UST students who won in the Estilo de Vida Interior Design Competition enjoy a much deserved photo-op.

School pride is hardly something alien to UST students, but with six Interior Design majors dominating the recently concluded Estilo de Vida Interior Design Competition, Thomasians are given one more reason to be proud of their school.

Now on its fifth year, the competition is a venue for students from the top interior design schools of the country to showcase their talents in drafting and executing designs. Annually launched alongside the Philconstruct exhibit, a national gathering of contractors, builders and suppliers, Estilo de Vida is a joint effort between the Philippine Constructors Association and the Philippine Institute of Interior Design (PIID).

This year’s awarding ceremonies were held last November 15 at the SMX Convention Center, Bay City, Pasay, with the theme “Asian Contemporary Design.” This interestingly combined Asian intricacy and modern austerity design-wise. Out of 230 entries, 12 finalists were chosen, six of which were from UST.

Regine Beatrice Lee won first place for her design of the Entertainment Room and Den, while Kristine Lim finished third in the same category. For the Master’s bedroom category, Priscilla Hazel Co from and Lianne Steffi Lim won first and second place respectively. Camina Maipid and Hazel Ann Dee bagged second and third places for their designs for the Home Office category, respectively. All of them are from the College of Fine Arts and Design.

“Estilo de Vida is different from other competitions because here, the students are trained to be independent,” Lim, a competition winner, told the Varsitarian.

According to the PIID, on their official site, the participants are not allowed to use AUTOCAD, a software that architecture and design students use for generating drawings. The designs should be rendered by hand.

Hope for the Filipino youth

Lim also explained that the finalists were not allowed to have their materials custom-made, and they had to scout for their own sponsors and suppliers for the materials used in the designs. This gave them a glimpse of the actual trade in the interior design profession.

“But after everything has been built up, we cannot but be mesmerized by the fact that our drawings came to life,” Lim added.

Participants included students from schools like the University of the Philippines, Philippine School of Interior Design, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Assumption College and De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde.

During the final judging, the finalists were evaluated according to their accuracy in implementing the design (20 percent), their execution (10 percent), and their average from the preliminaries (70 percent).

Thomasian edge

More than excelling in visual techniques, UST Interior Design students have another and more important edge: conceptualizing.

Conceptualization is the most important part to any design process and more often than not, this is where Thomasian designers thrive. From the actual exhibit, it is apparent that the Thomasians focused on concepts rather than on aesthetics.

“We designed a room for a house, not a room for an exhibit,” said Lim, claiming that their designs are based on the needs of actual clients, rather than just eye-candy exhibits.

Noticeably, the Thomasian entries were not visual standouts but what made them interesting was the background story of their supposed clients and how the student-designers conceptualized a design solution that would best answer their needs. There was also the feel of authenticity in their outputs, something that is not common in actual displays.

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Lim’s design, for example, is a bedroom for a couple entangled in a fixed-marriage dilemma. The husband, being gay, has no choice but to live with his wife.

The design solution then called for a colorful room wherein the details do not confine a specific gender. Although the bright color scheme is slightly feminine, the clean lines of strip lights are masculine. The entire room is designed in such a way that the couple can use all spaces sans the barriers of having male or female zones.

Another entry, which gladly embraced the Asian Contemporary theme, is Lee’s entertainment and den room. Its use of earth tones in wall, ceiling and furniture pieces creates a feeling of calm and harmony with nature. The use of indigenous materials is also responsive to the needs of time and environment because of its low impact of production.

Not to be missed are the capiz shells that are playfully glued on the wall to serve as a soothing backdrop to the TV area. Giving Lee’s den room a cursory look, one is drawn immediately to the capiz background.

It is quite surprising that such ideas emanate from people who are still in the academic level. The competition’s result is but a live testament to UST’s acumen on the field.

Of course, no Thomasian success story would be complete without competence, compassion and commitment, which the students displayed in the duration of the competition.

“We worked hand in hand even if we knew we were also competing with each other,” Lim said proudly.


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