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Design Forecast: Futuristic, Fearless, and Filipino


What will 2020 bring in terms of design? What structures will change our lives? What new trends will transform the way we work?

The past year has been a big year for design. When we say “big,” these are massive projects worth noting for their scale and ambitious design. These include projects such as the athletics and aquatics stadium built from the creative minds of architect Royal Pineda and designer Budji Layug; the rise of new lifestyle malls such as Assembly Grounds in North Makati and MET Live in Pasay; the introduction of more horizontal communities in urban centers outside Metro Manila such as Greenfield’s Trava in Sta. Rosa and Sta. Lucia’s Las Colinas Verdes in Davao, among others.

Design also was a big year for projects on a smaller scale yet with long-term impact. These include Kenneth Cobonpue’s “volunteering” to design stalls for Cebu’s vendors, the win of pinyapel—paper made from discarded
pineapple leaves (this will encourage more enterprising Pinoys to research about sustainable materials), and the success of small and medium enterprises that participated in Manila FAME’s biggest and most sustainable show in 2019.

This new year—the start of a new decade—is only bound to be bigger and more exciting for the world of home and design. A lot of things are bubbling up at the moment and based on these, we came up with our forecast of what the year ahead may look like in terms of design and space.

The Future is Here

Technology is a part of modern living. A Smart City—where a city’s operation utilizes the Internet of Things (IoT)—is now a reality and not something we just see in sci-fi movies. Today, cities such as Makati and Clark are transforming to become Smart Cities where data is used to solve challenges in transportation, security, disaster management, etc.

In 2020, technologies utilized in Smart Cities will infiltrate more homes. Mundane functions, such as opening a window, heating water for shower, turning a washing machine on, can all be done with a few taps on a smartphone.

DESIGN PROPOSAL Artist's rendition of 'Distinctly Manila' design for the Lagusnilad Underpass

DESIGN PROPOSAL Artist’s rendition of ‘Distinctly Manila’ design for the Lagusnilad Underpass (Photos courtesy of UAP-MCC)

Lagusnilad Underpass (2)

Lagusnilad Underpass (6)

The future of work is also here. In 2020, there will be an exponential rise in co-working spaces. As technology enables workers to work remotely, these 24/7 spaces become more in-demand with Millennial workers rushing in and out any time of the day.

As such, traditional office layouts will soon be phased out in exchange of offices with more open design for collaborations and mini-meeting rooms tucked in corners for serious sessions.

Businesses become Fearless

Who’s afraid of IKEA? Apparently, no one is. Checking the expansion plans of established names such as All Home,
Wilcon, or Ace Builders, no one is pulling out their planned openings of new outlets. In fact, a lot of them are excited with the prospects of another good economy in 2020.

LARGE SCALE Aquatics Center at New Clark City is a world-class structure designed by Filipino artists; topmost: Facade of an IKEA building

LARGE SCALE (From top) Facade of an IKEA building; Aquatics Center at New Clark City is a world-class structure designed by Filipino artists

_MG_9419 (1)

This is also true with niche market retailers catering to high-end home owners. More luxury brands from Italy, France, and Spain are coming in. A preview of this was when Casa Bella unveiled its new showroom filled with furniture from various luxe Italian brands inside a five-story building.

Back to IKEA, it plans to open its first store in the Philippines this 2020 at the Mall of Asia Complex. Touted as the brand’s largest shop in the world at 65,000 square meters (as large as 150 basketball courts combined!), it is set to change the way Filipinos build, decorate, or renovate their homes.

Going Back to Filipino Roots

It has already started, and it started where it matters the most, in the heart of the country, Manila.

In 2020, a lot of projects in Manila are being done to bring back its glory. One example is the design upgrading of the Lagusnilad Underpass, which will be undertaken by volunteer architects from the United Architects of the Philippines-Manila Corinthian Chapter (UAP-MCC).

“It should have the sense of the place,” Ar. Reymark Gardiola tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “[This is why we
went for] steel arches and grilles, which reflect the rich history of Manila’s architectural heritage of arched and vaulted structures within Intramuros and the Art Deco grilles that adorn the city’s theaters, post office, city hall, and other institutional buildings.”

The ultimate goal is to create a “distinctly Manila” public structure, making it both an access facility and a destination.

This proposal has been presented to Manila’s City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), the group has yet to receive a green light. Nevertheless, this is good news as other places in Manila are given the “resurrection” they deserve—one of which is the Rizal Memorial Stadium and the other is the underpass linking Quiapo with España Boulevard.

SOON TO OPEN The Met Theater's facade lights up (Photo by Becco Empleo)

SOON TO OPEN The Met Theater’s facade lights up (Photo by Becco Empleo)

One of the most anticipated “resurrections” is that of the Metropolitan Theater. After years of being a decrepit building in the middle of traffic, noise, and pollution at Plaza Lawton, the Grand Dame of Manila—or simply, The Met—is close to opening its doors once more.

Designed in the Art Deco style and infused with Filipino elements by architect Juan M. Arellano, the theater bears numerous carvings of banana leaves and mangoes on the ceiling, bas reliefs depicting the muses of Music, Tragedy, Comedy, and Poetry on the proscenium, among other design features.

It was first inaugurated back in 1931. What followed was a series of stalled renovation efforts after a partial damage caused by the Second World War. It was only in recent times when renovation was fast tracked.

Only the main theater is expected to be completely restored this year, though, with the rest of the Met’s two wings
needing one more year to restore.

On the world stage, 2020 will see more Filipino designs. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in collaboration with New Clark City design brainchild, BUDJI+Royal Architecture+Design, as well as curator Marian Roces, will present the Philippine Pavilion at the upcoming World Dubai Expo 2020.

It is one out of 190 country pavilions to rise at Dubai’s 428-hectare Expo, which expects a total of 25 million visitors.

The Philippine Pavilion will take inspiration from a bangkóta, the Tagalog word for coral reef.

“The natural, organic shape of the coral reef or bangkóta will draw visitors to the Philippine Pavilion into defined, free-flowing, open spaces,” reads a description of the pavilion from the expo’s website. “[It reflects] how Filipino culture embraces openness, meaningful encounters, and are connected around the world [through] travel, migration, and technology.”

This theme not only highlights the country’s rich natural resources, but also its similarity to Filipinos, with both growing in “colonies that thrive throughout the world.”

This 3,000-square-meter pavilion is set to feature an artisanal café, Go Lokal! Stores, and five exhibits depicting the pre-Spanish colonial era: 4,000 Years Young, Modern Becomes Filipino, The Muslims of the Philippines, The Coraline People, and Oceans Pacific.

The concept of practical luxury—a design approach that deviates from the use of expensive materials and instead, creates luxury by design— will be applied in every part of the project. It’s the same approach Pineda and Layug have used in designing the stadiums at New Clark City.

“Even if the Philippines is not yet a First World country, we do not have to wait to be one,” Pineda previously told Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “We believe that Filipinos can enjoy the same luxury as long as we design something that is best for Filipinos.”

With all things design looking forward to the future, it is finally time to make foreigners familiar with the feasibility of the Filipino design.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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