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Designer glam at the Goldenberg

I had always wanted to visit the Goldenberg Mansion beside Malacañang. On the invitation of the always-elegant Sonia Olivares, I jumped at the chance. The occasion was to watch her swear in the new board of trustees for the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID). It was also an opportunity to see a lot of designer friends, most of whom I’d not seen since the lockdown.

My first problem: I had nothing to wear.

A quick visit to the mall solved this dilemma. I’d be surrounded by all these chichi creatives dressed to the nines. To be safe, I opted to go all-black. There was no turning back. I headed for that gem of a mansion by the Pasig River.

The PIID chose this venue as it reflected its focus on focus on heritage, culture, restoration, and preservation. The PIID, on this occasion, wanted to outline its strategic priorities for the coming years, fostering societal transformation through design-driven initiatives, and empowering Filipino designers to excel locally and globally.

Cynthia Almario; Kat Correa, director for events; Carla Leonor, director for public relations; and Ivy Almario, Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID) immediate past president

I came to the San Miguel district at sunset and caught the Goldenberg at the golden hour. I snapped shots of the ornate, early 20th-century exterior contrasted against a dark blue sky. Leandro Locsin had done a great job in the initial conservation 50 years ago. The current administration recently gave it a thorough makeover (including interior finishes by good friend Tats Manahan).

Arlen de Guzman, First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, Carla Mae Leonor, Rhea Matute, John Paolo Castro, Sonia Santiago-Olivares, Maksim Popov, and Cynthia Fernandez-Beltran

I hurried in to find most guests seated and ready for the induction ceremony. I sat beside Twenty Muñoz, my former managing editor at Bluprint. She caught me up on who were there and how she had been doing since a decade ago, when I saw her last.

The trustees all looked young standing in front. I only recognized Ivy Almario, the immediate past president. I found out later that the group is the youngest in the organization's storied, 60-year history. Young blood, noted an elder designer, would bring fresh perspectives and dynamic energy to the institution.

Atty. Dennis Gorecho, author Paulo Alcazaren and Jonathan Matti

"We are thrilled to welcome our new Board of Trustees, whose collective vision and passion for design will guide our organization into the future," said outgoing president Ivy Almario. "As we confront pressing global challenges such as climate change, inequality, and environmental degradation, the PIID remains steadfast in its commitment to leveraging design as a force for positive change."

Sworn in were IDr. John Paolo Castro, president; IDr. Cynthia Marie Fernandez-Beltran, vice president; IDr. Jose Enrico Santiago, corporate secretary; IDr. Lorenzo Valencia III, treasurer; IDr. Rossy Anne Rojales, executive director for Professional Development; IDr. Carla Mae Leonor, executive director for Public Relations; IDr. Katherine Anne Correa, executive director for Events; IDr. Christine Villamora, executive director for Finance; and IDr. Ma. Carmen Lim-Regala, executive director for Practice and Ethics.

The event, I was told, also aligns with the administration’s efforts to nurture the creative sector. The new board supports the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act, RA 11904, an initiative fostering partnerships across academia, local government, civil society, media, and the private sector.

On a related note, special guest chairwoman Sheila Romero, on behalf of Rep. Mikee Romero, spoke on one of the priority measures being brought up in that legislative body; that is to update and repeal the over-four-decades-old “National Building Code of the Philippines,” which has been in effect since 1977. House Bill No. 815 was filed by Rep. Mikee Romero, calling for the passage of the “New Philippine Building Act.”

We then moved from the formal ceremony inside the main house to the garden and the wonderful new greenhouse, where dinner was to be served. Additional guests arrived, including First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos, a champion of culture and the arts. I spotted and chatted with old friends, including (former PIID president) Arlen de Guzman, Design Center head Rhea Matute, the gifted Ed Calma and Daphne Oseña (who I engaged on the subject of our National Land Use act).

After dinner, incoming PIID president Paolo Castro spoke, reminding everyone that "The world's eyes are upon the Philippines, anticipating what our creative talents can produce… It is our mission to not only captivate the world but also to inspire meaningful change and leave an enduring legacy."

He added, “It is time that we embrace inclusivity and foster collaboration. Let us take the lead… by forging partnerships with… architects, furniture manufacturers, artisans, industrial designers, and all allied trades. Our expertise is a valuable resource that can enrich other sectors. When the entire creative industry joins hands, we have the potential to shape our nation's future.”

He concluded by declaring, “We would like to extend our collaborative efforts to the government… in the establishment of standards for public facilities, such as schools, hospitals, housing, and government offices… It is essential to underscore that interior designers do not merely focus on aesthetics.”

The final item on the post-dinner agenda was architect and interior designer Ed Calma being given the PIID Outstanding Professional of the Year award. Well-deserved, the award was. Not that Ed needed any more accolades, but to be acknowledged by your peers is always a great honor.

Those peers have grown in number. I was happy to find out, before heading home, that the PIID now has numerous chapters aside from the central NCR group. There are regional chapters in Panay, Cebu, Eastern Visayas, Negros and Mindanao. All these members sharing “a common vision of utilizing design to enhance the lives of people, and ensuring the sustainable care of the environment.”

Congratulations to the PIID and all the best to its new board.

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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