Blog, Designs I like, Furniture Design, Industrial Design, Sculpture

Documenting the Filipino Design Aesthetic – Handcarved Motif

I’ve been trying to document objects commonly found in Filipino households with the aim of defining motifs that contribute to the aesthetic of “Filipino Design.” One recurring theme I’ve found is a variety of handcarved design patterns on furniture, doors, and sometimes architectural pieces, like churches or sign posts.

I’m documenting these carvings to match them with the plants and flowers that inspired them. The following images were taken from the 3 regions of the Philippines – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

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Branding, Creative Direction, Critical Thinking, Furniture Design, Home Furnishings, Industrial Design, Strategy

Design and Pricing Strategy

2017 brought a lot of career clarity for me. Have I shared that I aim to be the Designer that will define what the modern Filipino Design aesthetic look like?

I’ve been spending more time in the Philippines in order to have a more intimate relationship with its culture as I try to solve its issues through Design. From my observation two very significant part of the Filipino Culture that I need to address as I move forward in designing my products are – brand recognition and piracy. I need a good pricing strategy to address these issues.

Brand Names not Branding:

Filipinos care about brand names more than what the brand stands for. This is a country where Marketing is mainly done by celebrities, and people purchase based on which celebrity is endorsing what product, rather than if the product is actually a good product.

Piracy Culture:

I believe this is the child of the above phenomena. Most of the population can not afford to buy authentic products, so piracy culture is big here. Copies are labeled ‘Type A,’ ‘Type B,’ and so on based on how authentic the fake product looks like.

What’s a Designer to do?

I don’t like paid celebrity endorsements. I want my products to be bought because they are good not because I paid a celebrity to endorse them. As much as I would be flattered if my Design was copied, I would also see it as a problem as to why I wasn’t able to address that market in the first place. I think Design should be universal.

My Brand as a Lab.

I’m currently working on a Furniture and Houseware line to be launched by Fall of 2018. These two things have been on my mind when thinking about how to design the products so they are accessible to all Filipinos without cutting corners on quality and design. I’m not lacking on inspiration when it comes to designing something truly Filipino. The streets of Manila is full of color and inspiration. The biggest hurdle that I have found is how to make my Designs affordable to Filipinos.

I don’t think I can truly be the defining Industrial Designer of the modern filipino aesthetic if my market are rich westerners. I need my products to be enjoyed and treasured by all Filipinos. From the farmers in the provinces, street vendors in Manila, to the residents of Forbes Park. It’s a big problem, but it’s a challenge I’d like to meet.

My Case Study for a Pricing Strategy:

I am using the financial aid system of college education in the US as a source of inspiration and my first case study when thinking about my pricing strategy. I’ve personally gone through the system so I know its strengths and weaknesses. Is it something that can and should be done when purchasing furniture and housewares? I hope to have an answer to that 5 years after I’ve launched my furniture line.

So watch out and send me your thoughts if you find this intriguing.

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