When songs and spaces merge— PSID Class ’13 honors OPM

"MY New Tattoo," by Jes Chuan, Mitch Tiu, Ina Bautista, Ileana Garcia and Aisunn Kee, is cozy, manly version of a wine-slash-coffee bar.

“MY New Tattoo,” by Jes Chuan, Mitch Tiu, Ina Bautista, Ileana Garcia and Aisunn Kee, is a cozy, masculine-looking wine-slash-coffee bar. (Chito Vecina)

HAVING covered the Philippine School of Interior Design’s (PSID) annual graduation exhibit with almost routine regularity, I’ve come across quite a number of fresh and even intriguing themes over the years—from celebrities’ imaginary living spaces and spaces catering to the needs of the differently abled, to works of art by Filipino masters and the vibrant hues they use.

As far as PSID’s aspiring interior designers are concerned, this year’s theme could be the most challenging yet as graduating students in groups of four to six draw from original Filipino music as sources of inspiration to produce 21 interior design vignettes.

"KUMUKUTIKUTITAP," by Joan Sy, Karen Macavinta, Lindsey Tan and Cha Balisbis, glitters and entices passersby like a real candy store.

“KUMUKUTIKUTITAP,” by Joan Sy, Karen Macavinta, Lindsey Tan and Cha Balisbis, glitters and entices passersby like a real candy store. (Chito Vecina)

Dubbed as “Obra Para sa Musika” or “OPM,” the students’ works, which double as their graduation theses, are currently on display until the end of October at the third floor of Glorietta 3 in Makati. Admission is free.

Light bulb moment

“I got the idea last year when I read in the news that a group of OPM (Original Pilipino Music) artists were complaining to the government about the continuous invasion of foreign acts,” said architect and interior designer Edwin Enriquez, this year’s batch adviser. “Since many of us are music lovers, an idea hit me: how can we merge music with interior design?”

When he did further research, Enriquez discovered that not a few musicians were in fact inspired by certain spaces and places to produce what have now become immortal songs. This gave him another light bulb moment.

SET on a hill, "Sa 'yo Lamang," by Cyrille Carreon, Vanessa, Quinones, Regina Mascardo, France Gomez and Krizallyne Villeta, is a Zen-inspired, non-sectarian prayer room.

SET on an imaginary hill, “Sa ‘yo Lamang,” by Cyrille Carreon, Vanessa, Quinones, Regina Mascardo, France Gomez and Krizallyne Villeta, is a Zen-inspired, non-sectarian prayer room. (Chito Vecina)

“Can it work the other way around?” he asked. “Can the design of space be inspired by music or a particular song?”

To make it easier for everyone, Enriquez and his colleagues at PSID decided to narrow the students’ choices to original Filipino music. Apart from making the exhibit more manageable, limiting the theme to OPM lends the annual event with a nationalistic flavor.

“But Filipino music can be pretty diverse, too,” said Enriquez. “It would have been incomplete had we limited it to the golden age of OPM in the mid ’70s to the early ’80s. That’s why we decided to widen the scope.”

A TRIBUTE to a long-lost love is "Saan Ka Man Naroroon," by Sarah Jane Garcia, Gian Cham, Arjay Arcenas and Kristin Jane Capulong. (Chito Vecina)

“Saan Ka Man Naroroon,” by Sarah Jane Garcia, Gian Cham, Arjay Arcenas and Kristin Jane Capulong, channels the owner’s pining for a long-lost love. (Chito Vecina)

There was a time Enriquez even toyed with the idea of including a song by the late Yoyoy Villame. After all, the artist was an institution and, together with the late Fred Panopio, an exponent of Filipino novelty songs. But he had to scrap it after being met with howls of protest from his young students.

At the same time, Enriquez, with much regret, had to drop two classic pop songs such as Hajji Alejandro’s “Tag-araw” and Rico J. Puno’s version of “Memories,” which mixes English and Filipino lyrics—“alaala nang tayo’y mag-sweethearts pa/namamasyal pa sa Luneta/nang walang pera…so, it’s the laughter/we will remember/the way we were.”

"BITUING Marikit," by Erika Uichangco, Nicole Badillo, Darwin Ignacio, Faye Guiwan, Melissa Abella and Andrea Santos, gives us a glimpse of a worldly woman's private space. (Chito Vecina)

“BITUING Marikit,” by Erika Uichangco, Nicole Badillo, Darwin Ignacio, Faye Guiwan, Melissa Abella and Andrea Santos, gives us a glimpse of a worldly woman’s private space. (Chito Vecina)

How come? These two monster hits at the height of OPM’s golden age were originally written in English by foreign composers.

“In keeping with our theme of using only original Filipino music, we limited the choices to songs and compositions written and performed by Filipinos,” said Enriquez.

Deciding on a scope

Although there’s nothing wrong with them, he also ditched tribal and ethnic forms of Filipino music as well as Spanish- and early American-era zarzuelas.

"AWITIN Mo at Isasayaw Ko," by Desiree Yao, Rachelle Uy, Alshiey Senosa, Dilly Guerrero, Sarah Martinez, Miko Ukena, merges the '70s and the new millennium to produce a high-tech VIP room.

