Designer Budji Layug And Architect Royal Pineda On The Design Philosophies That Influence Their Craft
Earlier this September, designer Budji Layug and architect Royal Pineda went live with Nikki Gil-Albert and Brian Hontiveros on the first of a series of talks hosted by Modularity Homes. The two friends and founders of BUDJI+ROYAL shared their take on a variety of design topics inspired by both culture and current day events. Here are their hot takes on home, living, and design.
A Design For Communication
Filipino design and architecture have come a long way: from the simple nipa hut to the grandiose hacienda, it has now come to embody both modernity and globalisation. Of course, in 2020, it's difficult—if not impossible—to speak on design principles without considering the context. What are our homes all about? These days, designer Budji Layug says: it's all about maximising communication. "Right now, with the pandemic, people stay home most of the time," he observes. "So it's become more important that the home is worked out properly so you can maximise communication with your family and your friends." Spaces that bring people together, he says, has become a common request from clients. These include areas such as playrooms, libraries and the like.
Architect Royal Pineda also adds that because people have been spending so much time indoors, it's become important for people that their space is used efficiently to maximise functionality. It's no longer about décor or ostentatious displays, it's about the ability to be able to work well and live well in any given area.
The Natural Approach
According to Royal, people have also become more conscious of the outdoors and of their health. "We want fresh air, we want cross-ventilation. We always want to engage ourselves and be one with nature," he says. These days, clients have requested more natural elements to be put in their homes; these include pocket lands, potted plants, and other pieces that integrate greenery. Because of this, both Budji and Royal agree that in many ways, Filipino architecture has always been ready for something like this pandemic. "Our tropical houses in the Philippines are designed to have cross-ventilation. It's always been like a COVID-ready design," he says.
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A Global Inspiration For Filipino Sensibilities
As frontrunners in the design and architecture scene, Budji and Royal are firm believers of a collaborative process. While proud of their Filipino roots, both acknowledge that it's important to integrate Filipino function and sensibility with foreign techniques and practices. In such a way, you get the best of both worlds.
One of their favourite places to showcase such a principle is in the kitchen. Budji ascribes to using both Eastern, Western, and local influences in designing a kitchen space. For example, BUDJI+ROYAL's floor plans always incorporate a very open show kitchen, used mainly for entertaining guests (and not necessarily cooking meals). While the furnishings in this room may add a touch of global culture—using Italian accents or European pieces—the heart of the kitchen is deeply rooted in the Filipino trait of hospitality.
Most of their spaces adapt a very tropical vibe. As a complement to the Philippines' naturally sunny days, Royal revealed that most of their spaces incorporate natural light. "We try to solve this design challenge that we should not turn on a single bulb of light during the day. The idea is to keep it as natural as possible [and] with the absence of power, [the home] should still function."
The Philosophy of Aesthetic
BUDJI+ROYAL's aesthetic is best described through a quote from Royal himself. The architect says: "We try to make things as honest as can be. And that becomes our aesthetic. Aesthetic for us is not really a style or a look, but it's based on a philosophy that we follow." Looking through portfolios of Budji and Royal's works will show you spaces that aren't dependent on ornamentation or trends. Rather, their look is founded on a few core principles that both men believe; and it is perhaps this integrity that has kept them so successful after all these years.
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