DCP molds new crop of design leaders


Competency Program graduates touted to champion Filipino brand in the global market

With the aim to further improve the quality, competitiveness and branding of Filipino products in the global market, the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), an agency attached to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has come up with a program that serves as an avenue where emerging and practicing professionals can enhance their individual competencies through intensive training.

Called the New Design Graduates Training (NDGT) Program, a track under the Design Center Competency Program, participants go through extensive orientation and guidance from industry recognized Design Mentor and Program Advisors.

Set to exhibit their showpieces after going through an intensive orientation and training by an industry recognized Design Mentor and Program Advisors for a year and four months-long are 15 graduates of various crafts – pottery, metalworks, handmade paper-making, embroidery, sculpting, molding and casting, and carpentry.

The Bowen table

They 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 Design Center aims to cultivate a culture that thrives on creativity, value creation and innovation. 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,” Design Center of the Philippines executive director Rhea Matute said.

First phase of the program is Incubation where the focus is on strengthening the participants’ philosophy and orientation toward design fundamentals to build their own voice. Activities 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; 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.

Apprenticeship comes next, which is geared toward a deeper appreciation of craftsmanship, cultural sensitivity, and application of studies from the incubation phase. Still under the guidance of the design mentors, participants apprentice with select companies in the Philippines, providing design assistance as they learn about the trade and business. Designers are exposed to various international exhibitions and trade fairs as well where they can understand and gain insight on the needs of the global market.

The final phase is Atelier where participants undergo actual design practice in a design firm, applying everything they learned without the guidance of the Design Mentors.

Leading the roster of design mentors, program advisors and resource persons are Tony Gonzales and Josef Crisanto, who serve as the Design Mentors of the NDGT.

‘Buco’ bowls inspired by the Philippine coconut

“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,” Crisanto intoned.

“The Philippines has plenty of young talented designers who have the power to share the country’s beautiful culture to the world. By producing globally competitive products, they are not only promoting our rich cultural heritage but also helping us achieve sustainable economic growth” Department of Trade Industry Assistant Secretary Rosario Gaetos said.

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.


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