Pre-presentation talk.   Before I begin my presentation, I'd like to put it in the context of the impending ASEAN Integration. Every year in June we celebrate Business Month in Cebu, where I am from, and this time we focused on how the design industry would be affected by the Integration, apart from the obvious economic aspect. While the discussion was within the Filipino context, the issue deeply affects every member of the South East Asian design community. From the sourcing to the creatives, from the drafting to the prototyping, every level is affected. What I would like to talk about today is how design is not only a matter of finding new ideas, but finding our own unique identity—celebrating our similarities and acknowledging our differences—and using this as a key element to answer contemporary questions.
The I of DesIgn is Identity

And this, above all: To thine own self be true. — Hamlet, Act I

We live in interesting times. Back then, in our common communities, we always gathered around to hear news about the world from travellers or elders. These were stories that armed us, informed us, and eventually shaped the way we reacted to the world; whether as individuals, or as a community.

       While I am now a designer for furniture, accessories, decorative pieces and lighting fixtures, I would like to think that more than this, I help people express their lifestyles in their homes, their places of business or entertainment like restaurants, hotels and other personal places through the pieces I design. Every piece I design has a story and each story is unique and carries with it my passion and my excitement about the materials they are made of.

       I am one of 4 children in my family and we all grew up knowing (I don't know how) how to draw even before we could write. When I started school, I was surprised why the other children could not draw! On hindsight, I believe that while academic preparation helps, oftentimes, life provides the way, the so called twists and turns, so that one finds his place as it was meant to be.

       My earliest workshop was on a corner of a coffee table, in the living room of my youth. Back then we did not have internet, and I did not know what moodboarding was, but what we did have were magazines, comics and books. My younger sister and I would browse through these magazines, marking pens in hand, and we would put a large D (for Debbie), or M (which was the letter of my sister's name) on the pages with the girls whose clothes we liked. Beside us, occasionally chuckling at our nonsense, was my older brother, who would dismantle entire transistor radios and put them back together again as a form of odd relaxation. When we were done with a magazine, my sister and I would take turns looking at what we'd marked, cut them up and paste them on scrapbooks. Interestingly enough, if a particular picture would take our fancy, you can bet that I would be wearing mostly yellow for the rest of the week, or I would be doodling the geometric patterns of a scarf I'd "claimed" for myself in the margins of my notebook.

       Years later, I would find a dress in the store, buy it, wear it for while before I would take it apart thread by thread. These were my first templates and from them, I would make new patterns, improved ones if not totally revised ones. In high school, I remember a kitchen stool's broken leg and my brother, then in university, laying the damaged leg on a large piece of paper and tracing its form. He then said, you can do this, I'll teach you drafting!

       What was a simple childhood memory was actually the precursor of what would be my personal creative process. Everything in that room influenced me well into the future: fashion still serves as a great inspiration but more than this, was the realization of how the sum of all the parts makes the whole or that a change in one part, changes the whole!

       Being Asian in the 21st century is to be inundated with stories, to live in them, and in many cases to influence them whether by action, or by retelling. Being in the creative industry is to be an active participant in the story-making process.

       It can't be helped that, in the course of handling materials, of putting them together and meeting international standards, that one can get a little lost in translation. I cannot count the number of times the question "What is Filipino design" in all its variants, has been fielded at me; as if it were up to anyone to speak on behalf of a collective of growers or farmers, craftsmen, artists and stylists currently working and improving the industry. That is not to say it is an irrelevant question; on the contrary. It is a poorly-thought-out, worded question about identity, and identity is personal agency.

       At some point in the Philippines' furniture-making history, around the same time my husband Gus decided to enter the business, everyone was making more or less the same thing. Design was homogenous; see one and you have seen them all. This was largely also because of the very practical, merchant mindset. One of Cebu's old names after all is derived from the words "a place of trading." "If I made the thing that everyone seems to want," the reasoning goes, "then I will surely sell." And while this is a very clever business strategy that exploits a large and existing market, one can only echo an echo. No authentic 'voice' emerges when one puts priority on profit, and less on the quality of the actual product. In other words, you aren't actively contributing to the story; you aren't designing.

       This is what I have learned about design: that it isn't about you. And yet, it is everything that is you. Every product that comes out of the factory, that gets approved in the design floor, is a result of creative choice. Every detail from the finish of a chair, to the name of the collection it is displayed in, is evidence of the designer's decisions that goes all the way from concept to product. There should be no argument about "pure" culture, because anything that influences people, and enables their creations to not only respond to their surroundings but encourage a response from others, is culture. This is the creative part. The managing part is when a designer assesses the components that make up culture. She takes what is relevant and positive, and with her experience and vision as the binding element, creates a response.

