Function and style | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

WHAT happens when an Archie comic geek and Pop Art meet? This is what you get.

The continued growth of the country’s real estate industry has increased the demand for more affordable studio units averaging 18-36 square meters in size.


Graduating students of the Philippine School of Interior Design (PSID), under class adviser Pojie Pambid, wanted to reflect this trend in their current exhibit dubbed “Studio 24.”


Working on 24 spaces each measuring 24 sq m, the students followed a particular theme, commissioned by an imaginary client. Apart from dealing with sponsors and suppliers, the students had to work with contractors to turn their vision into reality.


The 111 students divided themselves into groups of three to six people. Their ongoing exhibit at Ronac Lifestyle Center in Magallanes Village, Makati, serves as their respective thesis.


“Through the years, students have had to work with spaces measuring no more than 24 sq m,” said Pambid.


But instead of doing, say, a kitchen, living area or bathroom, this year’s students had a bigger challenge. They were asked to produce a setup for an entire studio unit, which includes a receiving area, kitchen, bathroom, sleeping area and sometimes even a home office.


Regardless of the style and imaginary lifestyle they’re catering to, the students were mindful of including a sink, range and refrigerator in the kitchen, and a sink, toilet and shower in the bathroom.


“Our slogan, ‘size does not matter,’ says it best,” said Pambid. “The work should not only be functional, but should also typify whoever is going to live in it.”


One student group, for instance, went beyond expectations by including a bathtub with clawed feet inside the bedroom to cater to the whims of a “classy dame” who wanted a Greco-Roman theme.


A section called Perfect Pairings features spaces with bedrooms and sleeping areas with twin beds to accommodate their imaginary occupants such as twins, siblings, spouses, retirees and best friends.


The task is definitely more challenging than, say, building a huge bathroom, kitchen or den which graduating students were asked to do in the past. This time they had to accommodate everything without neglecting form.


Proper ergonomics


“I also wanted to challenge them about observing proper ergonomics,” said Pambid. “Despite the limited floor area, they shouldn’t scrimp on the size and dimension of their storage spaces.”


Pambid was preparing his students for their first job as interior designers. With their lack of experience, contacts and confidence, they won’t be likely doing mansions, hotels, airports and resorts anytime soon. Designing a studio unit is ideal and realistic for new graduates.


“This is also another reality,” Pambid pointed out. “The thrust before was thematic, but it wasn’t always a practical approach. And while the real estate industry continues to boom, the spaces developers are offering are getting smaller and smaller.”


The PSID’s annual exhibit is also a much-awaited visual treat for interior designers and nonpractitioners alike, as graduating students render interpretations of such myriad themes as French Provincial, Modern Victorian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Pop Art, Modern Chinese, Island Tropical, English Country, Italian Renaissance, Deconstructivism, Bauhaus and Filipino Colonial, among others.


This year’s exhibit is divided into three sections: Ladies’ Lairs, Perfect Pairings and Man Caves. Each section features eight spaces following a specific theme catering to the needs and wants of imaginary clients with their own background stories.


One female client, for instance, is a chef, while another is a romance novelist a la Barbara Cartland. While the chef naturally wanted a bigger kitchen in her French Provincial-theme home, the writer went for a Modern Victorian theme with a bigger bedroom and home office to do her writing.


A well-paid airline mechanic put premium into storage spaces for his tools and clocks that tell time in various time zones in his industrial high-tech digs, while a refined gentleman went for rich Art Deco trimmings in gold that were balanced by dark walls.


While all the spaces in the Ladies’ Lairs are bright and cheery, those in the Man Caves are typically dark and teeming with gadgets and high-tech devices designed to hide, say, the TV when not in use.


“Women don’t normally go for dark interiors because it depresses them,” said Pambid. “I’m not saying they’re prone to depression. They’re just more drawn to bright and uplifting shades.”


Despite differences in themes and nuances, certain realities that generally characterize genders and groups of people are reflected in the spaces.


Since it’s a “guy thing,” gadgets are the stars in the Man Caves, Pambid added. Most women couldn’t care less about sophisticated gadgets as long as they have a nice, functioning TV. Instead, they want bigger space for their kitchens and closets.


Depending on the person, most male clients are happy with a comfortable bed and spacious bathroom. But certain men also love to cook and collect statement pieces like vintage furniture and artworks.


These traits are reflected in some of the Man Cave spaces, especially the one made for a young urban professional who went for a ’40s and ’50s Vintage theme. Instead of having stylized furniture pieces made, the group, led by batch president Julie Gil, had to source for original Ed Eames and Hans Wegner chairs.


Since the fairly successful yuppie is on his way up, he wanted his unit to separate him from the rest. Iconic and vintage statement pieces were necessary because he wanted to go beyond vague themes like modern contemporary.


“A space as small as 24 sq m shouldn’t hinder interior designers from designing a functional home,” said Pambid. “It would really depend on what they prioritize. At the same time, a small space shouldn’t be a hindrance to style.”


“Studio 24,” PSID’s graduation exhibit, is ongoing until Oct. 31 at Ronac Lifestyle Center, Magallanes Village, Makati

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