Fifteen young designers are set to exhibit their showpieces as they move on to the next phase of the New Design Graduates Training (NDGT) Program, a track under the Design Center Competency Program which is developed by Design Center of the Philippines, an agency attached to the Department of Trade and Industry.
The NDGT is a year and four months-long program that serves as an avenue where emerging and practicing professionals can enhance their individual competencies through intensive training by an industry recognized Design Mentor and Program Advisors. It also aims to improve the quality, competitiveness and branding of Filipino products in the global market.
The NDGT has three phases with the first phase being – The Incubation, which specifically focuses on strengthening the participants’ philosophy and orientation towards design fundamentals to build their own voice. Activities in the incubation phase include Design Talks to gain further knowledge on creative thinking, design management and design business from several resource persons including the Design Mentor and Program Advisors; Learning Crafts to acquire or increase knowledge of participants on six crafts like pottery, metalworks, handmade paper-making, embroidery, sculpting, molding & casting, and carpentry; Anatomy of Product Design to further understand the design practice and process by dissecting and restructuring the product to learn its materials, processes, labor and skills requirement and price point.
The second phase is Apprenticeship, which is geared towards a deeper appreciation of craftsmanship, cultural sensitivity, and application of studies from the incubation phase. Still under the guidance of the design mentors, participants will apprentice with select companies in the Philippines, with whom they will provide design assistance to as they also learn about the trade and business. At the same time, designers will also be exposed to various international exhibitions and trade fairs where they can understand and gain insight on the needs of the global market.
The final phase is Atelier where participants will undergo actual design practice in a design firm, applying everything they have learned without the guidance of the Design Mentors. Each phase will have a performance assessment to determine who will proceed with the program.
“The Design Center aims to cultivate a culture that thrives on creativity, value creation and innovation,” says Design Center of the Philippines executive director Rhea Matute. “At the heart of this program is a design and creative mindset, honing craftsmanship and bringing design back to making things and making them well.”
With the intensive training, the participants were given the opportunity to be closely guided by experienced Design Mentors, Program Advisors and Resource Persons who are highly influential in the international and local design and sourcing communities. Leading the roster are Tony Gonzales and Josef Crisanto, who serve as the Design Mentors of the NDGT. Crisanto is a production designer whose clients include, DTI’s Center for International Trade, Expositions and Missions (CITEM), Dedon, Swarovski, and APY Cane to name a few. He has trained extensively in Europe where he also earned a French Master’s Degree in Design under the mentorship of world-renowned industrial designer Tom Dixon. His work products have been featured in several international exhibits alongside other international designers notably at the “Worldwide” exhibit curated by the French designer Christophe Pillet at the Salon du Meuble and the Swarovski showroom in Paris.
Meanwhile, Gonzales is an internationally-renowned designer who has been one of the preferred merchandising consultants of CITEM for its most major trade exhibit, Manila FAME. He is also the founder of A Greeting Card Company where several European investors were captured by his cutting-edge card concepts and calendars, thus tapping him to do commissioned works for product design as well as running international design workshops. Since the 90’s, he has consistently won the KATHA Award, an award given to designers and companies who show excellence in arts and design achievements.
For his part, Crisanto says of the graduates, “We are extremely proud to see our first batch of young designers move on to the next phase of the NDGT. Our mission is to groom emerging designers to become the future influencers of the Philippine design industry and we are confident that this will be good bearers of our mission.”
And among the list of NDGT Participants are Rey Mark Aragon, Julyn Astillero, Gerbert Balaoro, Todd Wyatt Paul Benedicto, Pauline Kimberly Co, Adam Dominiq Domingo, Mark Joecil Escame, Joseph Raphael Espinosa, Louisa Veronica Ilustre, Alexandra Daphne Legaspi, Angel Kris Mayor, Clark Adrian Mendoza, Razel Mari Sta. Rita, Hannah Grace Tusi, and Joseph Yap. The DCDP is also made possible with the support of its partners who have been vital in making the program an immersive experience for the participants.
“The Philippines has plenty of young talented designers who have the power to share the country’s beautiful culture to the world,” says Department of Trade Industry Assistant Secretary Rosario Gaetos. “By producing globally competitive products, they are not only promoting our rich cultural heritage but also helping us achieve sustainable economic growth.”
Without a doubt, the Design Center Competency Program is proof that the Philippines can elevate the quality, competitiveness and branding of Filipino products in the global market by giving young designers an avenue to enhance their skills and inspire them to showcase their talents locally and internationally.
The Design Center of the Philippines was established in 1970 by founding Executive Director and National Artist for Visual Arts Arturo Luz. Its main mission is to promote the use and appreciation of good design by strengthening the Philippine design industry and improving the range, quality, and thus the competitiveness of Philippine services and products. For more information, visit Design Center of the Philippines website https://designcenter.ph/ and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DTI.DesignCenterPH/