“AWITIN Mo at Isasayaw Ko,” by Desiree Yao, Rachelle Uy, Alshiey Senosa, Dilly Guerrero, Sarah Martinez, Miko Ukena, merges the ’70s and the new millennium to produce a high-tech VIP room. (Chito Vecina)

But the final list of inspirations is still pretty diverse—from Ric Manrique Jr.’s Kundiman ballads to latter-day pop-rock songs by the likes of Kamikaze, Urbandub and Sugarfree.

Other famous bands on the list are Rivermaya, Parokya ni Edgar and, of course, Eraserheads. Songs by such acts and composers as Ryan Cayabyab, Nicanor Abelardo, Apo Hiking Society, VST and Company, Hotdog, Hagibis, Lea Salonga, Gary Valenciano, Francis M., Celeste Legaspi, Tillie Moreno, Ray-An Fuentes, Noel Cabangon and even prolific songwriter Fr. Manoling Francisco also made the cut.

"HARI ng Sablay," by Margarita Mayoralgo, Andrea Manalang, Carla Peña, Mapple Panganiban and Karla Ortigas, is a teenager's room with off-kilter character.

“HARI ng Sablay,” by Margarita Mayoralgo, Andrea Manalang, Carla Peña, Mapple Panganiban and Karla Ortigas, is a young man’s room with lots of off-kilter character. (Chito Vecina)

Many of the students drew heavily on the songs’ lyrics, while a few tried to capture the songs’ essence through their melodies. How they managed to do it and whether they failed or not is ultimately up to the viewer.

Like in years past, groups drew lots to determine what song and area of the house they would showcase. They also had to deal with the demands of imaginary clients with respective backstories. Each group worked on an assigned space measuring not more than 20 sq m.

"GROWING Up," by Chico Velas, Alessandra Mercado, Nicca Sarmiento, Dianne Tan, Ma. Kaherine Dayrit and Hever Estilo, mirrors the joys and idiosyncrasies experienced by a "bagets." (Chito Vecina)

“GROWING Up,” by Chico Velas, Alessandra Mercado, Nicca Sarmiento, Dianne Tan, Ma. Kaherine Dayrit and Hever Estilo, mirrors the joys and idiosyncrasies experienced by a “bagets.” (Chito Vecina)

Marketplace of ideas

But certain groups ventured beyond the home since they were tasked to work on commercial spaces such as a candy bar, ice cream parlor, club lounge, spa, coffee-slash-wine bar, day care center and memorabilia shop. Indeed, like a marketplace of ideas, there’s something for everyone at the annual PSID exhibit.

"BONGGA Ka 'Day," by Steffi Maala, Kimberly Ong, Harold Chen, Janine Legaspi and Raiza Poquiz, merges vanity with '70s vibe to produce a walk-in closet and dressing room. (Chito Vecina)

“BONGGA Ka ‘Day,” by Steffi Maala, Kimberly Ong, Harold Chen, Janine Legaspi and Raiza Poquiz, merges vanity with a ’70s vibe to produce a walk-in closet and dressing room. (Chito Vecina)

Not a few students had to shell out between P50,000 to P100,000 each to help realize their visions, which, sadly, would all have to be demolished come November 1st. Had they not tapped into a number of  generous sponsors, they would have ended up spending more.

“I believe music is one of the hardest sources of inspiration yet because it’s a totally different art form. It helps if you’re musically inclined, but you would still have to think long and hard before doing it,” said Enriquez.

(For more pictures and a comprehensive version of this story, read the home section of the Philippines’ Number 1 English-language newspaper. All photos in this entry were shot by Chito Vecina.)

A PRIVATE dance studio, "Ang Huling El Bimbo," by Aiko Berberabe, Melrose Dalisay, Charmaine Mendoza, Charmaine Ong, Maria Veronica Pamplona and Dan Yang Cai, is almost bare yet nuanced and textured with details.

A PRIVATE dance studio, “Ang Huling El Bimbo,” by Aiko Berberabe, Melrose Dalisay, Charmaine Mendoza, Charmaine Ong, Maria Veronica Pamplona and Dan Yang Cai, is almost bare yet nuanced and textured with details.

One thought on “When songs and spaces merge— PSID Class ’13 honors OPM

  1. I love your photos here! I think there’s more to what’s happening to OPM than what we would want to acknowledge. First, very few people buy OPM in the form of digital downloads or even traditional CDs and DVDs. And I think this is a common phenomenon for developing countries where the arts is not perceived as a priority in nation building. I love the fact that the students not only managed to be creative about the living spaces and commercial spaces, but I also long to see how they would continue to use other aspects of Filipino culture such as the choice of furniture in their living spaces, the choice of fabrics that they use and even with the color tones that reflect the distinctive flavors of the Philippines that translates more than the sounds of OPM but even going as far as the food that we eat. For instance, great idea on that Candy Store concept and the photo looks amazing, alas, I don’t see Filipino sweets and pastries being paraded as a commodity in any corner of the photo. Which tells a lot about the fact that PSID students still have a long way to go in understanding their own identities as Filipinos and that’s how they will stand out in a globally competitive designed entrenched environment.

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