When I was working my first job in a local bookstore, I ecstatically subscribed to a dozen e-mail newsletters from publishing and bookseller organizations. In the two years of starting my weeks by reading those updates, I gleaned the following:

First, the independent brick-and-mortar shop was experiencing resurgence despite the expansion of behemoths like Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, and Kinokuniya and the constant upgrades of the Kindle. Even Amazon took note and decided to set up a physical bookstore.

However, the high-tech and shopping-made-easy features of the Amazon bookstore cannot make up for what it does lack—legacy. With the swing consumer behavior, the e-commerce giant can simply close their doors and return to the digital realm in a snap.

Meanwhile, there are those who rode the tides of low foot traffic, the Christmas rush, erratic sales, and overnight bestsellers from behind the cashier boxes. These are the tiny shops that became institutions for the neighborhood’s writers, thinkers, and those sort who visit. They fortify the spirit of the city. Today, it’s hard to imagine Paris without Shakespeare and Company, the West Village without The Strand, San Francisco without City Lights, D.C. without Politics and Prose, Singapore without Books Actually, London without Daunt, and the list goes on.

Secondly, each shop’s character is dependent on the people who manage, man, program, and stock it. No two shops are the same because of this. The same can be said of a magazine: a collection of stories under the direction of an editor-in-chief.

BluPrint is about to celebrate 20 years in publication. In that lifetime, we have had four editors-in-chief, four iterations of BluPrint which rode the tides of starting up, searching for identity, establishing authority, and adapting to new platforms—each in varying levels. Here we re-publish the first Editor’s Note of each to give you an idea of how we have evolved through the years. What can be more telling of a magazine than the Editor’s Note?

1999-2003 Tina Bonoan

“For weeks, this editorial message has been floating in my subconscious, craving expression in words. It is not easy—my profession as an architect/designer has honed me to see, experience, feel, and express my thoughts and sentiments spatially. My drama and my passion do not include capturing moments in the best of words, but in the best of images.”

Read more of Tina’s ed’s note here

2003-2012 Paulo Alcazaren

“It must be a guy thing, this preoccupation with size. It always crops up when assessing any artifact, architecture, or achievement. Big has always been associated with being better. The Philippines has, however, always been known for and even taken pride in things that are on the opposite end of the scale. Every school kid knows that we have the smallest volcano (Taal), the smallest fish (Pandaca Pygmea), and the smallest deer (Palawan mouse deer).”

Read more of Paulo’s ed’s note here

2012 Dominic Galicia

“At BluPrint we aim to present a consistently high quality of design produced by Filipinos. This is more difficult than meets the eye, because good design has been elusive, particularly in the field of architecture. Does the work merit scrutiny? Does it adhere to the Vitruvian tenets of strength, usefulness, and beauty? Strength and usefulness abound in the man-made world, but not beauty.”

Read more of Dominic’s ed’s note here

2013-2017 Judith Torres

“In 2013, over-the-top post-apocalyptic, post-cataclysmic After Earth, Oblivion and Pacific Rim are coming soon to theaters near you. Psychologists say the fascination with doomsday predictions is a repudiation of the world as it is and a desire for a fresh start, never mind Utopia.

Isn’t that so un-Pinoy? We may repudiate a lot of things—we are, after all, the world’s most emotional people—but we don’t hide in doomsday pods. After letting loose a little steam we’re ready to laugh and smile again and return to business as usual.

Thank goodness, business has been better than usual. The 7th happiest and 17th most generous people on Planet Earth have much more to be excited, joyous, and big-hearted about in 2013.”

Read more of Judith’s eds note here

BluPrint’s second special issue of the year contains manifestos of architects, designers, and allied professionals who are shaking things up in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Essentially, each manifesto (short or long) expresses two things: a conviction about the purpose of design in our lives, society, and the environment; and a commitment to fulfill that purpose. Here we have made our beliefs, hopes, and promises public so we can be held accountable by you, our readers, and, when the time comes, by our future selves.
BluPrint Special Issue 2 2018 is available in digital format via Flip100 and Magzter, and will soon hit newsstands and bookstores.

Header image by Patrick Kasingsing

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