferred sports for