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PSID Studio 24: Thinking outside the ‘Shoebox’

THE CHALLENGE: 24 booths, 24 personalities, 24 design styles in 24 square meter spaces...


Enter the Philippine School of Interior Design and their exhibit, Studio 24. As an alumna of the school, I look forward to coming “home” and revisiting memories through the annual exhibits the senior students execute for their thesis. While each batch offers something refreshing and innovative with their themes, this year, the new talents manage to impress me even more. Among the exhibitions I have visited since 2009, this one proves to be the most relevant to the current urban living.  

The Refined Gentleman in Man Caves

Through the years, the high-rise spaces have been reducing in size significantly. While the number of condominium units continue to increase, the story of their sizes are heading towards a different direction, introducing us to the era of 20-something square meter studios. According to the 2015 report from Lamudi Philippines, over 40 percent of Metro Manila’s condominium inventories consist of 50 square meter spaces or less. In a 2014 report by Colliers International, expect the delivery of more than 30,000 condominiums in the next three years. Out of these, 75 percent belong to the studio and one bedroom unit category.  Back in the ‘90s, squeezing in 200 units per tower was not practiced, but everything is changing. Some developers have offered the public projects promising 30 units per floor or around 1,200 units for a tower around 40 floors high.

The Romantic Writer in Ladies' Lairs
The Spinster Sisters in Perfect Pairings

I remember telling clients that old condominium spaces are now sacred with their spacious rooms and huge living quarters. In fact, the new units are akin to shoeboxes beside their older counterparts. How does one cram everything? The 2015 PSID exhibit, however, managed to change my perspective on studio-type units. When we attended a special unveiling of the booths, I did a double take. Were the booths really 24 square meters? How did the students squeeze in so much design and space for activities? Each booth managed to project a more generous area than the other studios I’ve been to. The design factor is always expected but the pleasant surprise was how these students conceptualized an idea and successfully executed a functional, beautiful space that appeared to be much bigger. Dean Pojie Pambid himself measured each space to verify the area.

The Travel Team in Perfect Pairings
The Young Urban Professional in Man Caves

Dean Pambid believes the theme is an eye-opener for both the students and the developers. He shares that from the practitioner’s point of view, clients often ask if the layout can be revised. Clients always expect Interior Designers to deliver something refreshing and new. He emphasized that the typical-looking model units will not be present in the exhibit. Instead, they wanted to create something unique and inspiring with these fresh solutions.

The exhibit is divided into three categories: Ladies’ Lairs for the single women, Perfect Pairing for the diverse type of couples and the Man Caves for the bachelors. For the nostalgic young-at-heart, you will come face-to-face with Alfred Galvez’s portrait of Veronica from the Archie comics. There are also three booths with an all-white theme but look nothing alike. The PSID Studio 24 showcases 24 different styles for 24 various characters. 

The Goth in Man Caves; The Pastry Chef in Ladies' Lairs

When I first enrolled in PSID, I did not expect I would stay until the end. I thought it would be hard to turn this into a lucrative career in a third world country but this exhibit proves just how much we need Interior Designers to create havens just like the ones you will see in the exhibit. It is an exciting time for designers and I can’t wait for these 111 PSID students to go out there and inspire more people and spaces with their ideas. Next week, I will be zoning in on the details of their designs and feature tips we can apply. Perhaps it will help us gain the confidence to go out of our comfort zone and experiment with our own spaces.  


The exhibit runs until October 31 at Ronac Lifestyle Center along Paseo de Magallanes. For more information on PSID and its graduates, please visit: www.psidstudio24.com.


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