Lady contractor sees homes evolving amid pandemic
“COVID-19 has a huge impact on the interior design industry. Our homes, commercial and public spaces will encompass the new awareness of the personal safety concerns of the people,” says Joy Gladys Jabile-Ejercito, the general manager and principal designer of JJE Design and Construct. “Though open spaces in homes, offices, public spaces will be at a decline, there will be a new definition of spaces especially at home. Spaces will be segregated so as not to be easily exposed to the virus. The foyer will become the transition zone with the sanitizing and changing areas. There will be work spaces, home-school area and virtual meet-up area. With these new spaces, the Wi-Fi connection will become one of the basic needs or necessities,” says Jabile-Ejercito, an active member and former corporate secretary of the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers board of trustees. Despite her hectic schedule, she is also a triathlete, marathoner, cultural advocate, one of the best dressed women of the Philippines awardees, an awardee of Society for Cultural Enrichment Inc., a ramp model, an active member of Business Network International, a member of Rotary Club Makati Premier District, a mother of four children and wife of a surgeon. She taught at the Philippine Women’s University School of Fine Arts and Design and headed the Interior Design Review Center of the same university in 2008. She is a regular lecturer and speaker in various schools and universities in the Philippines. In January 2018, her project was featured in the coffeetable book of My Home. In the same year, her residential project was featured in the front cover of My Home magazine. Jabile-Ejercito says that to avoid the spread of the virus and infection, interior designers will have the role to specify anti-bacterial finishes, including those that already exist like copper. They will also include design nudges to direct everyone where they can sanitize or wash their hands and employ RFID technology for temperature screening or UV light for disinfecting spaces without being exposed to humans. “For the construction industry, there are certain elements that are standard in the healthcare facilities might be applied in public spaces such as reduction of the number of flat surfaces where germs can sit and installation of proper ventilation systems,” she says. Jabile-Ejercito has been in the industry for 26 years and founded her own company on Sept. 10, 2017 which marked her 46th birthday. Today, JJE Design and Construct is one of the most aggressive and progressive in the industry with a solid roster of clients that includes residential, commercial and hospitality structures. Their designs are considered timeless, sustainable and universal. JJEDC’s clients include owners of residences, hospitals, clinics, offices, shops /stores, boutique hotels and resorts. Her dream project is to design and do an interior fit-out of a whole hotel or condo building and to construct a low-rise [up to 6 floors] building. “Furthermore, I dream to have interior design projects abroad and construction projects in other regions of the Philippines,” she says.
A daughter of a military general, she wanted to become a doctor in college and enrolled for Agricultural Chemistry at UP Los Banos before shifting to BS Biology in the second semester. “I only got involved with interior design when I was looking for a stepping stone in UP Diliman so I can transfer there. Interior Design was easier to transfer to as it was not a quota course. My plan was to shift to BS Biology after. But then, I got to enjoy Interior Design. For one, being an artist is in my blood. My dad’s hobby is painting, sketching, drawing. He was the artist in his school and I was also the artist in my school. So I pursued it and came to love it,” she says. When she graduated from college and passed the interior design licensure examination, her father put up Arqui Interfaz Construction and Development Corp. to build low-cost housing for the military. “I find interior design very interesting because it does not only make the spaces aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, relaxing and comfortable but functional effectively and efficiently. Through my learnings, interior design is also psycho-social. It helps promote the wellness and well-being of the users and encourage enhanced teamwork and communication, support business process and improve staff welfare and morale,” she says. “I find fulfillment in finding solutions to the problems. I enjoy going through the process of visualizing, looking at the details, planning, and implementing. Seeing my design and drawings come to life is simply amazing,” says Jabile-Ejercito.