BluPrint magazine celebrates two decades of design journalism
The Philippines' first and only architecture and design sourcebook commemorates its 20th year in an afternoon of thanksgiving and remembrance with former editors and friends in the design industry
November 22, 2019
Photographed by Ed Simon of Studio 100
Celebrating 20 years of design journalism, BluPrint gathered friends together for an afternoon of thanksgiving at Manila House Private Club in Taguig City. “We’re seeing friends who’ve supported the magazine over the years—some since 1999 and others recently—people who care about design and the built environment; people who inspire, inform, and move our readers,” says editor-in-chief, Judith Torres.
BluPrint was the Philippines’ first architecture and design sourcebook. Published by One Mega Group, a company known for its fashion and lifestyle titles, the first few years of BluPrint magazine produced pieces on architecture and the allied arts—interior design, landscape architecture, urban design, environmental planning, including fashion and furniture design. In BluPrint’s very first editor’s note (Volume 1, 1999), founding editor-in-chief Bettina Bonoan wrote: “As the professional’s new sourcebook, I hope it will be our partner in becoming the ‘architects’ of the new century that we have always wanted to be. Let it be an eye-opener to help us be responsible and creative ‘builders’ of the future.”
During the thanksgiving gathering, Architect Tina Bonoan recalled the trials and victories that marked the publishing company Mega’s foray from fashion design to design in the built environment. She paid tribute to two of BluPrint’s treasured, long-time contributors, the late architect and heritage conservator Toti Villalon and UP professor and critic Reuben Cañete. She also paid tribute to One Mega Group’s founder, Sari Yap, who passed away earlier this year.
For their part, BluPrint editors-in-chief Landscape Architect Paulo Alcazaren (2002-2012) and Architect Dominic Galicia (2012) shared their current passion projects, while Torres (2013-present) bared some of the title’s plans for 2020.
“When I took over,” says Alcazaren, “BluPrint was just a quarterly. We then expanded the number of issues and experimented with sections on specialties related to curated themes.” Galicia adds: “BluPrint is the essential journal of the Philippine design community. Nothing comes close locally.”
The publication has since gone beyond the focus on design to tackle issues and concerns in the design professions, practice, and the academe, such as the pros and cons of ASEAN Integration for local architects, the need to break down the silos in design education, and the successful business management of design.
BluPrint has also broadened its coverage to Southeast Asia. Torres explains: “Why ASEAN? Because we belong to an integrated region that will inevitably allow borderless practice. Because we share cultural, climatic, and geographical similarities and can learn from each other. How do Indonesian architects and designers design for communities engulfed by the haze? What may we learn from Singapore’s preparations for caring for and housing an aging society? What indigenous crafts and technologies are Vietnamese architects reviving to promote a sense of identity and place in communities being gobbled up by urbanization? Designing for the tropics when you live in the tropics—that’s green architecture. We don’t need to look to Western architects for that when we have the local and regional wisdom needed to design for context.”
The magazine is now a brand that produces books (Blueprints for 2050, Design Better, Tropical Architecture for the 21st Century), events (BluPrint Circles), and videos (BluPrint Conversations, Notes on a Building, and Just A Minute). It has established a digital presence through a dedicated website, e-magazines, and social media pages.
“In two decades, BluPrint has grown to be more than just a sourcebook. It has recorded a life’s worth of design adventures, becoming a venue to recognize Filipino and, now, ASEAN creativity,” states One Mega Group (OMG) Vice President for Content and Creatives, Suki Salvador. “The magazine has provided, in its entirety, an expressive and inclusive means of showcasing and communicating design, one thing that we shall continue across all platforms,” he adds.
One Mega Group President and CEO, Archie G. Carrasco, shares that BluPrint maintains the stronghold of its market—architects and interior designers, and beginning in 2020, engineers and contractors. “We make sure we keep the integrity of the brand to maintain its market leadership and authority in the industry,” says Carrasco.
“BluPrint would have not lasted 20 years without the passion and diligence of its editorial team; One Mega Group management’s belief and backing of our agenda to promote excellent design in the Philippines; and the confidence and loyalty of our advertisers. We are grateful most of all for the affirmation and continued readership of our followers and of our sources who trust us to tell their stories right,” Torres concludes.