       The Ali+Baba was in the beginning, essentially an answer to a garbage-disposal problem. When we were doing full bamboo furniture in the mid-1990's, we had to deal with the nodes of the bamboo which we could not utilise. We stacked them in a corner of our warehouse, and they accumulated, until my husband, Gus, pointed out their potential as a fire hazard. If we disposed of the bamboo nodes, we would be dealing with hundreds of lengths of waste material or unrecovered cost. So I sat down with some of these scraps, and thought, "let's see what you can do for me." And when the concept was formed, the first prototypes made and introduced during the Frankfurt Autumn show in the late 90's, much to our surprise, the first Ali+Baba piece created a long qeue and human traffic wanting to experience sitting on it, that the Fair organizer asked us to put it up front. It never failed to solicit a smile, a giggle that every year since then, I have revived and evolved the design to create new stories, and it has become a Debbie Palao staple.

       Small bamboo is abundant among the 200 species that the Philippines is blessed with, but it had never been done on furniture before. As the main component of mixed-material collections ( Linea, Argyle, Congo Weave ), however, it proved to be perfect for inlay, providing visual and tactile texture.

       Linea is the appreciation of the most basic element of geometry, and drawing: the line. Primarily a dining table collection, we wanted to show inlaid patterns that were both rigid—as is the nature of a line—but spontaneous, as no two bamboo poles are ever alike.

       Argyle is a tribute to the knitting pattern that has always been associated with the chic and the prep; it is a recognition of the differences in patterns, and the patterning of differences. Adhering to the 'argyle' diamond-on-diamond shape it is characterised by, the natural colour of the small bamboo adds depth to the dips and diagonals.

       Congo Weave is another study in patterns and similarities within differences. This was at that time when I apprenticed with a Portugese Master Guilder in South Africa where I was likewise exposed to the beautiful prints that the people in the region wore comfortably on their everyday clothes. They were bold and distinct, a testimony to the confidence in expression. I began to imagine these shapes on a flat surface, much like how x's litter a map, the markers of a traveller.

       What these three key small bamboo collections have in common, apart from the fashion influences spanning different continents, is that the material they are made with had the power to change a community. Bohol at that time still harbored remnants of the National People's Army—the NPAs—in the hills, often engaging in banditry and hooliganism. They were a big problem. But the hills were also the places where this small bamboo species grew indigenously and sustainably; and our supplier would cleverly engage NPA members who wanted to earn more for their families to harvest and classify these bamboo based on the quality we specified. As orders for the small bamboo increased, whole clusters of NPAs eventually withdrew from their outlawing activities, and turned to honest hard work. It was easy for them to disbelieve how sacks of the small plant they were harvesting did any good, but when we sent them back photos of our furniture and the awards we received, they began to understand how BIG a role they played in it.

       Maze was my tribute to the everyday beauty of unfinished things. Wabisabi is a concept of Japanese origin that I have taken to heart and learned during my stay there. It is an appreciation for the natural, the uneven, the organic and the imperfect. Rattan length is finite in contrast to the building scaffoldings that inspired them, which are the epitomes of human architectural accomplishment. These rattan canes of different lengths and diameters are strapped together strategically with copper wire, another human-processed material utilised in a basic, functional manner. Putting two elements together—human precision and natural technology—tells the story of Ygdrassil, the tree of life that supports the living world, its maze-like branches reaching out to the sun.

       While I grew up watching Star Trek on television I still enjoy watching its revival. They would show wormholes—spiraling into space in and around the Enterprise—and this fascinated me. Trekki challenges the familiarity of rattan canes, and applies it into shapes that possibly no rattan lamp has gone before. Little wormholes clustered in the shape of a ship, changing a room in the speed of light.

       Rattan could do delicate inlays achieving a pattern-on-pattern effect. Every year in the 8 years we showed in the Milano Isalone, we took sidetrips throughout Europe. This was how Selva (meaning forest in Spanish) came to be after a visit to the Bavarian forest. To compliment the rattan cane inlaid tables, my niece conceptualised, we used arurog to create a streamlined basket weave pattern, that would become Hako.

       Abaca's versatility has always fascinated me. From one plant, different processes can be applied, each one capable of various applications. The colours achievable with abaca rope alone has been a stable source of inspiration for me. The simple geometry of Tron—inspired by my niece's favourite Transformers character—comes alive with the interweaving of white, dark, and bi-coloured abaca rope.

       When I wanted to find a way to translate the beautiful drape and drop of a bubble dress to furniture, abaca rope in crochet-style was the answer. Meryll was born, echoing the fashion-forwardness of the Anna Wintour-inspired character. Interestingly enough, the technique takes from a macramé technique from Bacolod. Another friend, who comes from a colder country, said she liked how Meryll reminded her of summer; how seeing one chair in a room in the middle of a Canadian winter was enough to bring to mind knit coverups in white-sand beaches, or the memory of mangoes as one lies in the sun after a swim.

       E'Kiss' name derives from the Spanish 'equis', an X, and the digital meanings of the letter when applied to texts. I wanted a chair that challenged conventional weaving traditions. Baring the chair's framework while still weaving the abaca through it, the continuous x-x-x looked like the end points of a map. Looking at the rows of x's, my niece, interpreted it as a row of 'kisses,' with 'x' being symbolic in writing.

