A NATIONAL competition for designs that “leave no one out” was launched yesterday in Cebu, in a nod to its “thriving community of young designers.”

Architecture and Interior Design students will have from July 15 to Sept. 30, 2015 to submit their entries for the Nippon Paint Young Designer Award (NYPDA), which has as its theme “Design with heart: for a sustainable future, with people in mind.”

“One day we hope to see the students’ winning designs turned into reality and become real contributions to society,” said Michael Chung, general manager of Nippon Paint Philippines.

Past winner

One reason the competition was launched for the first time in Cebu, he said, was that one of the two Gold Winners in 2014 studied in a Cebu-based university.

Kristine Caballes of the University of San Carlos (USC), who won the Interior Design category in 2014, said that the challenge for this year’s aspirants is to design a 75-square meter workplace that will enable efficiency, creativity and work-life balance, as well as embody the ideas of sustainability and green design.

She said that her trip to Japan last March, one of her prizes, gave her the opportunity to learn many ideas and design strategies. “I learned that sacrifice is important and that one should have determination and work hard,” added Caballes, who is now a senior.

The challenge for those competing in the Architecture category is to conceptualize a four-hectare “community interactive space” where both indoor and outdoor facilities create a sense of community among residents. Jason Labanacruz of the Technological University of the Philippines in Manila won the Architecture category last year.

Exposure

This year’s Gold Winners will get P50,000 cash, a six-month internship with LorCalma and Partners or Casas Architects, and a trip to Bangkok where they will interact with some of the top practitioners in their fields, like the Japanese architect Paul Noritaka Tange.

Chung said one of the goals of the project was to expose students to current workplace issues and introduce them to a network of professionals who can help them through workshops or coaching sessions.

He said that the company was pleased to see the competition grow from attracting 87 entries in one country—Malaysia—when it launched in 2008, to more than 2,300 entries from 12 countries in 2014.

The theme for 2015, Chung explained, was meant to remind students that there is more to design than its looks, functionality and uniqueness. “Often we forget that there are more important factors when designing,” like making sure a place or thing can be used by persons with disabilities, “the unusually short or unusually tall”, the elderly, and people who regularly use scooters, baby strollers, wheelchairs or bicycles.

Building character

The Nippon Paint Young Designer Award program is endorsed by the Commission on Higher Education and supported by the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID), United Architects of the Philippines, and Council of Interior Design Educators.

“Competitions like this help mold the character and design sensibilities of participants, and the support of their universities further boosts their morale,” said PIID Cebu Chapter President Bernadette Uy.

Entry forms, contest rules and color chips are available at www.youngdesigneraward.ph. The contest is a corporate social responsibility initiative of Nippon Paint, which began its Philippine operations 39 years ago.

Interior designer Michael Pizarro, one of the two head judges for this year’s search, said he looks forward to seeing entries that will explore design’s ability to “bridge people from all walks of life and to bring down walls.” It was Pizarro who described the challenge as one of creating “a design that works, where no one is left out.”