Poblacion, Makati: Design district after dark

A creative crawl guide to the metro’s emerging design community  

October 18th, 2019

Poblacion, Makati, with its gritty backstreets and flashy neon lights in the backdrop, has reemerged as one of the metro’s creative centrals.  With its streets spilling with high concept food and speakeasy bars, restaurants, and even artist spaces, Poblacion at present is a far cry from the lull of an old downtown, residential area that it used to be, and is slowly shedding its ecclectic, unpolished façade as a former red-light district.

The Poblacion frequented now is at the exciting intersection of arts, culture, and gastronomy catering to the new generation of workforce from all around the metro. Its city night lights now complemented with the vibrance of artistry and creativity.

Recognizing how the creative community has alchemized one of Makati’s oldest district into a gold mine of creative vibe, Design Week Philippines highlights Poblacion as a Creative Environment in its celebration of its 12th edition from 12-20 October 2019. Design Week Philippines sees Poblacion’s transformation a perfect fit to this edition’s theme of Design Kaleidoscope, where creative communities and hubs leverage on diverse strengths and perspectives that pave the way for artistic and communal chemistry to spark change. 

“There is a different energy permeating in the backstreets and alleys of Poblacion that has really changed its urbanscape, and creativity is indeed a big part of it,” comments Rhea O. Matute, executive director of Design Center of the Philippines. “The evolution of Poblacion can be seen as a celebration of individual talents and skills that complemented each other, thereby growing the community into a unique combination of cultural and business artistry.” Matute adds that the creative vibe feed on each other, encouraging the birth of more creative pursuits in the area, whether it’s gastronomy, craft beer, third wave coffee, or performance art. 

“Design Center’s work in the recent years focused on collaboration with numerous creative hubs as part of the agency’s advocacy to nurture a thriving creative economy in the Philippines,” shares Matute. “We envision more creative cities in the country, and creative hubs and communities contribute significantly to this goal.” It is in this light that Matute also commends the support extended by the City Government of Makati to the creative scene, citing it as a confidence booster to creative communities and hubs.

Centers of Creativity and Craftsmanship

Aside from its Central Business District, Makati is home to advertising agencies, co-working spaces, creative hubs, retail shops, galleries, museums, among others—all of which are brewing pots for creativity, design, and craftsmanship. 

Pineapple Lab, a gallery space in Poblacion, is one of the creative collaborators that Design Center is constantly working within the recent years. In fact, their Fringe MNL festival is part of the Design Week calendar in the past editions, according to Matute.   As a creative space and gallery especially for newbies, Pineapple Lab prides itself as a safe space for artistic experimentation. In this DWP edition, Pineapple Lab joins the Design Hub Hoppin’, a curated itinerary of Poblacion’s creative hubs, and is set to feature Shorts and Briefs Cinco: A Theater Festival of concise plays, and WTF PH!, an exhibit of artists bannering today’s youth spirit, creative resistance, and cultural expression of identity.

A boutique design and manufacturing studio in Alfonso St., Poblacion, The Workshop offers local, sustainable and handcrafted products like tote bags, wallets, aprons and even jewelries. The Workshop also offers another reason for people to enjoy their Fridays at The Workshop—gin buko, a cocktail popular in the provinces, which is a mix of buko and the infamous Ginebra San Miguel Kwatro Kantos.

Husband-and-wife tandem Jaime and Nadine Fanlo, together with their friend Jill Borja, serve freshly brewed craft beers in Pedro Tap House in Matilde St. Years after successfully launching their own craft beer label, Pedro Brewcrafters, and landing it on market shelves, the trio now adds variety to the bar hopping game in Poblacion through their drinks.

Pineapple Lab, The Workshop, and Pedro Tap House are just a few of the galleries, retail shops, and bars that creatives frequent in Poblacion.  More Poblacion-based creative hubs, and other creative entrepreneurs in the metro, are set to participate in Design Week Philippines, particularly in a one-day design fete on 19 October 2019. Expect design talks, creative workshops, design film screening, exhibitions and pop-ups that aim to spark inspiration as Design Week Philippines takes Museo ng Makati for a different creative spin!

What’s to look forward to in the design fiesta in Makati’s repository of heritage and culture? Here’s the rundown!

1.Storytelling in Design

Headlined by a roster of renowned creatives like Leeroy New (The Production Designer), Patrick Cabral (The Multidisciplinary Designer), and Carlo Vergara (The Comic Creator) and joined by muralist Jappy Agoncillo and data designer Jiah Margallo, this edition’s design talks explore the value of storytelling across disciplines in shifting the way people see the world.

2. RAMS Philippine Premiere by Goethe Institute

Widely known for the design of Braun products and Vitsoe furniture, German industrial designer Dieter Rams is a design rockstar who was among the first to advocate environmental friendliness in his work even before sustainability was a buzzword. He is also famous for the ten principles of good design that guided even today’s topnotch products. Designers and creatives alike are encouraged to learn about his design philosophy through a screening of his life documentary.   

3. Creative Workshops on Sustainability

A playground-inspired activity center for kids (and kids at heart!) fuses creativity with learning and endless imagination to stimulate their curiosity and capabilities as the next generation of design heroes and advocates of sustainability. Participants can enjoy workshops on watercolor painting with LifeAfterBreakfast.ph, crochet with Crochet Lovers of the Philippines, wire jewelry making with Tesseract MNL, arts and crafts with CraftMNL, basic wood works with Pioneer Adhesives, and advocacy-driven children’s games.

4. Design Thinking Workshop with UXPH

How might we transform and add value to user experience of art and design consumption in museums, galleries, and exhibition spaces? is the design problem that workshop participants will attempt to answer under the facilitation of Ely Apao of UXPH. 

Outside Poblacion, Design Week Philippines is collaborating with other key cities in fostering creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovation. 

1.Business of Creativity 

17 October 2019 | 6 PM at MATIQ HUB, Cebu

MATIC HUB and HoliCoW (Holistic Coalition of the Willing) explores how creativity and entrepreneurship connect in an interactive talk. 

2.70th Manila FAME

17 – 19 October 2019 | 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM at World Trade Center, Pasay City

Anchored on the theme Heritage Reimagined, Manila FAME promises to unleash the most iconic and forward-looking pieces from its collection from the past thirty years and infuse them with the vision of the new. 

3. Pursuit Fair Volume 6: In Creatives We Trust

19 October 2019 | 12:00 NN – 10:00 PM at Samsung Hall, SM Aura, Taguig City

Pursuit Fair is grounded on three principles: creativity, commerce and community. Discover local thought brands that breed a thoughtful community in their one-day fair.

Design Week Philippines is supported by McDonald’s, foodpanda, Slimmers World International, Pare Shirts, Beanhi Coffee House, and Pioneer Adhesives. Media partners are Inquirer.net, Blog-ph.com, Wazzup Pilipinas, Rakista Radio, Metro Style and Adobo magazine.

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