In a magic trick, awe arises from the element of surprise. Keeping the audience in the dark about your next move adds an intriguing element to the performance, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. It might sound a bit dramatic, but that’s exactly what I experienced when viewing the dining room called Lagom.
Lagom, a Swedish word that translates to “just the right amount or not too much, or not too little,” is a dining room fusion of Filipino and Scandinavian cultures created by Stephen Michael Chan, Maria Beatriz Gutierrez, Nicolette Lee, and Carl Lois Mico as one of the booths featured in the latest “PHusion” exhibit at Greenfield Tower in Mandaluyong City. “PHusion” is the exhibit of the graduating students of the Philippine School of Interior Design (PSID)-Ahlen Institute, which will conclude this month.
This dining space reflects the iconic furniture pieces by Scandinavian designers such as Verner Panton, Arne Jacobsen, and Eero Saarinen, which primarily use an elliptical shape in their designs and became the final choice for the room’s layout.
In an interview with Manila Bulletin Property Living, the group shared how their booth offers a sensory experience. “One of our selling points is we used natural light as a design tool. Our skylight is a nod to Norway being ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun.’ Natural light from the skylight illuminates the Machuca tiles directly below it, acting as a sundial.”
The group also highlighted another design feature, found in the middle of the room, which showcases the transition of Scandinavian culture to the Philippines depending on the viewer’s perspective.
“Scandinavian design is known to be minimalist. They’re all about clean lines and smart storage spaces, and we Filipinos are known to be maximalist – displaying literally anything we can. With this in mind, the team played around with the Filipino translation of Lagom (to summarize). As visitors approach our booth, they are greeted with an accent wall that is Scandinavian at first glance, and as they move from left to right (similar to flipping a page), they will discover the Filipino side of things. This flow of movement creates drama and interest for the viewers. The fusion of minimalist and maximalist is translated into our accent wall, creating a conversation piece that perfectly summarizes – pun intended – the best of both cultures.”
The group faced numerous challenges, from executing the design that balanced both cultures to avoiding issues of cultural appropriation and delivering a memorable experience to viewers. With time constraints and repeated rejections of their proposal, the project seemed impossible to accomplish. As the saying goes, third time’s the charm. As soon as their pitch got accepted, it gave them the spark they needed, and they never looked back.
“We were given three weeks to come up with a booth design, and during our first week, our design adviser rejected our proposal three times because he wanted something out of the box. Aberrant designs are one of Linea’s design identities. After our third rejected design proposal, we decided to go wild. So we said, ‘Why not make it elliptical in form, and let’s make the dining set off-centered.’ That’s when we got our design adviser’s approval and vote of confidence.”
The journey of these graduating students through their interior design projects has been nothing short of inspiring. As they step into the next chapter of their lives, the group has left tangible proof of their hard work, dedication, and artistic flair.
“Everyone’s done an awesome job, and we’re just over the moon with excitement and satisfaction about the whole process. The journey, from the inception of our vision to its tangible realization, has been nothing short of extraordinary. It’s also a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, knowing that graduation is right around the corner, and soon we won’t be students anymore but full-fledged professionals.”
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