Design Week 2022: Nation-building, sustainable growth

Design, as the pandemic has especially taught us, isn’t just about the aesthetic of things, of luxury and branding. It’s also about sustainability, mitigating climate change, and preparing for the future.

The return of a face-to-face Design Week Philippines (from 14 to 22 October) aims to drive that point as it holds its much-awaited gathering of people from the creative industry at an apt hub, the well-known 94-year-old First United Building in Escolta, Manila. The art deco building (built in 1928) houses a series of local shops collectively called HUB; Make Lab, which offers vintage goods and handcrafted items; a museum; a co-working space; a café; and film production offices as well. In short, it’s the perfect place for creative types.

The Design Center of the Philippines, an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, welcomes the public at this hub this month with two design events: Design Week Philippines, and the International Design Conference.

Photograph courtesy of EULAT
EULAT poster.

It aims to highlight design as part of nation-building and focuses on the importance of design for sustainable growth. This is the 11th year of Design Week Philippines from 14 to 22 October at First United Building in Escolta, Binondo, at UP BGC and online. It’s co-presented by the Tourism Promotions Board, First United Building and HUB: Make Lab.

The consciousness to create sustainable designs, said Rhea Matute, executive director of Design Center of the Philippines, became clear to the larger design community during the pandemic and while many were forced to stay in quarantine.

“Designers had more time to reflect because they were staying at home and that consciousness on climate change and sustainability among designers, and even the end-users, was accelerated. The pandemic sort of catalyzed that mindset,” said Matute. “We’re hoping that what the pandemic has started doesn’t only go back to normal, but to a better normal.”

This annual festival is part of Proclamation 277, declaring the third week of April and October of every year as Design Week Philippines. Since 2017, Design Center institutionalized Design Week Philippines as “a national celebration that fosters local and global awareness of the creativity and design capabilities of the Filipino people and highlight the role of design in addressing the social problems.”

Photograph courtesy of Design Center of the Philippines
RHIA Matute (left), executive director of Design Center of the Philippines.

The nine-day gathering, according to a press handout, celebrates Design Center’s “decade-long pursuit of democratizing and catalyzing Filipino design and the creative community through networks and relationships between designers and various stakeholders to advance and globalize the Philippine design sector.”

This year, the festival returns to its roots with “Design for All,” by starting the conversation on what “for all” means.

The nine-day festival includes design workshops, design tours, design experiences, as well as design talks by industry experts.

International Design Conference

Another gathering under the Design Week Calendar is the annual International Design Conference on 14 October. First launched in 2017, it will be held under the Dwill once again with leading designers, global thought leaders in the creative and business sectors attending this hybrid event.

The International Design Conference also puts the spotlight on the people and projects that give design a new sense of purpose, mission, and wider usefulness. The conference will feature various programs such as plenary sessions, fireside chats, breakout sessions, design masterclasses, virtual design tours, and design experiences.

EULAT: Connecting Filipino design

Meanwhile, the global conversation continues at the Instituto Cervantes in Intramuros where “EULAT for Culture Philippines: Filipino Design Links with Europe, the Americas, and Asia” takes place. It will be a gathering of architects, textile/fashion designers, digital/multimedia experts, and gastronomy specialists for its various presentations, workshops, and conversations.

The events series is organized by the EUNIC cluster in Manila and RIDCULT, together with the DTI-Design Center of the Philippines. The Embassy of Spain Manila initiated the project with “the aim of building its appreciation of the Philippines as located uniquely amidst cross-cultural flows past and present.”

The Embassies of Spain, Austria, Chile and Mexico, together with Instituto Cervantes, the Alliance Française de Manille, the Philippine Italian Association, and the Goethe Institut selected the participation of their representatives their country’s design field Curator and critic Marian Pastor Roces was tapped by the Design center to conceptualize the event series and serve as conference director.

Visit the Design Center of the Philippines Facebook page to learn more about event activities:

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