Young talents with fresh ideas, creative minds and unbridled passion are taking the world by storm with experimental takes on design in furniture and home décor.
The Design Center of the Philippines (Design Center) knows this only too well as it has always believed in and opened opportunities to young design talents.
Participants of Design Center’s Designer Development Program (previously known as the Design Innovation Program) showcased their talent at the boutique edition of CITEM’s Manila FAME.
Among the projects showcased were Sinag Papel’s paper lamps, Likha Kawayan’s Philippine bamboo showcase, and Balay Sisidlan’s architectural baskets, which were developed under the guidance of established Filipino designer Stephen Buñi.
A creative arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Design Center is mandated to promote design as a creative tool for improving the quality, competitiveness and branding of Philippine products; a strategic tool for value creation; and as innovative tool for enhancing the quality of human life.
“Design Center, through product design and materials research, encourages start-ups to attend trade training and seminars aimed at strengthening their business, while also providing design services to the more established MSMEs. Designers are matched with MSMEs that have the capability to undertake product development and design, or with those that will go through Design Center’s intensive product development projects.
Design Center also nurtures young designers through its Designer Development Program, which has two tracks: New Designers and Regional Designers,’’ says Rosvi C. Gaetos, executive director of CITEM, also Design Center’s officer-in-charge.
For instance, Design Center has helped Balay Sisidlan Architectural Baskets not only to lessen material consumption but also to give their designs a modernized take inspired by houses around the world, with details made of wood and dental cast resin.
Balay Sisidlan aims to help revive the dying basket industry in the Philippines and also produce baskets economically. Design Center helped the group come up with designs that use metal and paper as auxiliary materials for strengthening.
Offering an alternative to glass lamps, meanwhile, is Sinag Papel Paper Lamps. Inspired by the Liter of Light Project, Sinag Papel makes eco-friendly lamps from scrap paper to promote recycling and sustainability.
Because paper is a material that tears easily, designers had to be careful in developing their prototypes. Design Center’s research division helped the designers come up with the best material for their ideas by exploring existing raw materials to create handmade papers.
On the other hand, exploring different treatments of bamboo, such as veneered, flattened, and engineered bamboo, Likha Kawayan promotes the material as a more sustainable and cheaper alternative to hard woods such as narra. One of the highlight pieces in its collection was a set of school desks for the Department of Education. They were also challenged to create furniture for condominiums as a solution for downsized living spaces.
Design Center is currently reorganizing to prepare for the full implementation of the provisions of R.A. 10557, otherwise known as the Philippine Design Competitiveness Act of 2013 and to see that the challenges are met.
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