A decade after establishing his design firm, industrial designer MJ Ringor founded a company that focuses on sustainable design and honing young Filipino talents in interior design and architecture.
A spin-off from Ringor’s Mundo Design and Build, Motif Studio is firmly committed to ensure more Filipinos are able to benefit from the advantages of professionally designed spaces and structures.
As a design firm, Ringor envisions Motif as a creative collaborator with clients, not an absolute authority on design, “especially considering that millennials as a rule know what they want, and what they like.”
Ringor’s first firm Mundo did the fitting out of Hectare One, the first office of Erwan Heussaff and Nico Bolzico. Hectare One has since become the quintessential example of the millennial workplace style, values, and life philosophy.
Motif then designed Hectare Two, the duo’s second office, and the one with which Motif shares space. Motif also designed Chingolo, Heussaff and Bolzico’s new deli.
A sustainable design practice Motif shares with Hectare One and Two is repurposing; whereas in the 20th century, a building considered obsolete would be razed to the ground, Motif’s office along Chino Roces is in a repurposed older building that might have otherwise been considered derelict.
Built when industrial glass was not nearly as strong as it is today, the building lacks a solid curtain wall of glass façade, it instead has tiny vertical windows. By using an egalitarian approach to space planning, Motif moved the common areas inward and divided them with glass instead of interior walls or wood panels. Surprisingly, this enabled the tiny windows to bring sunlight into the farthest rooms.
Distribution of natural light is a huge consideration in sustainable design, the design firm asserted.
In terms of space, every square meter of available space was utilized without having to make any structural alterations.
Just as sustainability influences design in the new millennium, the invention of air conditioning meant that in most of the 20th century, aesthetics, ventilation, and any attempt at evoking emotion or making a statement with design became secondary concerns to minimalism, practicality, ergonomics, and efficiency, according to Motif.
“But the paradigm has shifted,” it said. “Rather than efficiency as it is measured in meters and man-hours, optimum human efficiency is now the top concern. Usability, livability, as well as conduciveness to work and creativity are now just as important as efficiency and ergonomics. Combine these with other virtues, and sustainability follows.”
Due in large part to traffic and advances in communication technology, a professionally designed office space these days is expected to have large and comfortable common areas for collaboration, a pantry that looks more like a coffee shop, a plush TV and game room, and a cozy sleeping area.
Motif’s own office has all these design elements, Ringor enthused. The sleeping area is a particularly novel space-saving loft perched above the main work area, in what otherwise would have just been dead space between the roof and the ceiling.
The building’s pantry and lobby, meanwhile, are set sensibly apart from the main work area and are comfortably appointed, but both flow naturally into the work areas.
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