Revitalized First United Building Bags Malasakit Gran Prix Award at 2024 Good Design Award PH

July 3, 2024

|

By 

Rick Formalejo

On June 29, the Department of Trade and Industry-Design Center of the Philippines (DTI-Design Center) celebrated the pinnacle of design excellence during the 2024 Good Design Award Philippines, held at The Globe Tower, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. The highlight of the evening was the awarding of the Malasakit Gran Prix Award to the First United Building in Escolta, Manila. 

This historic structure, once known as the Perez-Samanillo Building, has been transformed through a vision of restoration and “adaptive reuse” to become a beacon of urban regeneration. Designed by Andres P. Luna, the son of the famous painter Juan Luna, this Art Deco landmark stood as Manila’s tallest building upon its completion in 1928. Today, it is a vibrant hub for creative communities, showcasing the symbiosis of historical preservation and contemporary use.

The First United Building Community Museum, a cornerstone of this revitalization, offers a rich narrative of Escolta’s golden era as Manila’s premier business district. The museum’s presence enriches the area’s cultural landscape, drawing visitors to explore the history and heritage encapsulated within the building’s walls.

Mylene Abiva, the Jury Chair of Good Design Award Philippines 2024 and Co-Chair of the Design Center’s Design Advisory Council 2024-2027, praised the project: “The historic building’s transformation shows the power of placemaking, where it’s not just the walls and posts that make a place but the communities that flourish in it. The restored First United Building in Escolta revitalized the district, attracting creative tenants and drawing a new demographic of visitors and regular audiences that come to Escolta to escape the cookie-cutter spaces that proliferate in many urban areas. Despite challenges, the building’s revival showcases the power of design and preservation, not only in restoring its past but also in fostering Escolta’s economic resurgence that caters to the next generation of the creative class.”

Gold Awards for Philippine Design

The evening also celebrated two Gold Award winners. The Right to Care Card from Quezon City, a healthcare proxy document, empowers same-sex couples to make medical decisions for each other during emergencies, highlighting design’s role in fostering inclusivity in government services. The Philippine Textile Table Swatchbook, created by ANTHILL Fabric Factory, showcases indigenous Philippine fabrics through storytelling narratives and interactive features, emphasizing the importance of cultural preservation.

Rhea Matute, Executive Director of the Design Center of the Philippines, remarked on the significance of these awards: “This year’s awardees are indeed a reflection of the transformative journey of Philippine design as a strategic problem-solving process that drives innovation, builds business success, and leads to a better quality of life through innovative products, systems, services, and experiences. Our designers are storytellers, changemakers, and agents of malasakit (compassion) who exhibit the resilience and creativity of the Filipino spirit.”

Crisela Magpayo Cervantes, Vice President of Marketing Communications for Globe Telecom, emphasized the international impact of the awards: “The Good Design Award Philippines connects this year’s winners to the world. We are excited to see and support our country’s designers in introducing Philippine design to the global market.”

Collaboration and Global Recognition

The success of the Good Design Award Philippines is built on a foundation of collaboration among the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), the Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP), and the ASEAN-Japan Center (AJC). The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ensured that entries aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), addressing critical global challenges. The Department of Science and Technology’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) provided technical expertise, while Globe Telecom facilitated the digitization of the award system.

This biennial program saw a remarkable increase in entries this year, with 204 submissions and 84 shortlisted finalists. Awardees received a commemorative trophy, a miniature replica of an Arturo Luz sculpture, and the prestigious Good Design Award Philippines seal, along with the opportunity to compete for Japan’s G Mark. This international recognition paves the way for Philippine design to reach a global audience, fostering trade ties with Japan.

The 2024 Good Design Award Philippines ceremony coincided with World Industrial Design Day (WIDD), emphasizing the power of design to transcend aesthetics and functionality. Both events highlight the importance of emotions and “design with malasakit.” By putting compassion at the forefront, the Good Design Award Philippines aligns with the global call to evoke positive change and inspire a brighter future through design.

Related Read: Nostalgia and Sustainability Combined: The Kilyawan Farm Resort by Dominic Galicia Architects

Photos by Ed Simon

Avellana Art Gallery to Hold Rare F. B. Concepcion Exhibition.

Avellana Art Gallery to Hold Rare F. B. Concepcion Exhibition

Florencio B. Concepcion, often referred to as F.B. Concepcion, left an indelible mark on the world of art. His unique visual vocabulary seamlessly intertwined academic painting with spiritual exploration. “Mixed Media: Florencio B. Concepcion,” curated by Creative Director of Caramel, Miguel Rosales, will be on display at Avellana Art Gallery from July 27 to August […]

"Gab" by Zuh Dai for the "Visual Odyssey" exhibit at Gravity Art Space. Photo by Elle Yap.

‘Visual Odyssey’: A Playful Exploration of Style and Strangeness

Visual Odyssey, now showing at Gravity Art Space and organized by Angelica So, showcases works from twelve artists using various mediums, each exploring their unique visions. The exhibit dives deep into the idea of creation, allowing them to experiment and explore their styles and ideas. “The artists play the role of transient beings who embark […]

condoliving 2019 Bathroom Trends art deco

How to Hang Art in Bathrooms: Pros, Cons, and Tips

From living areas to private spaces like bedrooms, art largely contributes to an interior’s appeal and ambiance. However, bathrooms are often seen as an exception since they’re viewed primarily for functionality, with artistic expression being secondary. And there’s a growing question on whether it’s even practical to decorate this typically humid area with anything beyond […]

An artwork by Kiko Marquez for "ANYAREH" depicting a butterfly behind concrete and rebar. Photo by Elle Yap.

‘ANYAREH’: Kiko Marquez Portrays the Increasing Complexity of Modern Life

ANYAREH, Kiko Marquez’s newest exhibit at Art Cube Gallery in Makati, uses some interesting surrealist imagery to depict a world upended, while redefining the meaning of normal.  Marquez claims his daughter served as the inspiration for the exhibit, asking an “innocent question” about “some baffling scenes she experienced.” From that child-like curiosity, Marquez crafts works […]

PALAFOX Launches “Philippines 2050” Campaign on 35th Anniversary

As part of their 35th-anniversary celebration and ongoing commitment to sustainable, resilient, and inclusive community and city development, PALAFOX has announced the launch of the “Philippines 2050: A First-World Country, A First-World Economy” campaign. This ambitious initiative aims to mobilize the government, private sector, environmental advocates, civil society, and the Filipino populace to collectively position […]

Shang Properties Unveils Shang Summit: A New Icon of Prestigious Living.

Shang Summit: Shang Properties Unveils New 250-Meter High Rise

Shang Properties recently unveiled its latest residential development, Shang Summit. This new venture promises residents the pinnacle of comfort and style, offering exceptional design, a vibrant community, and world-class amenities. Shang Summit: The New Icon of Quezon City Designed by renowned architectural firm P&T Group and interior design leader FM Architettura, Shang Summit marks Shang […]

Download this month's BLUPRINT magazine digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]