PSID-Ahlen Institute Inc. Mounts PHUSION Exhibit

Sunday, October 01, 2023

The Philippine School of Interior Design - Ahlen Institute Inc. just gave us a glimpse of this year's theme PHusion made by the class of 2023. In the past, they had a lot of these displayed at the Greenfield Tower's 5th Floor. Since it was the pandemic, they had a smaller number of spaces designed. Though there was certainly no shortage in talent, I loved what I saw during this batch. 

 PHusion is all about culture and how it influences design. With these spaces catering to Filipino and individuals from different countries, they were able to meld this together. Though just like the other times, it's in the "details" and the designer's interpretation of what they understand from the culture of the other country they are doing. I was assisted by Nicole and shown around the different displays this year.


 They call this space PER ANK which means Key of Life.

Their two countries were at opposite sides of the world, but they particularly thought of color as common ground to bring this together. The brown sand dune hues, the wood, the several pieces of furniture, the native baskets on the ceiling (as light treatments), the Malakas-Maganda figures etched on the cement wall, the pillars with Egyptian hieroglyphs (as accent wall) plus the Baybayin writings they customized was impressive to see. They knew one could overwhelm the other design and they were careful not to do that. This was certainly a good start.


They call this BAHAY UBUNTU. A term I'm quite familiar with because I'm a Computer Engineer, it's about compassion for others.

South Africa must be a little hard to put into design, but they've managed to concentrate on things that are common with the Philippines. The wood elements are present, they showed the glass table top that remained transparent to show the various wood underneath. What impressed me the most was the Nipa hut style on the ceiling, but it was made of a different material that can withstand years of abuse. It was efficient, virtually pleasing to the eyes, and the prints represented the South African flair.




This time, they used light to define two spaces. The couple they depicted here spend much time in the kitchen which is why the space had the large counter. This is also old 1930's themed which had more gold and geometric elements. The bar with the capiz window treatment and the iconic Kutsara Tinidor on the wall probably gives that Filipino touch. I get why they named it FILLENIUM.



One thing we have in common with Nicaragua is the tropics, which is why they used plants as part of the design in this space. It's a bath, vanity and closet, where you can take refuge and relax after a stressful day.

They didn't overwork the theme, they did it very simple. The natural elements like the weaving on the wall and ceiling plus a 70's style wall blocks has that Filipino stamp. It's very well executed, and didn't have to get too busy in the eyes to interpret their theme RELAJARSE.


This is called A DIVERSAO. Since the Philippines and Brazil enjoy tropical weather, that's where they have the theme combined. The wall on the shelves are from the Brazilian sunsets, also the curved lines which are common in Brazilian homes. They also had coconut on the face of the cabinets plus the solihiya weaving on the ceiling to make sure there's still Filipino in it. The design of the floor is also an interpretation of Brazilian black and white patterns.  They used it to separate the space between the play area and lounge.



This space was designed to mix the Filipino and French elements, but had more than what they bargained for. Think of it as a French space with a more worldly view because they also included the vibes of a well traveled individual who takes different pieces from different places and take them home.

I like the balcony, the wall treatments, and the carvings which are innately Filipino. They made it a tad lighter to see, not clunky and max which most Filipino spaces depict. They also had parts likened to "Bahay na Bato". The various things they placed on shelves were shabby chic, floral, to simply get the feel of the French homes with centuries worth of art. I like the artwork and chairs the most.



The designers of this space called LAGOM had one problem, it was to mix a more max design culture in the Philippines to the one minimalist style from Scandinavian countries. I loved that wall in the back that transitions into shelves on one side then disappears when you look at it from the other side. The light in the center also was a good choice, the shadows land on the different pieces of furniture and give it a more warm glow. They also had wood, employ a concentric design to have less corners from different views.


One side of this had Chesterfield sofas which was apt for those who wouldn't want their suits get creases, a classic in every British space. I liked how they used wood mainly which was done to have that Filipino touch. The face of the cupboards and cabinets was also customized with a regional Lumban Barong Tagalog strip which made a statement, it is possible to mix the west and the East. I like how this was done, perfect for the Bachelor client they depicted who wanted this and all the natural elements he wanted from the Philippines.


This space reminds me of the bougie Gotti family (though not maximalist). There were gold elements on the recessed wall, fabulous light installation and also the curved arches on the lavatory with a twin waterfall faucets. It was fresh looking, light and airy despite having some big pieces on the wall and different spaces. The wall was a light pink, it didn't clash with the space despite it having a more ethnic design on the center. They did good.


This was one impressive space. The work area with a Boomerang shaped table, the recessed wall shaped like the mountains in the outback, the beach dotted artwork (made by one of the members to depict the Great Barrier Reef), that's some of the items that are extremely OZ. The hammock, a place to take rest after a stressful day, with rhum in hand via the cart, it is like a vacation in the Philippines. I can see they used wood pretty much everywhere, which is something common with us too. The abaca fiber on top, plus how the spaces were separated was a good idea. It's a serious place for business, but comforting after that. 


This bedroom is a personal favorite. You can see why.

The capiz wall, the arches, the floor, they all depict the rising sun. It's an element both Japan and the Philippines share, which is why they wanted the 8 rays in the sun also included. They also mixed the home grown farmer hat salakot and bangasa which is mostly seen in Japanese festivals.  They also did night and day (sun and moon), as seen on the floors. The bamboo, the circular patterns, even the Kenneth Cobunpue chair in red just fit right in. With so many elements, it didn't look cluttered at all. Excellent work, they named it Pearl of the Orient Meets Prosperity.


Designed for a Filipino Iranian family, this wreaks blue royal homes in Iran with woodwork and intricate details from both countries. They have a space made for recreation, bonding on the floor because that's how they do it. They also have sliding doors for the television, as most want it kept. Look at the details on the green built-ins which they wanted to do because of extreme need for storage especially in Persian homes.  

If you want to see the exhibit, it's at the Greenfield Tower's 5th Floor. Thank you so much to the nice people we met from the 2023 Batch of PSID. Thank you also to the Batch Adviser IDr. Nicanor Jardenil whom we talked to later that morning. You guys did good this year!


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