Advocating Excellence in Design: The Blue Mango Awards for Placemaking

Advocating Excellence in Design: The Blue Mango Awards for Placemaking

The role of architects in creating built environments that are deeply rooted to the communities that they are in is something people should learn to appreciate. These buildings should not only tell vibrant stories of people and their aspirations in different timelines but must also clearly mirror the design innovations, which are products of numerous lessons picked up through history.

Putting “excellent” design into the psyche of society allows people to give it relevant value. Aimed to recognize innovative ideas, the 2022 Blue Mango Awards for Placemaking, which culminated in a Design Talk and Awards ceremony on Nov. 26, was held to raise a glass for creative endeavors in architecture and interior design, both built and proposed. It aims to “celebrate excellent design” within Central Visayas, covering Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental, which is a timely discourse as the country celebrates National Architecture Week from Dec. 6 to 12.

Earning top honors with the Seal of Excellence Award is the Knight Juanito I. King Scout Hall in Mandaue City, a design collaborative of Arkinamix, Ren Design Studio and Zubu Design Associates.

Inspired by the Scout Salute and Oath, its building form resulted in a clean and aesthetically pleasing massing. Form was not something superficial as it allowed the building to establish clear connections to spaces, both inside and outside the building, to facilitate a smooth user circulation, not to mention open to pleasing views elsewhere in the school campus.

Excellence was not just demonstrated in the final work but all throughout the conceptualization, including the production of architectural drawings and construction implementation, which are essentials in achieving “good design.”

According to the organizers, the Seal of Excellence is awarded to a project “that celebrates the challenges accepted in the pursuit of excellence, educates users to seek quality in the spaces that they occupy” and creates a cycle that promotes the importance of design professions.

Two projects gained the High Commendation, and recipients of the Thames Scholarship are the Luca Hotel Interiors in Panglao, Bohol and Tiny Tree Hugger Home in Carmen, Cebu.

Designed by DEQA, Design Collaborative, the Luca Hotel project harmoniously combined futuristic elements with natural and local materials, creating a unique experience of “tropical glamour” that would truly enamour guests into engaging their imagination.

On the other hand, the Tree Hugger House stylishly overcame project constraints like challenging terrain and limited manpower with a livable space co-existing with native trees in farmland. According to the architects of M+S Studio Company, “the plan is to build a ‘semi-permanent pandemic house’ in a permanent setting” and then later expanding “the house shell as the need arises.” The house is not just an epitome of something organic, but reflects the flexibility of the people who use it, allowing it to evolve as time passes by.

Other projects took the spotlight as well “With Commendations.” These are design proposals for a chapel in Busay by SAN Studio, Carbon Heritage Redevelopment in Cebau City by Visionarch, and the CasAmigos Beach House in Daanbantayan by 22AD Studio.

The Blue Mango Awards for Placemaking is a collaborative undertaking of the Cebu Design Week, United Architects of the Philippines District C1, Philippine Institute of Interior Designers and Philippine Institute of Architects.

This event reminds us of the importance of careful thought-processes in coming up with the most appropriate design for buildings or monuments. This will hopefully help architectural pieces to attain better relevance in the community not just for the present but in the generations to come.

Indeed, excellence is there for those who seek it.

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