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Good Design Award Philippines highlights malasakit as a defining character of Philippine design excellence

The Design Center of the Philippines is set to recognize outstanding objects-, places-, images- made and systems executed in the Philippines that address social problems to enrich the quality of human life in the inaugural run of the Good Design Award Philippines.  

Good Design Award Philippines is a national design excellence recognition system that aims to promote design as a key tool in developing and providing solutions to social challenges as well as strengthen the country’s global competitiveness and increase its innovative quotient.

“Design is an innovation enabler. At a time when we face tumultuous changes on every front—from technology to economics, the environment, and our institutions—the role of design becomes increasingly critical. Thus, our efforts will not just support our design industry; it will also push design skills to develop design-driven organizations and innovative industries. It will even help us transform the public sector,” said Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.

“The most meaningful designs, creative works, and innovations are those that solve social problems, not just design for design’s sake. We want to promote a culture of design and innovation that can serve as higher-value services that our country can be known for,” Sec. Lopez added.

The design excellence recognition system is in support of AmBisyon Natin 2040 through the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, specifically its development strategies on ‘Promoting Philippine Cultures and Values,’ ‘Vigorously Advancing Science, Technology, and Innovation,’ and ‘Expanding Economic Opportunities in Industry and Services through Trabaho and Negosyo.’   

For Design Center executive director Maria Rita O. Matute, the Good Design Award Philippines adds more value to design as a driver of economic growth and innovation. It pushes for a design excellence that is impact-driven, providing design solutions that address human needs and societal challenges to protect future generations and secure a more livable society for them. 

“We envision Good Design Award Philippines to be one of the platforms through which Design Center nurtures the Philippines’ culture of design excellence,” Matute explains. “Aside from innovation and economic growth, we want to elevate design as a powerful tool that creates positive societal change, making the world a better place for all and future generations. This too then echoes a strong challenge to designers to act as catalysts and powerful agents of change—to improve the quality of human lives through objects, places, images and systems; through sustainable and inclusive businesses, and through responsible governance.” 

Malasakit as a PH brand of design excellence 

With the creative industries, particularly the design sector, steadily emerging as a driver of national competitiveness, the Philippines’ neighboring countries in the Southeast Asian region likewise invest in their respective design industries, encouraging a prolific design culture by recognizing good design across sectors. 

Good Design Award Philippines shares in the same objective as it aims to build a strong community of global Philippine designers from across industries and disciplines, and to promote the significance of design in uplifting lives, while pushing for a nation brand of design excellence that is particular to the Philippines. 

“What the Good Design Award Philippines brings to the fore of the global design industry is the Philippines’ unique approach to design excellence,” Matute remarks. “The Philippines is a nation with innate creativity; we are malikhain by nature. But what really sets Philippine design apart is the malasakit that is embodied in our design solutions, whether it be a product, place, image or system.” 

Malasakit, or closely translated in English as compassion, is the sympathetic consciousness of other’s distress and acting to alleviate it. Matute points out that the Good Design Award Philippines boldly puts this specific Philippine value as an additional pillar to the traditional parameters of good design—innovation, form, and function.  

“It is the impact of these design solutions to a social concern or basic human need that distinguishes Philippine design from the rest. While we recognize the significance of functionality, form, and innovation in good design, ours is not solely defined by these principles. Philippine good design is an equal part equation of the principles of good design and malasakit,” Matute discusses, emphasizing that malasakit is the Philippines’ contribution to the global design discourse.  

Matute cites as example the four homegrown products and service that were recognized in Japan’s Good Design Award-ASEAN Design Selection in 2018.  

SALt Lamp is an emergency lamp specially designed to give lighting support to marginalized island communities without the burden of complex tool mechanism, in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 on access to affordable and clean energy. With its human centered design, SALt lamp received the highest response in the visitor and consumer survey among the 22 designs in the ASEAN Design Selection special exhibition in Tokyo, Japan.  

Make a Difference (MAD) Travel offers social tourism tour packages that afford Aeta communities in San Felipe, Zambales sustainable living while tackling SDGs 1, 2, and 3 on No

Poverty, Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-being. Moreover, MAD Travel encourages tourists and guests to aid in their goal of planting a 3,000 hectare forest, which is in line with SDGs 13 and 15 on Climate Action and Life on Land. 

Red Palm Ventures’ banana stalk wallpapers is geared towards the empowerment of women in a community in San Pablo, Laguna through livelihood, and addresses Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 on Responsible Production and Consumption through the optimal use of banana stalks.  

Likewise, Bambike’s Bambino balance bike reinforces SDG 12 as well through the use of the highly abundant bamboos in their production, and SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth by providing livelihood to the Bambuilders (bamboo builders) of a Gawad Kalinga Community in Victoria, Tarlac.

Malasakit as a mark of good design

The Good Design Award Philippines has its criteria the principles of good design–innovativeness, form, and functionality—plus malasakitwhich will be evaluated based on design solution’s impact on the 17 SDGs listed by the United Nations.

The inclusion of malasakit in the criteria carry the Philippine value beyond simply a quality of Philippine good design; it shows how local innovations can also impact on global challenges. From a community level of compassion, Philippine design sees itself committed as well to developing solutions on a much larger perspective.

Matute expounds that perceiving Philippine design in a wider picture adds to the commitment of nurturing a culture of design excellence in the country. “By understanding that design impacts a bigger cause than one’s self or one’s community, you would naturally want to come up with the best ideas and solutions because you become responsible to a larger matter,” she adds.   

Good Design Award Philippines

The Good Design Award accepts entries from Philippine-registered enterprises, designers, and creatives from both private and public sectors with fully realized and/or executed products or systems in the design disciplines of object making (furniture, furnishing, décor; fashion accessories; mobility; and material innovation); image making (packaging, and communication); place making (architecture, and interior architecture); and service/system design.

Winners will be evaluated in a two-step screening process by a jury composed of thirteen multidiscipline and industry-respected individuals, including the private sector representatives of the Design Advisory Council (DAC).

Winning entries can be awarded the Good Design Philippines Red and Gold Awards based on the judging criteria, while the Good Design Philippines Green Award will recognize the entry with the most impact on SDGs related to environment and sustainability. The Gran Prix for Good Design Award Philippines is the Orange Award, and it will be awarded to the design that makes the greatest impact and contribution to the attainment of the United Nations SDGs.

Entries can be submitted until 15 August 2019. For more information on Good Design Award Philippines, please visit https://designcenter.ph/good-design-award-ph.

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