“Dibuhong Umaakay”: Assisted-living spaces that go beyond mere aesthetics

FORMER “Pinoy Big Brother” contestant Naprey Almario, who was afflicted with polio as a child, and alexyvergara in a bedroom showcase inspired by inputs from the erstwhile TV star. Dubbed as “Abot Kamay,” the bedroom (Tindig section) was designed by Dana Alcaide, Lalaine Almoro, Amanda Brodett and Anita Chan. (Chito Vecina)

“SWEET Escape” (Galaw section) by Willer Agulan, Sheryl Carlos, Madelaine Hui, Via Pacheco, Kellie Ugaddan and Tina Villega (Chito Vecina)

IN ALL their years at the Philippine School of Interior Design (PSID), this year’s graduating interior-design students had never seen  such

“LIMITLESS” (Tindig section) by Aline Delfino-Bautista and Jason dela Peña (Chito Vecina)

furniture and fixtures as a tilting tub, vibrating bed, grab bar, handrails, visual alarm system and signs written in braille. Nor have they come across the concept of mental  mapping in any of their subjects. That was until several months ago.

For the first time in its 45-year history of annual graduation exhibits, PSID is addressing  the special needs of the differently abled.

Dubbed “Dibuhong Umaakay,” the ongoing month-long exhibit  at SM North Edsa in Quezon City, which doubles as the graduating students’ thesis, features 23 assisted living spaces divided into four sections: Dinig (heard for the hearing-impaired); Tindig (stand for the orthopedically challenged); Tanaw (outlook for the visually impaired); and Galaw (movement for the elderly).

Each section covers various areas of the house such as the living room, dining room,

“BEYOND Sight” (Tanaw section) by Lyka Alarilla, Uzel Alconera, Trency Caga-anan, Coloma Jeditte and Tet Paras (Chito Vecina)

ALMARIO tries his cutom-built table on for size

kitchen, bedroom and lanai.

Like in years past, students were divided into groups composed of two to five members. Since lots were drawn, they had no way of choosing in advance what section of the exhibit and part of the house to work on.

Unlike studio sets, spaces are made of real wood, steel and concrete. Furniture and fixtures, some of which were designed and custom-built to address particular disabilities, are life-size and functional.

Jie Pambid, PSID  director for external affairs and this year’s exhibit adviser, thought of the theme not only to challenge students, but also to inspire them to go beyond mere aesthetics by producing more socially relevant living spaces.

“We also wanted to create public awareness that interior design is for everybody, whether you’re disabled or not,” said Pambid. “If you think about it, the National Building Code now requires ramps for people on wheelchairs. A growing number of elevators already have braille signs.”

“FLUID Affair” (Dinig section) by Eunice Chang, Marc Gutierrez, Nicole Tan and Divinia Tang (Chito Vecina)

“PIOS de Kainan” (Tindig section) by JR Camba, Aldrin Kaw Boon and Ketch Lazo (Chito Vecina)

The exercise is also designed to introduce future interior designers to the possibilities of catering to  “differently abled” clients. After all, said Pambid, everyone will grow old or suffer health- and age-related ailments.

“Apart from producing living spaces that are practical and useful, the challenge to make them beautiful by applying some of the things they learned in school is still there,” he added.

There were initial apprehensions among students in the beginning, but since they had no choice but to abide by the exhibit’s theme, they buckled down to work as soon as they got their assignments. To their surprise, they actually enjoyed and learned a lot from the experience.

Since PSID is working this year with the National Council with Disability Affairs, most of the students did their research interviewing disabled and elderly persons and their

“LASTING Belvedere” (Galaw section) by Princess Barretto, Eliza Bayona, Patricia Casaje, Paula Sun and Trisca Turcuato (Chito Vecina)

teachers, doctors and caregivers.

“INDUSTRIALEYEZED” (Tanaw section) by Kookie Biluan, Olive Benson, Kistine Dizon, Camille Ferrer, Jerome Odsinada and Margaret Yung (Chito Vecina)

Most of them worked based on the needs of an imaginary client, while some drew from inputs provided by actual persons with disabilities. (For a full version of this news feature, get a copy of the October 3 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer or read the story online [www.inquirer.net].)

“VISU Centric Living Room” (Dinig section) by Ana Celina Bantug, Patricia Gomez, Cristine Lagasca, Marc Ramos and Francesca Tingcungco (Chito Vecina)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s