       I believe in managing creativity, and creatively managing. A degree in Accounting due largely to my father's influence and my eventual stint as a the head accountant/manager before our furniture business seemed to tailor fit the rest of my life into the pinstriped days of the corporate world. "To thine own self be true" Polonius says in Hamlet; the discipline I learned in accounting helped immensely in my later foray into the furniture industry. It helped me in the making of decisions, and to ground my more risky creative impulses with something solid.

       Inspirations and concepts are only the first part of the package, the easier part. I either begin my concepts with materials and sometimes with functions. I have this need to doodle constantly even while I'm thinking of something else not even remotely creative. The part that designers do not talk about is the hands-on business: the making of compromises and changes due to the natural materials color or seasonal inavailability, like harvesting small bamboo or abaca during the monsoon months; dealing with clients and their markets' specific needs like the size standards of the Japanese market but more particularly the price constraints. But here is what I find: that these are the places where one can get the key parts of their storytelling. Every step of the process is saturated with identity. It is the "dirty hands-on business" in fact, that has this in abundance. Creatively managing is looking beneath the dreariness of these precise tasks, and recognising them as part of the whole.

       In the end, even if the only result to determine the value of an outcome is a single figure, one needs to understand the thousands of other figures and processes that built up to that point. The mistakes are as valuable as the successes to divert the direction of the project to its proper course.

       During the years when I chaired the promotions and design committees of the Cebu International Furniture show in the early 2000's, this challenged me to take my personal creative practices and make it work on a greater community level. At that time, the Cebu International Furniture Show was the Philippines' premiere furniture fair, drawing the attention and the crowd towards the country. We were a small but bustling show.

       "What is our story," I asked myself. "How can we express in one concerted voice all the different voices each company makes?" For the major shows earlier mentioned, the sheer volume of exhibitors from all over the world was enough to draw the crowd. Cebu needed to focus. The Philippines needed to communicate to the world in a global language, saying things in its own way. Rather than a simple series of adverts for each company, we wanted to adhere them all together in a theme:
       — Now and Zen focused on design as a way of life for the Filipino artisans and manufacturers. It showcased exhibitors' preferred materials from swatch to stand. Each showcased furniture piece was the sum total of a company's philosophy and voice, and we wanted to invite the visitors to peek at this.
       — Contrast and Contradiction theme put focus on the myriad of looks and styles one can get from just attending a Cebu International Furniture Show. That despite being a show in a 'smaller' city, we had contemporary to classical and mixed materials covered.
       —In Search of Tao played with the concepts of the 'person' (which is what 'tao' means in Filipino), and 'truth', which seeks to focus on design authenticity. This theme was closest to an articulation of my own concept as I could take it.

       One of the best singer/songwriters of our time, Sting, says, "There is an intrinsic and symbiotic link between storytelling and community." We can transpose 'storytelling' with craft. We are, by ourselves, finished products of our environment, and also the key ingredient of what we put into our work. As a member of your community, then you are Filipino, you are Malaysian, and the product of what you do shows how a Filipino, a Malaysian, a person is affected by all the things around her.

       This is the struggle of design, I believe. To focus on authenticity, to be truthful to the little parts that brought you to where you are, and to respond to them with your craft. Whether it is something as profound as travel, or something as sensual as voyeurism, acknowledge what excites you about the stories, and address it.

       A few of the many things that excite me are: light and shadow; positive and negative spaces articulated in cloth and shape; patterns on patterns especially if I am given the chance to tell a story by weaving many stories together. The chapels I have designed and executed for girls' shelters run by nuns in Manila, Bacolod, Zamboanga and Cebu is an attempt to show their colorful stories, their hopes, ambitions and prayers.

       Going back to the sunlit living room of my youth, storytelling was all about fun for me. It was all about flipping through fashion magazines with my sister, bantering with my brother. Being blissfully unaware of any constraints, sharing my newfound joy with people, figuring out how things worked…and did not work. In essence, nothing much has changed, except that it seems my fun, my family, my history, my story … is now living along in other people's rooms. Where maybe, another little girl sits flipping through Pinterest with her sister, waiting out a monsoon. Good day.
— Words by Debbie Palao & Kae Batiquin Nike Air Huarache Femme Nike Air Max 1 Femme Liberty Nike Air Max 1 Femme Nike Air Max 2016 Femme Nike Air Max 90 Femme Nike Air Max 90 Femme Rose Nike Air Max 90 Femme Noir Nike Air Max Command Femme Nike Air Max Zero Femme Nike Air Odyssey Femme Nike Air Pegasus 83 Femme Nike Air Presto Femme Nike Air Tavas Femme cheap michael kors bags outlet cheap Michael Kors Bags Polo Ralph Lauren Pas Cher Polo Lacoste Pas Cher fake Ray Ban Sunglasses Australia cheap ray ban sunglasses Polo Ralph Lauren Prezzi Outlet bags michael kors outlet Oakley Outlet Store Italia Online louboutin rosse online,Christian Louboutin outlet online store